Laser hair removal is a great way to achieve long-term results while avoiding the hassle of shaving and waxing. In order to provide the best and safest results, there are a few things to keep in mind before getting a laser hair removal treatment.
1. Avoid sun exposure at least two weeks prior to your appointment. Sun exposure makes the skin more sensitive to the laser treatment and increases the chance of burns. It is important to avoid sun exposure 2 weeks after the treatment as well for the same reason. As always, sunscreen is important any time you are in the sun regardless of laser treatment schedule!
2. Review your medications with your provider prior to treatments. Let your injector know if you started any new medications. There are many medications that make us more "photosensitive," or more likely to burn in the sun. These medications make people more sensitive when undergoing laser treatments as well. Some of these medications include antibiotics, acne medications (including Accutane and Tretinoin/retinols), certain anti-seizure and muscle-relaxing agents, NSAIDS (like aspirin), certain cardiac and anti-hypertension medications, and specific psychiatric medications. It is important to talk to your provider about these so that they can determine if it is safe to treat or when it will be safe to treat you without injuring your skin.
3. Avoid artificial tans (lotions, sprays, etc...). If a laser tries to penetrate the skin through an artificial tan, it could cause burns and damage to the skin. The product should be fully exfoliated off prior to a treatment (ideally at least 2 weeks separating application and laser treatment).
4. Shave 24-48 hours prior to your appointment. If your hairs are too long they could singe and burn the skin. The hair does not need to be visible for the laser to be effective, but being able to see a little stubble is often helpful for the laser operator.
5. Do not wax 6 week prior to starting or at all in between laser hair removal treatments. The way that laser hair removal works is by damaging the follicle of the hair so that regrowth does not occur. When an area is waxed, the hair follicles are pulled out. Without a follicle present, the laser has nothing to target and will be ineffective. Ultimately if you wax between treatments you are slowing down and disrupting the processes of hair growth reduction which in turn will lead to requiring more treatments.
6. Come to your appointment with clean and dry skin. Applying products such as lotion or having debris from sweat on the skin prior to lasering could decrease efficacy of treatments or irritate the skin.
7. Be patient! Laser hair removal takes multiple treatments to be fully effective. After that you may need a touch up session now and then but your results will be long-lasting and save you the hassle of shaving and the pain of waxing!