Pre-Treatment: How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal
- Don’t Pluck: Three weeks prior to a laser hair removal treatment, one must abstain from tweezing, waxing, or any other unwanted hair treatment that removes hair from its root. There must be hair in the hair follicle for laser hair removal to work. The laser is attracted to the melanin, or pigment, of the hair. The hair must be in its anagen, or active growth phase.
- Don’t Tan: You should avoid sun exposure in the 4-6 weeks prior to your laser hair removal treatment. Tanned skin has extra melanin, which attracts laser energy and can result in a burn. Avoid spray tans as well 4-6 weeks prior.
- Don’t Moisturize: Right before your laser hair removal treatment, do not apply any lotion, sunscreen, perfume, deodorant or other similar cosmetics to the surface of your skin.
- Shave: Shave the day of your treatment and remove all hair in the treatment area. The idea is to have a nice, close shave, so that there is no hair outside the skin. There will be a charge for shaving if it has to be done in the office.
- Exfoliate: Exfoliate the area to be treated 2-3 days prior to treatment. Use of a mechanical scrub such as Brightening Polish or a washcloth will help to minimize occurrence of ingrown hairs afterwards.
- Please tell your provider or call the office if you have a history of cold sores/herpes because you may require preventative anti-viral medication in order to decrease the risk of a recurrence.
- You may not be a good candidate for laser hair removal if you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, have been on Accutane in the past year, or are taking any medications that increase sun sensitivity.
- Avoid using retinol or acids on the area to be treated 2-3 days ahead of time.
Post-Treatment: What to Do After Laser Hair Removal
- Immediately after treatment there may be mild redness and swelling at the treatment site which may last up to 2 hours or longer. The redness may last up to 2-3 days. The treated area may feel like sunburn. Apply ice packs or gel packs (do not apply direct ice) for the first few hours after treatment to reduce any discomfort or swelling.
- Do not apply any lotions, creams, fragrances or anything on the skin for 24 hours afterwards.
- There are no restrictions on showering/bathing except to treat the skin gently, as if you had sunburn, for the first 24 hours.
- Wait 24 hours before doing any sweaty exercise.
- No public water (pools, hot tubs, oceans) for 2-3 days until skin is back to baseline.
- Avoid sun exposure until skin has returned to its normal baseline (no redness or swelling). Treated skin will be more sensitive and vulnerable to UV rays so broad spectrum, mineral based SPF is recommended at all times after treatment.
- Begin gentle exfoliation of the area around day 3 if skin is back to baseline and no longer looks irritated. This will help decrease ingrown hairs. Avoid picking or scratching the treated skin which can cause scarring. Do not use any other hair removal treatment products or services (waxing, electrolysis, or tweezing) that will disturb the hair follicle in the treatment area.
- Anywhere from 5-10 days after the treatment, shedding of the surface hair may occur and this appears as new hair growth. This is not new hair growth, it is the shaft that was below the skin and is being expelled. It may take 7-10 days for the shafts to be fully expelled. This may or may not be something that you see.
- At the next visit, it is important to let the provider know how long the redness lasted after your treatment and when significant hair growth was noticed in the area. This information will allow the provider to individualize treatments to achieve the desired results.
- Typically treatment sessions can be repeated on 4-6 week intervals. Do not repeat treatment until you actually start to see some hair growth again.
- Most people require 6 treatments for permanent hair reduction, but may require up to 10 in some cases. Maintenance treatments will be required.
How Much Is Laser Hair Removal in San Diego?
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