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Laser Hair Removal: A Guide to Pre- and Post-Treatment Care

Laser Hair Removal is the new and advanced hair elimination technology that does not pluck or cut off the hair shaft but works on the follicles to stop them from growing back. Unlike traditional and fairly common hair reduction and removal methods, such as shaving, sugaring, waxing, plucking, threading, etc., Laser Hair Removal is a permanent solution for unwanted hairs. 

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser hair removal procedures send waves of safe and effective laser energy deep into your hair follicles. As those follicles heat up, their natural growth cycle is impacted, and they no longer can grow healthy hairs. It takes a couple of weeks, but those targeted hairs eventually shed away on their own. The next time hair grows back. The hairs are finer, thinner, and lighter. With each subsequent procedure, less and less hair continues to grow back until, eventually, hair stops growing back, as follicles are put in an inactive state. Laser hair removal can drastically reduce hair growth in almost all body areas, including your legs, arms, underarms, stomach, back, and neck, to name a few.

The number of treatments an individual needs depends, but most men and women need six to eight treatments, each spaced about four to eight weeks apart, for optimal results. Although laser hair removal is permanent, it is possible to have new hair growth in some cases as our cells regenerate and renew. This is most common during periods of hormonal fluctuations, particularly around pregnancy. If you are worried about the pain, it is normal to feel slight discomfort in sensitive areas (like your underarms), but you should not be in intolerable pain. Most individuals explain that laser hair removal feels like tiny rubber bands flicking your skin.

Pre- and Post-Case Essentials for Laser Hair Removal 

Let’s first talk about the pre-care measures that are essential before undergoing laser hair removal treatments: 

  • The area must be shaved 24 hours before your appointment. (Only shaved because we need hairs to be in place for the treatment to work).
  • The closer the shave, the better. If it is your first time, leave a small patch of hair so your specialist can examine it.
  •  No makeup/lotion/deodorant on the day of your appointment (in the treatment area).
  • Stay out of direct sunlight for at least three days before your appointment (& 3 days after).
  • Do not use self-tanner or spray tan products for at least two weeks before your treatment to avoid potential injury.
  • Avoid drinking more than two alcoholic beverages 24 hours before your treatment.
  • Avoid waxing, threading, or tweezing in the area for at least four weeks. Shaving is ok!

Laser services are not recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive. 

Post Care

  • Redness and bumps are expected, which may last up to 2 hours or longer. It is normal for the treated area to feel like a sunburn for a few hours. You should use a cold compress if the sensitivity continues. If there is any crusting, apply an antibiotic cream. Darker pigmented skin may have more discomfort than lighter skin & may persist longer.
  • Cleanse the area and treat gently.
  • The treated area may be washed gently with a mild soap. The skin should be patted dry & not rubbed during the first 48 hours, as it can cause irritation.
  • Keep the treated area clean & dry; if further redness or irritation persists, skip your makeup & moisturizer, & deodorant (for underarms) until the irritation has subsided.
  • Dead hairs will begin to shed 5-30 days after your treatment.
  • Stubble, representing dead hair being shed from the hair follicle, will appear within 5-30 days from the treatment date. That is normal, and they will fall out quickly.
  • Exfoliate to speed up hair shedding.
  • Anywhere from 5-30 days after the treatment, shedding of the hair may occur & this may appear as new hair growth. It is not new hair growth but the dead hair pushing its way out of the follicle. 
  • Avoid the sun. Going under the sun will be the least good decision for your skin after a laser session. 
  • Avoid sun exposure to reduce the chance of dark or light spots for two months. Use sunscreen (SPF 25 or higher) at all times throughout the treatment period & for 1-2 months following.
  • Do not pick/scratch/wax/thread/tweeze the area.
  • Avoid picking or scratching the treated skin. Do not use hair removal methods or products other than shaving on the treated area during your laser treatments, as it will prevent you from achieving the best results.
  • Hair growth varies.
  • On average, most will experience hairless happiness after 6-9 sessions, which will result in not even checking for stubble (yes, it’s life-changing!)

Cutera Aesthetics can help you if you are looking for a credible and professional medical spa. We offer affordable rates and exceptional services!