Offering a long-term reduction in hair growth, laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure that uses concentrated beams of light–laser–to remove unwanted hair. When absorbed by pigments in the hair follicles, the light from the laser inhibits or delays future hair growth. Laser hair removal is commonly used to remove or reduce hair in areas such as the face, legs, underarms, bikini line, and other body parts. Several sessions are usually required to target hair follicles in different stages of the growth cycle. While considered a long-term hair removal solution, maintenance sessions may be needed over time to address any new hair growth.

Laser hair removal offers several benefits, making it a popular choice for individuals seeking a long-term solution for unwanted hair. For one, laser hair removal targets hair precisely, selectively damaging the hair follicles without affecting the surrounding skin. This makes the procedure suitable for various areas, including the face, legs, underarms, and more. Targeting the hair follicles, laser hair removal can reduce the occurrence of ingrown hairs and can lead to smoother skin. While not completely permanent, laser hair removal often results in a significant and long-term reduction in hair growth. Many individuals experience months or even years of reduced hair growth after completing a series of sessions. As such, laser hair removal can be more convenient than other hair removal methods in the long run.

Preparing for your first laser hair removal session is important to ensure the procedure is effective and to minimize the risk of potential side effects. Here are some ways you can prepare for your first session:

Schedule a Consultation

Before your first laser hair removal session, it is important to consult with a qualified and experienced practitioner. Your practitioner can help you understand what results you can reasonably expect, how many sessions may be needed to achieve your goals, and any potential limitations of the procedure. During the consultation, your practitioner will assess your skin type and review any medications you take or skin conditions you may have to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. A consultation before the first laser hair removal session is a crucial step to ensure that the procedure is safe, effective, and aligned with your expectations. It allows for a thorough assessment and an opportunity to address any concerns or questions you may have.

Avoid Certain Hair Removal Methods

Avoiding certain hair removal before your first hair laser hair removal session is important because these methods can interfere with the effectiveness of the treatment. Laser hair removal works by targeting the pigment in the hair follicles. It works best when the hair is in the active growth phase and the hair follicles are intact. Since hair removal methods such as waxing, plucking, and epilating remove the entire hair shaft, including the hair follicle, the laser has nothing to target during the treatment. Furthermore, waxing and other hair removal methods can irritate the skin and make it more sensitive, leaving the skin vulnerable and prone to complications during laser treatment. On the other hand, shaving preserves the hair follicles while removing the visible hair on the surface. For best results, be sure to follow your practitioner’s pre-treatment instructions on whether you should shave before the session.

Avoid Certain Skincare Products

To minimize the risk of skin irritation and potential complications during the treatment, it is recommended to avoid certain types of skincare products. Some skincare products, particularly those containing retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) can increase skin sensitivity. Products with strong active ingredients can cause dryness or flakiness of the skin. These products may make the skin more susceptible to irritation and discomfort during the procedure. As such, it is generally recommended to stop using products containing retinoids, AHAs, or strong active ingredients and to skip exfoliating products or scrubs for a few days to a week before your laser hair removal session. Instead, opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers and moisturizers to keep the skin clean and hydrated without introducing potentially irritating ingredients. If you received specific pre-treatment instructions or advise from your practitioner, be sure to follow them.

Follow Pre-Treatment Instructions

Before your laser hair removal session, your practitioner may provide specific pre-treatment instructions. These instructions are designed to optimize the effectiveness of the laser hair removal procedure. Some pre-treatment instructions may involve maintaining the optimal condition of the skin before the procedure. This may include keeping the skin clean, avoiding certain hair removal methods, and avoiding excessive sun exposure. Some practitioners may instruct you to shave the treatment area a day before the procedure. Proper preparation can contribute to a more comfortable experience during the laser hair removal session. Adhering to pre-treatment instructions helps minimize the risk of side effects and complications. If you have any questions or concerns about the pre-treatment instructions, be sure to discuss them with your practitioner during the consultation before the procedure.

The effectiveness of laser hair removal can vary from person to person and can be influenced by various factors. While laser hair removal offers a significant and longer-term decrease in hair growth, several sessions are usually needed to achieve certain hair removal goals or to maintain results over time. Be sure to follow post-treatment instructions and to attend any scheduled follow-up appointments as recommended by your practitioner. After your first laser hair removal session, your practitioner can assess your progress, address concerns, and determine the timing of subsequent sessions.