Women and men alike long for the day that they no longer have to remove unwanted hair. After enduring shaving nicks and waxing pain, many people seek the solution of laser hair removal. This medical procedure uses an intense, pulsating light beam that targets the melanin in the hair follicles. This focused laser light destroys the hair root and slows future hair growth.
If you’ve decided to pursue laser hair removal, the first thing you should do is select a doctor who will perform the treatments in a medical environment. Use caution about laser hair removal performed at spas, salons, or other non-medical facilities without doctor supervision.
At your initial consultation with the doctor, you will provide your medical history and indicate any medications that you take. Risks, benefits, and expectations will be discussed so that you are comfortable with the procedure and its expected results. Your treatment plan and the related costs will also be outlined.
Some suggestions as you prepare for laser hair removal include:
• Avoid direct sun exposure because it increases risks of side effects like skin lightening. If you already have a tan (either naturally or from tanning products), wait until the tan fades before having laser hair removal.
• Discontinue plucking, waxing, and electrolysis hair removal methods. These methods remove the hair shaft, leaving nothing for the laser light to target and renders the laser hair removal procedure ineffective.
• Patients may continue shaving, because it preserves the hair follicle. Shaving before treatment is actually recommended, as hair above the surface of the skin can absorb energy from the laser and increase risk of burns.
Keep in mind that the results of laser hair removal vary. Patients with a light complexion and dark, coarse hair tend to have a better success rate with most lasers on the market. Multiple treatments are often necessary. For maximum effectiveness, treatments should be scheduled between three to eight weeks apart, depending on the treatment area and the length of the hair cycle.