Understand the Process So You Know What to Expect for Your Appointment
If you have unwanted body hair, you know the frustrations — and perils — of shaving, waxing, and sugaring. Not only is it time-consuming, but it can be painful. And the results don’t even last that long!
To combat body hair once and for all, many people turn to laser hair removal, which promises to reduce the amount of time you spend trying to reduce your body hair on your own.
How does laser hair removal work?
The non-invasive process of hair removal uses a diode laser or similar equipment, depending on the medical spa you visit. The laser puts out a concentrated beam of light that targets melanin, which is a substance in your hair that gives it color.
The light beam from the laser heats the hair and permanently changes the hair follicle. This change prevents the follicle from sprouting new hair in the future.
Most people need multiple sessions of laser hair removal because each strand of unwanted body hair grows at different rates. Sessions should be spaced between four and six weeks apart, and you don’t want to go too long between sessions if you want to see good results.
Speaking of results, before committing to laser hair removal, you should know that it eliminates only 80 per cent of hair in areas where you receive the treatment. You may have up to 20 per cent of hair after your final session. However, for most people, this is not a bothersome or noticeable amount.
Who qualifies for laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal works well for many people, but it isn’t for everyone.
Because the laser targets melanin in the hair, people with dark body hair and fair skin tend to get the best results. Lighter hair has less melanin in it, so it’s harder for the laser to focus on. Darker skin contains more melanin than lighter skin, which means there’s even less of a contrast for the laser to target.
If you’re considering laser hair removal, let the professionals decide if you qualify before writing it off. Most medical spas or laser centers will offer you a free consultation to determine if you’re a good candidate for this type of hair removal. They may even be able to recommend an alternative method for you.
How do I prepare for my appointment?
Before you head into the office for your laser hair removal session, you need to do some prep work. Plan to shave the areas to be treated about 24 hours before your appointment. This removes the hair shaft above your skin’s surface, so the laser targets the right part of the hair.
Do not wax or sugar your skin before your session, because it pulls the hair out at the root. This leaves nothing for the laser to target.
Avoid sun exposure before your laser treatment too. If you have a sunburn, or if you’ve recently used self-tanning lotions, you’ll have to reschedule your treatment.
How does laser hair removal feel?
Laser hair removal may give you minor discomfort, but most people don’t find it overwhelming. It can feel like mild stinging in less sensitive areas of your skin. Highly sensitive areas, like your bikini line, maybe a bit more painful, but it’s certainly not as bad as waxing!
If you’re concerned about the pain, you can ask your doctor if you can take over-the-counter medication, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen before and after your appointment. Always use medication as directed.
After your treatment, you may notice the sensation of having a sunburn. Your skin may even look a bit irritated. This is perfectly normal, and these side effects should resolve within a few hours or a day or two.
Is there downtime after laser hair removal?
If your skin is red or feels a bit painful, you will want to wait until those symptoms resolve before resuming your normal activities, although you should still be able to do general household chores and do most jobs.
You must wait at least a week before shaving again, however, so plan your clothing accordingly during your recovery.
Where can I get laser hair removal?
Your best bet on finding laser hair removal is to do a quick Internet search for providers in your area.
Don’t be tempted by good deals; be sure to research the implications of visiting a discount laser center. If you’re not certain who in your area is reputable, you can ask your family and friends for their recommendations, and read reviews online.
Once you’ve chosen your laser hair removal provider, you’ll soon be on your way to no-effort smooth skin!