the legs of a woman who received laser hair removal treatment

Laser Hair Removal: What to Expect

If you have unwanted facial or body hair and are looking for a long-lasting solution, laser hair removal could be ideal. These procedures are designed to reduce the need for plucking, shaving, and waxing. After several treatments, some individuals may even experience permanent results. At the very least, you can count on growing thinner, finer, and less noticeable hair in the areas that are treated.

Prior to Treatment

If you intend to have laser hair removal performed, you should limit your use of waxing, plucking, and at-home electrolysis for several weeks. Shaving or using depilatory creams to remove unwanted hair should be fine; it should be noted that some people experience adverse reactions to depilatory creams. You should avoid applying these creams two days in advance of an appointment in order to prevent skin irritation. Laser treatments are designed to target the roots of your hair. Unfortunately, these roots are removed on a short-term basis when the hair is waxed or plucked and this can make the laser procedure ineffective.

Prior to using the laser, the technician will prep the targeted skin. Any hair that will be addressed in these sessions will be cut down to just one or two millimeters in length. At this time, a cool gel will be applied to the targeted areas in order to protect the skin and the laser will be set to reflect the location of your hair, the thickness of the hair, and your skin pigment.

During Treatment

During this process, a pulse of light is used to target individual hair follicles. Each laser pulse lasts a mere fraction of a second. Although large areas of the skin, such as the legs or back, can take close to an hour to treat, smaller zones such as the upper lip or the brows can be completed in under a minute.

Pain is minimal, but you will likely feel some measure of discomfort throughout the treatment process. Many liken the sensation to being popped with a rubber band. After the treatment has come to an end, you will receive a topical, anti-inflammatory cream or other soothing agent along with ice packs.

Follow-Up Visits

Following your laser hair removal procedure, you can anticipate redness, flaking, and even itchiness in the treated area. This is a sign that the affected skin is recovering. In most instances, there will also be a moderate amount of hair growth within one to two weeks. A single treatment is rarely sufficient for creating permanent results, especially for those who have thick, coarse hair in the targeted areas. Many people will require two treatments that are scheduled approximately one month apart and then several additional visits that will occur once every six to eight weeks as needed.

How to Get Optimal Results

There are several things that you can do to increase the efficacy of these treatments. Regularly exfoliating your skin is foremost among these. This will help to smooth out red, flaky areas. You should make sure to shave new hair growth rather than opting to wax or pluck it. The overall goal is to ensure that the root of the hair is fully intact for future appointments and that the skin is in good condition.

Last Updated: February 10, 2016