Hair growth can sometimes be excessive due to medical conditions or genetic predisposition. Laser hair removal is a permanent way of getting rid of or reducing hair. The procedure is used for removing hair on the arms, legs, genital area, back, chest, face, neck, etc.
Are you considering laser hair removal? If yes, you should make sure that this medical procedure is performed by a well–trained specialist. Be careful if you decide to perform a laser hair removal in a spa, salon or anywhere else where non-medical personnel will perform the procedure.
If you have already decided on laser hair removal, and if you have chosen the right person who will perform the procedure, make an appointment with him/her. During this first medical visit, your doctor will review your medical history and discuss any possible risks and complications following the procedure. Usually, photos are also taken during this first appointment, in order to compare them with the photos after the laser hair removal.
Also, make sure to discuss the costs of the procedure. Laser hair removal is usually a medical procedure that your insurance will not cover, so you will have to pay it on your own.
Some tips that will help you prepare for laser hair removal include:
- Avoid waxing or plucking for at least two to four weeks before the laser hair removal, as these hair removal procedures can disturb the hair follicle, meaning that it will interfere with the laser hair removal procedure. On the other hand, shaving is acceptable as it will have no effect on the hair shaft and hair follicle, meaning that it will not influence the laser hair removal procedure.
- Avoid getting a suntan as it can increase the risk of side effects and complications following the laser hair removal procedure. In some cases, it is recommended to wait at least 6 weeks with no exposure to sun, before having a laser hair removal. In general, people undergo laser hair removal in winter when there is very little exposure to the sun.
- Get yourself shaved in the area where the hair will be removed just as your doctor has instructed you during the first appointment. It is usually done a day or two before the laser hair removal. With shaving, you will relieve yourself some pain, as if the hair is longer, the treatment is more painful.
- Sometimes medications like antibiotics or antivirals are prescribed by the doctor. Make sure to take them just as instructed.
- Clean the area where the hair will be removed during the procedure carefully. Do not apply any lotion, creams or deodorants.
Before the complete laser hair removal procedure, it is important to have a minor test done to determine the best settings for your skin tone and hair color. This technology works best on lighter skin and dark hair because the hair absorbs all the radiation more effectively. However, it can still be adjusted to work on any variation of skin or hair color, but the settings have to be adjusted to the new conditions.
This sample skin test may be done on another part of your body like the forearm, and the settings adjusted to work on your particular skin and hair color. With this test, your laser hair removal procedure will go ahead smoothly without a lot of pain and will be more effective.
The laser hair removal procedure is not that painful, and you probably won’t need to take any pain medications. However, it won’t hurt to take some ibuprofen or some other pain reliever just to avoid any surprises.
After the procedure, you might also experience some pain in the treated area, so having some numbing cream ready for that is also a good idea. Be careful with these numbing creams, though, not to overuse them after the procedure as there have been cases of severe side-effects brought by their use including death. It’s best to ask your doctor about the proper amount to use.
The first session is usually the most crucial, in regards to pain, because you may have heard conflicting reports from your peers about how painful it can be. The clinic you are going to have the procedure in will probably try to downplay the level of pain to keep you from running away. Instead, why not play it safe and take a pain reliever, just in case.
Do your research
The decision to undergo laser hair removal shouldn’t be taken easily. Even though the procedure is generally safe, there are potential risks to be aware of. Remember, that the results of laser hair removal won’t be the same for everyone, even though more men and women are choosing this treatment as a way to solve their unwanted hair problems.
Take some time and do some research. Being more informed will probably be an asset for you before going through with the procedure. A good source of information is the internet, which is what you are doing right now by reading this article, so keep reading. However, you need more information about the particular clinic or institution you will have the procedure in, and the person conducting the procedure.
Unqualified ‘experts’ may make mistakes during the procedure, causing you more harm than good, which is why it is important to know exactly who will be performing the procedure. This information can be easily found from customer review websites where you can get honest reviews, opinions, and feedback about your concerns.
After establishing that you are in good hands, then you can go ahead with the procedure, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Some of your seemingly irrelevant concerns may actually turn out to be useful information, and the doctor is there to listen and provide you with the answers.
After laser hair removal
Some side effects may show up within the first day or two after your treatment, including skin swelling, redness, or irritation. This is something normal, so don’t freak out. Usually, the irritation and redness of the skin will go away within a couple of days.
You can use soothing lotion to reduce the irritation, but if skin redness, irritation, and discomfort persist for a longer period of time, contact the doctor who performed the procedure.
Make sure to keep your skin well hydrated, don’t irritate it and don’t expose yourself to the sun.
Exfoliate the treated skin at least two or three times per week, using a loofah sponge or washcloth in and rubbing your skin to ensure that your skin can properly shed the dead hair cells.
Ask your dermatologist for any risks of drug interactions, for any medications that you take. Some drugs can cause unwanted side effects when combined with laser hair removal.
Apply sunscreen when going out to avoid any irritation. Your skin is likely to be sensitive immediately after the treatment, so sunburn will be more than it would be if your skin was normal. Do apply a lot of sunscreen if you spend time in the sun, and avoid sunless tanners, tanning lotions, and other tan-promoting products.
After a week or so, you may notice that the hair is growing back, more slowly than normal. Your skin will be covered in stubble or what looks like blackheads, but that's normal. Do not pluck or wax, just shave or trim, but leave the roots of those hairs intact. They will be dealt with in your next session.