Laser Hair Removal: What to Expect and How to Prepare for Your First Session

Congratulations! You’re about to experience a more permanent solution to unwanted hair that can save you time and money in the long run.

Before you book your first laser hair removal appointment, knowing what to expect and how to prepare for your treatment are essential. This blog has compiled all the necessary information you need to know before your first hair removal session. It will cover everything from scheduling a consultation and asking the right questions to how to prepare for your treatment in the days leading up to it. And, of course, you will also walk through what to expect during and after your first laser hair removal session. So whether you’re a seasoned laser hair removal pro or a first-timer, this blog post is for you. Keep reading to learn more, and get ready to say goodbye to unwanted hair for good.

Who can have laser hair removal?

If you’re considering laser hair removal, it’s essential to know that it works best for people with dark, thick hair and light skin. This is because the contrast between skin color and hair color makes it easier for the hair to absorb heat, which is necessary for the laser to destroy the hair follicle.

On the other hand, laser hair removal might not work as effectively for people with darker skin or hair that’s blonde, gray, white, or red. But don’t worry – technological advancements have also allowed some types of lighter hairs to be treated with laser hair removal.

It’s always best to schedule a consultation with a qualified practitioner to determine whether you’re a good candidate for laser hair removal. They can evaluate your skin and hair type and advise you on the best treatment options.

So, whether you have light or dark hair, it’s essential to do your research and consult with a professional before deciding on laser hair removal. With the correct information and guidance, you can make an informed decision and enjoy the benefits of smooth, hair-free skin.

A guide to preparing for a laser hair removal session

Learn how to prepare for your first hair removal session and what to expect afterward. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

How to prepare for your first laser hair removal treatment

Here’s how you can prepare for your first hair removal session.

1. Schedule a Consultation

Before undergoing laser hair removal, scheduling a consultation with a licensed and experienced practitioner is crucial. This consultation will help you understand the procedure’s benefits and risks.

During the consultation, the practitioner will evaluate your skin and hair types, assess any medical conditions, and determine your best treatment plan. They’ll also discuss the cost and the number of sessions you need.

It’s important to note that not all laser hair removal clinics are created equal. When looking for a reputable clinic, make sure to do your research. Check the credentials of the practitioner and the clinic, read reviews from past clients, and ask for referrals from friends and family.

2. Ask Lots of Questions

During your consultation for laser hair removal, asking many questions is essential. This will help you understand the procedure better and ensure you feel confident and informed before undergoing treatment.

Some questions you may want to consider asking include:

  • What type of laser will be used for my treatment?
  • How many sessions will I need, and how far apart should they be scheduled?
  • What kind of results can I expect?
  • Are there any potential side effects or risks associated with the procedure?
  • What kind of aftercare should I follow?

It’s also important to note that every person’s experience with laser hair removal may differ, so having an open and honest conversation with your practitioner about any concerns or questions is crucial.

3. List of things to do and avoid before the treatment

Preparing for your first laser hair removal treatment is essential to achieving your desired results. Here are some crucial steps to take in the days leading up to your appointment:

  • Avoid tanning or sun exposure [5], as it can make your skin more sensitive to the laser. 
  • Avoid other hair removal methods, such as waxing, plucking, or threading, in the treatment area for at least 4 to 6 weeks before your first session.
  • It’s essential to have total hair growth in the treatment area for the laser to be effective, so ensure you do not bleach your hair. 
  • Clean the treatment area thoroughly before your appointment, and shave the area 24 hours before your session. 

  • Avoid using perfumed shaving or cleansing products on your bikini area, and instead, use a pH-balanced feminine cleanser wash.
  • Gently exfoliate the area; it will help remove dead skin cells and allow a smoother treatment. 
  • Be sure to remove excess hair from the labia and perianal area, wear loose clothes, and prefer cotton underwear to avoid irritation.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine before your appointment, and consider taking a mild pain reliever if you have back pain. 
  • Some people find chewing gum helpful during the treatment.
  • Schedule your appointment the week before or after your period, and avoid blood-thinning medications. 

What to expect after your first laser hair removal session?

1. During the procedure

During laser hair removal, the doctor will apply a cooling gel to your skin to protect it and make the process more comfortable. This gel also helps the laser energy reach the hair follicles. You might feel warmth or discomfort, but most people find it tolerable. The length of the session depends on the size of the treated area. A small area, like the upper lip, can take just a few minutes, while a larger area, like the back, may take over an hour.

