Laser hair removal is a cosmetic treatment that adds significant convenience to your life by eliminating the need to shave, wax, or tweeze the treated area and leaving smooth skin behind instead. However, skin targeted by a laser can become sensitive and require special care in between and after laser treatments. This is because the laser delivers light energy to the hair follicle stem cells, causing heat damage to the surrounding tissue. Experienced laser hair removal specialists will match the laser to your skin type to minimize the damage to your cells.
The type of laser and number of sessions needed depends on your skin color and hair type. For example, parameters are set on energy settings for people with fair skin and dark hair, to prevent complications such as burning, pain, blistering, and skin pigmentation changes, which will be different than those set for darker skin or lighter hair. Most permanent hair removal will require between 4-12 treatments, each one month apart.
While laser hair treatment is safe when performed correctly, caring for the treated areas between appointments is an essential part of the process. Here are some ways you can ease any symptoms that arise and maximize your results:
- The skin will feel hot for 15-30 minutes after the treatment due to the heat from the laser. Some mild discomfort, swelling, or sensitivity in the area for 24-48 hours is common. During this time, you can use ice packs, topical aloe vera, and numbing or calming creams to manage these symptoms.
- Because of the increased heat level of the skin, it's also important to avoid hot showers, hot baths, saunas, or steam rooms for at least 48 hours after a treatment session.
- Sunscreen is a must after laser hair removal sessions. Areas targeted by a laser are more susceptible to photo (light) damage, hyperpigmentation (skin darkening), burning, and other signs of premature aging. A minimum of SPF 15 is recommended to prevent damage. Don't forget to reapply!
- If you receive laser treatment on your face, there are certain guidelines to care for this especially sensitive area. To minimize possible reactions to irritants, avoid wearing regular makeup for a few days after each treatment. Mineral makeup can be used to cover redness, as long as it is removed in the evening to give the skin time to recover. When cleansing the face, use lukewarm water and fragrance-free products. Pat dry with a clean towel and do not rub. Aloe vera can also be used on the face.
- When 48 hours have elapsed after treatment, it is usually okay to shave the treated area. Do not shave less than 24 hours before another treatment, or irritation may occur. Make sure to follow the guidelines of your hair removal specialist to properly care for your skin.