Caring for your skin after laser hair removal
Many people turn to laser hair removal to reduce what is commonly called unwanted hair. Laser hair removal has gained a lot of popularity over the years, as it is a quick and painless technique to remove face and body hair. No more shaving, no more waxing, and no more tweezing and plucking! Laser hair removal seems to offer the best of both worlds! However it is important to know how to take care of your skin after treatment.
How does laser hair removal work?
The procedure involves sending laser beams into the deep layers of skin to target hair follicles. As the follicles heat up, their natural growth cycle is disrupted. However, laser hair removal can only treat hair in the growth stage, and it takes a few weeks for the targeted hairs to fall out on their own. When your hair grows back, it will be finer, thinner, and lighter.
But not all hairs are at the same growth stage at the time of the treatment, and the area will almost certainly need to be treated multiple times, so as to ensure that all hairs are caught and targeted in their growth stage.
With each treatment session, the hair starts to regrow at a reduced rate until it eventually stops growing at all. In general, most people require two to six sessions several weeks apart. Laser hair removal can significantly reduce hair growth in different parts of the body, including the legs, arms, underarms, abdomen, back, and neck.
Redness and irritation at the treatment site are common immediately after treatment; these side effects can last anywhere from to 2 hours to a few days, and the treated area may look sunburnt for a few hours. Here is how you can soothe your skin after laser hair removal:
If sensitivity and irritation persist, apply a cool compress, such as a clean washcloth soaked in cold water. Alternatively, try wrapping a cold pack in a towel to reduce discomfort and swelling. Use an antibiotic ointment if there is crusting. Also take into account that darker skin is likely to experience more discomfort than lighter skin.
Wash the affected area carefully with a light soap. During the first 48 hours, the skin should only be patted dry.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, to reduce discomfort. Alternatively, if recommended by your dermatologist, apply prescription steroid creams to alleviate the pain.
Wait a few days before shaving. Your skin is irritated right after the treatment and you should give it a few days to calm down.
Keep the treated area clean and dry; if redness or irritation persist, refrain from applying makeup, fragranced moisturizers, and deodorants until the inflammation subsides.
Keep targeted areas out of direct sunlight for a few days or as specified by your dermatologist or physician. More importantly, avoid tanning, as it increases the risk of sunburn and pigmentation.
- Exfoliate to accelerate hair loss
Hair shedding may occur 5 to 30 days after the procedure and may resemble new hair growth. However, this process should not be mistaken for new hair growth. It is your dead hairs coming out of the follicle. You can assist this procedure by gently washing your skin with a washcloth or an exfoliating cloth, and shaving.
- Don’t use certain skin care products
Take another look at your skin care products; for a few days after each laser hair removal session, refrain from using perfumed soaps, scrubs, lotions, and deodorants, as these may irritate your skin.
- Do not scratch, wax or tweeze the area
Avoid scratching the skin after laser hair removal. With the exception of shaving, do not use hair removal products during the course of your treatment, as doing so will prevent you from achieving the best results.
Consult a physician if you experience persistent pain that does not respond to treatment, or if you notice increased inflammation, burns, blisters, or symptoms of pigmentation change, scarring, or infection.