Laser Hair Removal Before & After: Everything You Need to Know
So, you’re thinking of getting laser hair removal but don’t know where to start? Let’s take a deep dive into everything laser hair removal.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
The lasers used for a laser hair removal treatment target the melanin in the hair shaft with a high-intensity light beam. The light energy is absorbed by the melanin and converted into heat, which damages the hair follicle and prevents future hair growth.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
The process of removing hair works by creating thermal damage to the hair bulb caused by the laser’s light energy. The laser’s light is absorbed by melanin, the pigment that gives hair its color. As a result, the high-intensity light beam damages the hair follicle, slowing down future hair growth.
The length of time it takes to treat an area depends on the size of the treatment area and the density of the hair. To see significant results, most people will need 9-12 treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart to achieve 75-90% reduction. Sadly, your hair won’t just disappear after one session.
Laser Hair Removal Benefits
Goodbye razor. Hello, laser!
It’s a great option for those who don’t have the time to shave unwanted hair daily. Laser hair removal can remove hair from almost any area of the body, including the face, neck, chest, back, armpits, and bikini line.
It’s a great alternative to other hair removal methods, such as shaving, waxing, and plucking. Laser hair removal is more precise and effective than these methods since the laser damages the hair follicle itself.
Things to Know Before Laser Hair Removal
1. The process sounds painful but isn't too bad
People often think that laser hair removal is a painful process. Laser hair removal feels uncomfortable at times, but it shouldn't be too painful. Some people describe it as a rubber band snap.
2. It's a pretty fast process
Laser hair removal treatment is a lot quicker than you might think. The time it takes to treat an area depends on the size of the area being treated. For example, a small area like the upper lip can be done in a few minutes, while larger areas like the back or legs may take up to an hour.
3. Patience pays off
It may take two or three weeks to see an improvement after your first session. You will likely need multiple sessions to see significant hair reduction. The number of sessions will depend on the individual, but most people need at least 9-12 sessions to see the best results (about 75%-90% reduction).
4. Yes, It works on all skin tones
In the past, laser hair removal machines were not recommended for people with darker skin tones. However, modern treatments work on all skin tones!
5. Laser hair removal is not just for women
Laser hair removal is not just for women. Men often have unwanted hair on their back, chest, shoulders, and other areas that they want to be removed.
6. It can be used on any body part
Laser hair removal can be used on any area of the body where there is unwanted hair. This includes the face, neck, chest, back, armpits, bikini line, and legs.
7. It's risky if done by an untrained esthetician
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure and can carry certain risks if not done correctly. It’s important only to have laser hair removal done by a trained and experienced esthetician. Schedule a free consultation at SpaDerma and you’re aesthetician will address any concerns you may have.
How to Prepare For Laser Treatment
Are you ready to get laser hair removal now?
You should take preparations seriously to avoid any issues and maximize your results. Here is a list of things to do to prepare:
1. Shave the treatment area
You will need to shave the treatment area before your laser hair removal appointment. This is because the laser targets the hair follicle, and if there is a long hair shaft above the skin, it will absorb too much of the laser energy.
2. Avoid sun exposure
You should avoid major sun exposure for at least two weeks before your laser hair removal appointment. You cannot have any sort of tan (from the sun or sunless tanner) prior to receiving treatment. If you are going out in the sun, wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
3. No photosensitive topical products
Avoid using topical treatments that lead to photosensitivity (such as salicylic acid, hydroxy acids, benzoyl peroxide, retinol, etc.) for 72 hours before the treatment. Apply only a mild lotion/cleanser to the area if you need to.
4. Ask about prescribed medications
Ask about any prescriptions you are taking before your appointment. Discontinue antibiotics 14 days prior to laser hair removal treatment. You’ll also have to discontinue any prescription topicals in the treatment area two weeks before treatment. Do not have dermal filler injections, Botox treatments, microdermabrasion, or chemical peels for at least two weeks before laser hair removal in the treatment area. Again, if you’re unsure about any medications make sure to reach out to our team before your first appointment.
5. Ask about pain management
Laser hair removal may be painful for some, although most people say it is tolerable. If you are concerned about pain, ask your esthetician about pain management options.
