Let’s face it, we all can be lazy sometimes. No one wants to wake up a few minutes earlier in the morning to shave their legs and underarms, but going without if for too long makes them feel like little cactuses and it can feel just plain uncomfortable. Sometimes – or most of the time, who are we kidding – shaving can get annoying and tedious, and waxing is pretty painful – not to mention that it has to be done every few weeks. Laser hair removal could be the best service to you if you’re looking for a more permanent solution to your unwanted hair woes, but some people don’t even know what it is, much less what all it can do for you. Here at Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis, we want you to know exactly what you should be aware of when considering laser hair removal.
-How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses an intense beam of light – a laser – to remove unwanted hair. This laser penetrates through the skin into the hair follicle. It damages the hair follicle and prohibits it from further growth. Typically, it works best for people with light skin and dark hair, but anyone can try it. It doesn’t usually permanently stop hair growth on the first treatment and requires around five to six sessions (booking an appointment every four to six weeks is the most effective), but it does effectively slow hair growth even after the first meeting.
-Is it safe?
Laser hair removal is completely safe if it is done by a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office. However, there are a few risks: there is always a risk of damage to the eye when dealing with lasers. Both you and the person performing the procedure need to wear goggles specific to the type of laser that will be used. There are also risks with scarring, discoloration, and blistering. Some swelling and redness are common, but burns or blisters mean that the technician has used the wrong type of laser for your particular skin. Some skin doesn’t take to laser treatment, so it’s best to have the physician conduct a small sample test on a small area of skin before going through with the procedure.
-Does it hurt?
The feeling that has been described by most patients having gotten this treatment is that it feels like being snapped by a hot rubber band or a pinch. It’s very dependent on the individual’s pain tolerance. Although, almost all patients would say that the amount of improvement in stunting or stopping hair growth definitely outweighs the pain of getting the procedure done.
-What are some things I should know before going to a laser hair removal session?
There are a few things you should do (or rather don’t do) in preparation for a laser hair removal session:
DON’T GO OUT IN THE SUN before a laser hair removal treatment. You cannot receive laser hair removal treatment if you have a sunburn, or even if you have a tan. That even means staying away from tanning beds, spray tans and even tanning lotions. Getting treatments done in the fall or winter is the best idea; that way, you can be hair-free by summertime
DO SHAVE THE AREA that is getting treatment before going to the session. Laser hair removal is different from waxing in that you don’t need to let your hair grow out before treatment. That being said, you should not have a session if you’ve had a wax recently. The laser has to target the pigment in your hair follicle, and the laser can’t do that if there isn’t a follicle there!
DO ALLOW YOUR PHYSICIAN to perform a test patch on your skin at your first appointment. Unfortunately not everyone’s skin takes to this treatment well, and some may end up with scarring or discoloration, so it’s best to get a sample test to make sure your skin reacts well.
DON’T BOOK AN APPOINTMENT to get a full-body laser hair removal treatment; most places won’t let you anyway. Your body can only handle so much laser light and heat absorption!
What should I expect to do after I’ve finished my session?
Since your skin is super sensitive in the first few days after getting laser hair removal treatment, so it’s important to take extra good care of it.
DO LATHER UP that sunscreen after your treatment. Sunscreen is important anyway, but since your skin is vulnerable right after a laser hair removal treatment (even if it doesn’t feel like it is), you’ll want to put some sunscreen on to protect your skin as much as you possibly can.
DON’T TWEEZE OR WAX any hair in the area that received treatment. Shaving is fine, but waxing or plucking out hair follicles hinders the process. Put down the tweezers and let the hair fall out on its own.
DON’T TAKE HOT SHOWERS OR BATHS for about a week after getting the procedure done. Lukewarm water is the way to go, and your skin will thank you for it!
DO AVOID PERFUMES AND DEODORANTS as much as you can for 24 to 48 hours after the treatment. Fragrances tend to irritate sensitive skin as is, so stay away for a day or two. If you received the treatment on your face, try to limit makeup use for about a day or until sensitivity begins to subside.
See? Laser hair removal isn’t anywhere near as traumatizing as some might think, and it’s always best to be completely informed about a procedure before going through with it. Following these steps and tips on how to take care of your skin before and after will ensure smooth sailing while going through laser hair removal treatments. Not to mention freedom from prickly underarms and legs! The Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis would be happy to help you with any of your laser hair removals or any other skin treatments you need, so contact us and schedule a consultation by clicking on the link or calling 901.761.9030. We hope to see you soon!