With laser hair removal, what you do before and after your appointment can have a big impact on your results. There are medications and habits you’ll need to avoid altogether, and there are some things that’ll help you go through recovery quickly and easily. So here’s everything you need to know for before and after laser hair removal!
Before Laser Hair Removal
The period before laser hair removal is crucial. Certain habits may prevent you from being able to get it done in the first place. To make it easy, we’ve split our pre-laser into what you should do or avoid for the months, weeks, and days before your first treatment.
The Months Before
In the 3 to 6 months before your laser hair removal appointment, there are a few things that can cause complications or are contraindications to laser.
First, avoid all forms of tanning, including from the sun, at tanning salons, or using self-tanner. While laser hair removal can be done on all skin tones, having your skin at its base color will give you the best results. It’s also important to remember that tanning is a type of sun damage, so it might increase your risk of complications or sensitivity.
You’ll also want to stop all hair removal methods that pull the hair out from the root from the area you’ll be treating. That includes waxing, epilating, tweezing, and threading.
Finally, there are also certain medications that you can’t take in the months before laser hair removal, like isotretinoin (Accutane), and immunosuppressants. Keep all of these in mind before you book your appointment since they might force you to delay starting treatment.
The Weeks Before
As time comes closer to the date of your appointment, there are a few more things you’ll need to start avoiding. For two weeks prior to your appointment, you can’t take antibiotics, tretinoin (Retin-A), Aspirin, and any blood-thinning medications. You may also want to stop using other topical skincare and OTC creams that promote exfoliation on the areas that will be treated, especially in the week before your appointment. These include milder retinoids (including prescription Retin-A), glycolic acid, lactic acid, and benzoyl peroxide.
The Days Before
The day or two before your appointment, the most important thing you need to do is shave the area you’ll be getting lasered. Shaving cuts the hair down and allows the laser to reach the hair follicle easily. Do this at least 24-48 hours before your appointment.
Then, on the day of your appointment, make sure that your treatment area is clean. Try to avoid applying any creams, lotions, deodorants, or makeup. If your appointment is in the middle of the day, no worries! We can give you some wipes so you can clean up before the treatment.
During Laser Hair Removal
Actually getting your laser hair removal done is the easiest part. All you need to do is come in for your appointment with clean skin and loose, comfortable clothing.
Then, you get to sit back and relax while the nurse or laser technician does all of the hard work!
After Laser Hair Removal
Aftercare is just as important as pre-care, especially for ensuring the health of your skin. This is how you can be kind to your skin after laser hair removal, to avoid sensitivity and irritation.
The Days After
After your laser hair removal treatment, it’s normal for the skin to be a little red or raw. Thankfully, you can keep it soothed with gentle, fragrance-free lotions or aloe vera gel. In extreme cases, you use anti-inflammatory creams or medication, but it’s rarely necessary. For the first 24 hours after your treatment, avoid sweating, intense exercise, or deodorant use. Then, for 24-72 hours after your treatment, avoid jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms, or hot showers.For 10 days after your treatment, avoid direct sun exposure, shaving, exfoliating, or any harsh treatments that might irritate the area you just had lasered.
The Weeks After
For the next few weeks after your laser hair removal appointment… it’s time to get ready for your next appointment! Laser hair removal works best when you get it done every 4-6 weeks. If you do experience some bumps or ingrown hairs, you can do a gentle exfoliation 10 days after your laser hair removal treatment. Harsh peels and aggressive scrubs are off-limits and be careful not to overwhelm or irritate your skin when you exfoliate.
Usually, it takes a minimum of 6 appointments to achieve the desired level of hair reduction. For the span of at least 5 months, you’ll need to follow our pre-care advice closely. That means no tanning, no waxing, no tweezing, and no extreme skin-renewing medications.
Laser hair removal is amazing, but it’s also a complex treatment, and there’s a lot to keep in mind. The good news is that you don’t have to figure all of this out on your own! If you have any questions about what to do before and after laser hair removal, feel free to reach out to us and ask. We’ll also have you fill out a consent form prior to your appointment. It covers all of these finicky laser hair removal before and after details, to guarantee that you’re ready for your first appointment.