Medicine and cosmetic practices have evolved to help patients remove hair just about anywhere on their bodies. Today, laser hair removal is one of the most effective treatments for preventing future hair growth in targeted areas. Of course, as with any medical or cosmetic procedure, proper preparation is key to achieving the best results. This goes for hair removal treatment as well. If you’re considering laser hair removal, let’s break down how it works and what you should do before your first hair removal treatment.
Laser hair removal works by applying a strong, focused beam of light to the desired areas. The energy this laser gives off reaches the hair’s melanin (the amino acid which provides pigment) and then becomes heat that in turn damages the hair follicles (which are responsible for hair growth). Ultimately, this slows down hair growth in the treated areas. The treatment doesn’t have permanent effects, so multiple treatments are necessary for the best results. Still, with proper maintenance, those results can last for prolonged periods of time (6 months to a year in some cases, after approximately 6-8 treatments plus touch-up treatments).
The information above might make laser hair removal seem scary, painful, and/or agonizingly long. Fortunately, this treatment is relatively simple, often painless, and usually takes 5-20 minutes each time, depending on the area being covered. In terms of mental preparation, you can go in expecting a minor pricking feeling for a short amount of time. If you think this will provide too much discomfort, though, you can opt for numbing cream before the procedure.
Let’s discuss the practical steps you should take before undergoing laser hair removal treatment.
First, and most importantly, make sure you discuss whether or not laser hair removal is right for you with a reliable medical professional. They will go over your medical history with you to ensure that you’re not taking any medications that might interfere with the treatment, as well as give you detailed advice on how to prepare for laser hair removal. If you decide that this option is right for you, choose the same medical professional or one that is recommended to you to provide the treatment as well (as opposed to going to a non-medical spa or salon that provides laser hair removal). Delray laser hair removal is one such provider with experience in laser hair removal and more.
This is a good rule for your skin’s health as a whole, but it’s especially important to get out of the sun as you approach your first hair removal treatment or any subsequent treatments. At the very least, apply strong sunscreen before having fun in the sun. If your skin undergoes sun damage, laser hair removal might not be effective and may cause further complications. You want your skin to be healthy before treatment, not inflamed, tanned, or burned.
Laser hair removal is only effective if it can access the hair follicles you want removed. If you perform other temporary hair removal methods like plucking or waxing too close to your appointment, you may end up with poor results by agitating the hair follicle.
Shaving, on the other hand, is typically recommended about a day prior to treatment, as it doesn’t directly affect the follicles and makes it easier for the laser to reach them. Additionally, shaving before treatment reduces the risk of receiving any damaged skin from burning hair. Just be careful when shaving. Use shaving cream and a clean, sharp razor to avoid irritating or cutting your skin. If the hair is long, trim it before shaving it.
Blood-thinners like aspirin and ibuprofen may also interfere with hair loss from laser hair removal treatment, both during and after the procedure. Make sure you discuss with your doctor which medications are fine to take before and after the treatment.
The future looks bright for laser hair removal and similar cosmetic dermatology services. If you want more insight and advice on this type of treatment, Premier Dermatology Partners is here to help. Our team of medical professionals can answer your questions and offer recommendations to the best medical and cosmetic dermatology providers around. To learn more about our team and all the services we provide, contact us.