2. After the procedure

After the treatment, you may experience some redness, swelling, and mild discomfort in the treated area. This is entirely normal and will subside within a few hours or days. To minimize potential side effects: 

  • Avoid hot showers or baths, direct sunlight, and excessive sweating for at least 24 hours after the treatment. 
  • Apply a cool compress [1] or aloe vera gel to the treated area to soothe discomfort. 
  • It’s also important to avoid picking, scratching, or rubbing the area to prevent infection and scarring.
  • Avoid exposing the treated area to direct sunlight for at least 24 hours, and wear sunscreen if you must be outside. 
  • Don’t use skincare products, like exfoliators or retinoids [2], for a few days after treatment. 
  • Stay hydrated and avoid hot showers, saunas, and GYM for the first 24 hours after the session. 

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any unusual side effects or have concerns.

3. A week after laser hair removal

After one week of your laser hair removal treatment, you can expect some hair shedding during the first week. Don’t worry; this is normal and a sign that the treatment works. But remember, this hair shedding shouldn’t be confused with regrowth. It’s also important to avoid waxing, plucking, or tweezing the treated area during this time, as it could interfere with the hair-shedding process and lead to skin irritation or ingrown hairs. Just be patient and let the process work its magic.

4. 3 to 4 weeks after laser hair removal

After a laser hair removal treatment, patients may notice some hair regrowth during the first 3 to 4 weeks. But don’t worry; the regrowth will be lighter and thinner than before, and the next session will target those hairs. It’s essential to avoid any hair removal methods that can disrupt the hair follicles during this time, such as waxing, plucking, or tweezing. Just trust the process and stay patient for the best results.

5. Within 3 months of laser hair removal

Most patients should have completed at least two sessions within the first three months after the laser hair removal treatment. You can expect noticeably reduced hair growth in the treated area. However, It’s crucial to follow up with the clinic for further evaluation and determine if additional treatments are necessary to achieve the desired results. 

Continuously avoiding hair removal methods that disrupt the hair follicles is also recommended during this period for optimal outcomes.

Note: Results may vary depending on the patient’s skin type.

6. Within 6 months of laser hair removal

Within the first eight months or year after the laser hair removal treatment, most patients should have completed their recommended treatment sessions, typically ranging from 6 to 8 sessions. However, it’s important to note that certain areas, such as the bikini and face, which are affected by hormonal factors, may require additional time for optimal results [4]. This is because hormonal fluctuations can affect hair growth patterns and may require more sessions to target all hair follicles effectively.

Additionally, it’s crucial to note that the pre and post-treatment care instructions remain the same after each session, including avoiding sun exposure, waxing or plucking, and moisturizing the treated area as needed. 

Conclusion

So there you have it! This blog has covered some important points about what to expect during the first few months after laser hair removal treatment. Remember, most patients complete their recommended sessions within 8 to 12 months, but some areas, like the bikini and face, may need a little extra time due to hormonal factors. 

Laser hair removal can be an excellent option for long-term hair reduction, giving you smooth, hassle-free skin. If you’re tired of constantly shaving, waxing, or plucking, why consider laser hair removal a potential solution? Talk to your clinic, ask questions, and take the first step toward saying goodbye to unwanted hair.

FAQs

1. Do you have to shave before laser hair removal?

Definite yes! But avoid waxing for at least a week before your first hair removal session. If the hair in your treatment area is too long, it could increase the risk of getting burned.

2. How much hair do you lose after the first laser treatment?

Yes, lasers are most effective when the hair is in the anagen stage, which is when it’s actively growing. But here’s the thing – only about 15 percent of your hair will be in this stage during the first laser session. So, only a fraction of those hair follicles will be zapped, and you can expect those hairs to fall off within five to 14 days after treatment.

3. What happens if you don’t shave before the laser?

During laser treatment, the energy is supposed to penetrate beneath the skin to target the hair follicles. But if the energy gets absorbed by the hair itself, it can cause it to burn. This can leave marks and scars on the skin [3].

References:

[1] https://lakejacksonent.com/caring-for-your-skin-after-laser-hair-removal/

[2] https://www.dralisonblack.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/PrePost-Laser-Hair-removal.pdf

[3]https://www.skinperfectionlondon.co.uk/2023/02/what-happens-if-you-dont-shave-before-laser-hair-removal/

[4]https://infinitylaserspa.com/pages/first-laser-hair-removal-session

[5]https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/beauty-hair/a14414109/laser-hair-removal-facts/

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Sabina Gordon
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