A Guide To Laser Hair Removal
Unwanted body hair never gets the hint: even after years of shaving, plucking and waxing, it always grows back with a vengeance. Until recently, the only options for body hair management were to schedule in regular maintenance or move to Antarctica where you would be grateful for your warming fuzz.
Thankfully, there is now a less dramatic way to deal with this pesky problem: laser hair removal. This non-invasive procedure can be more effective than other hair removal methods and is designed to reduce or eliminate hair growth over time. Read our guide to help you determine if you’re a suitable candidate for laser hair removal, and fill you in on what to expect.
Before: Skin prep and the initial consultation
The first step is to determine whether laser hair removal is going to be right for your hair and skin type. Generally, the laser is most effective on fair skin that has dark, coarse hair, however certain machines can be adjusted to treat a wider variety of skin types. Speak to a professional if you’re unsure and ask them to perform a spot test on your skin to confirm if you are a suitable candidate.
There are a few steps to take to ensure your skin is primed and prepped for laser hair removal. It’s important not to use self-tanner for up to two weeks prior to the treatment as it can interfere with the effectiveness of the laser. Given the laser targets the hair follicle, waxing, plucking and shaving should be avoided for four weeks prior to the procedure.
During: What the treatment involves
The laser equipment is adjusted to suit the colour and thickness of the hair being treated as well as the area of the body it is located on. The unwanted hair is then usually trimmed to just a few millimetres above the skin’s surface. The procedure itself can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour depending on the size of the area being treated. Though not a painful procedure, you may experience some mild discomfort as the laser zaps the hair follicle.
After: Post-treatment care and how to achieve best results
It’s normal for small spots to appear around the hair follicle directly after the treatment and they can be soothed with ice packs, anti-inflammatory creams or lotions, and cold water. Doctors also recommend avoiding sun exposure for six weeks before and after the treatment to prevent any changes in pigmentation.
Generally, most people will require three to seven sessions of laser hair removal to achieve the best results. Sessions should be four to six weeks apart, and any waxing or plucking in between should be avoided (although shaving during this time is fine).
Once the course of treatments is completed, you’ll need maintenance sessions every six months or so to keep that silky smooth feel.
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