6. Stop plucking and waxing
You should avoid plucking and waxing for at least six weeks before your laser hair removal appointment. This is because these methods remove the follicle that the laser needs to target.
7. Avoid tanning
You should avoid tanning, either from the sun, from a tanning bed, or sunless tanner for at least two weeks before your laser hair removal appointment. This is because your skin will absorb more laser light, leading to skin damage.
8. Discontinue retinoids
You should discontinue retinoids and prescription topicals in the treatment area for at least two weeks before your laser hair removal appointment.
9. Arrive clean
Be sure to arrive clean for your laser hair removal appointment. You should shower and remove any oils, lotions, or makeup from the treatment area.
So you’ve received a laser hair removal treatment–here’s what to do next.
While laser hair removal is a safe and effective way to remove unwanted hair, it’s important to follow all aftercare instructions carefully. Doing so will help you avoid side effects and help to achieve the best possible results!
1. Avoid sun exposure
It is essential to avoid sun exposure for at least four weeks after your treatment. This will help reduce the risk of side effects, such as burns or changes in skin color. If you are going out in the sun, wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
2. Avoid heat
Hot showers, excessive activity/exercise, saunas, etc. can irritate the skin so it is best to avoid any sweat-inducing activity for 24 hours after treatment. Instead, take it easy and take cool or lukewarm showers.
3. No photosensitive topical products
Avoid using photosensitizing treatments (such as salicylic acid, hydroxy acids, benzoyl peroxide, retinol, etc.) for 72 hours after the procedure. Only use a mild lotion/cleanse on the region if you want.
4. Expect some redness and swelling
After your laser hair removal treatment, you might experience some redness and swelling in the treatment area. This is normal and should go away within a few hours.
5. You might need to switch up your beauty products
You might need to switch to gentler beauty products and avoid exfoliating or using retinoids in the treatment area. Be sure to ask your esthetician for recommendations.
6. Follow your esthetician's instructions
Be sure to follow your esthetician's aftercare instructions carefully, including medications. This will help you heal quickly and reduce the risk of side effects.
7. You might need to go back for follow-up treatments
Most people will need to go back for 9-12 laser hair removal treatments to achieve the desired results. Once your treatment plan has ended, you may have to return about once a year for upkeep treatments. Be sure to discuss this with your esthetician before your treatment.
FAQs on Laser Hair Removal Before and After
When will I see results from laser hair removal?
You will usually see some results from laser hair removal after the first treatment. However, it can take up to 12 weeks to see the full effects. This is because the hair follicles must go through a complete growth cycle for the treatment to be effective.
Make sure to also have regular, recurring appointments recommended by your aesthetician because your hair follicles will be at various stages of development, so you want to make sure each one gets a chance to get zapped.
What do I need to do before a laser hair removal treatment?
Before your treatment, you should avoid sun exposure, tanning beds, self tanner, and retinols. You should also arrive with the area clean shaved, with no oils, lotions, or makeup on the treatment area.
What to do after a laser hair removal treatment?
After your treatment, you should avoid sun exposure, hot showers, and demanding exercise. You can expect some redness and swelling in the treatment area, which will disappear within a few hours. You might also need to switch to gentler beauty products and definitely use sunscreen if you go out in the sun.
What are the side effects of laser hair removal?
The most common side effects of laser hair removal are redness, swelling, and bruising. These usually go away within a few hours. More serious side effects are rare but can include burns, changes in skin color, and scarring.
How much does laser hair removal cost?
The cost of laser hair removal varies depending on the size of the treatment area and the number of sessions needed.
How many sessions are enough for laser hair removal?
Most people will need at least 9-12 sessions for laser hair removal. However, this can vary depending on the person's hair type.
The Final Takeaway
Laser hair removal is a great choice for long-term hair removal. The treatment uses concentrated laser light to target the hair follicles, resulting in permanent hair reduction. While laser hair removal is generally safe, it is important to choose a reputable esthetician and follow all aftercare instructions carefully. Doing so will help you avoid side effects and receive the best possible results.
SpaDerma has your back if you want to look and feel your best after laser hair removal. Treatments are available at our four Chicago area locations under the direct care of our board-certified estheticians. Make an appointment for your laser hair removal consultation here.