How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal
Shaving, tweezing, and waxing all provide temporary solutions to hair growth, but nothing competes with the long-lasting results of a laser. Moreover, laser hair removal treatments are suitable for every area of the body.
For the best results, you should prepare for laser hair removal weeks before the first session. This guide can help you decide on a good provider, plan your course of treatment, and keep your skin healthy throughout with our laser hair removal before and after skincare tips.
How to Find a Provider
Research your options.
Not all lasers are alike; seeking out a clinic with the right type of lasers for your hair and skin tone is a good place to start. The type of light that zaps away dark hairs on pale skin doesn't necessarily work for people with blonde hair or darker skin tones, so make sure a clinic's laser will work for you. Once you've narrowed it down to a few clinics, schedule a consultation with each one.
Ask questions during the consultation.
Your very first appointment should be a consultation—no treatment, yet, but possibly a spot test to see how your skin reacts to the laser. Most importantly, this is when you should ask the following questions:
- Is there a physician onsite?
- How many treatments do you estimate I'll need?
- How do you ease the pain from the laser?
- What should I do to prepare for laser-hair-removal treatments?
Be sure you're comfortable with the staff and their responses before you set up your treatment schedule.
Skincare Before the First Treatment
For optimal results, it's best to avoid direct sunlight, as well as any other hair-removal techniques for six weeks before the treatment. Interestingly enough, you will be asked to shave the day before your appointment. If the hair is too long, the laser may burn your skin during the treatment. If you forget, the clinic will likely provide you with a razor to use in office.
Some clinics recommend taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen immediately before your treatments to help ease the pain. Exactly how much pain should you expect? Read honest opinions on whether or not laser hair removal hurts.
Skincare After/Between Treatments
While the number of sessions needed for any area depends on the individual, typically between 5 and 12 sessions are required to achieve the best results.
These sessions should be spaced at least 4–6 weeks apart. During that time, you should continue to avoid all methods of hair removal. You should also avoid exposing the area to direct sunlight—and liberally apply sunscreen to avoid pigmentation changes to the treated area.
Besides this, keep in mind that laser-hair-removal side effects include a sunburn-like sensation that lingers for a few days, so stock up on cold compresses and ice packs to soothe your skin posttreatment.
The information contained in this article is from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Academy of Dermatology, and our merchants.
Our guide to laser hair removal basics
How to choose from all the different types of hair removal lasers
The lowdown on the LHR experience
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