So, you finally decided to take the first step toward permanent hair removal and scheduled that laser hair removal treatment! That was a great choice. Yet, after the first treatment, you still notice hair growth in the treatment area, leaving you to wonder if it really worked. You might even be worried that you are not a candidate for treatment after all and that no number of treatments will produce the results you were hoping to achieve.
Do not be discouraged. While you might notice a slight reduction in hair growth after your first appointment, hair growth will not stop yet. During each appointment, certain follicles – depending on the stage of growth they are in – are damaged by laser light and unable to support new hair growth, while other follicles are left untreated. Over the course of up to five treatments, all hair follicles in the treatment area will be targeted and hair regrowth will stop. Until then, stay the course. We will deliver on our promise so you can give up waxing, plucking, shaving, and tweezing for good.
The laser used to permanently reduce body hair growth targets hairs that are in the anagen or growth stage. Each hair on your body is in one of several stages, which means only a percentage of hairs will be susceptible to laser hair removal treatment on a given day.
For this reason, you can expect about 20% or 1 in 5 follicles to stop producing hair after each treatment. That means you will see a noticeable reduction in growth after each treatment but should expect to need up to five treatments to see the majority of hair growth to stop.
Your dermatologist or technician will provide you with instructions following each session. Following these skincare instructions will be important to prevent unwanted side effects or complications.
Avoid exposing the treated area to the sun for a couple of weeks after each treatment. If you know you will be in the sun for more than a couple of minutes, wear sunscreen to prevent exposure. Many patients choose to complete their laser hair removal treatments during the winter months because it makes avoiding sun exposure just a little easier!
You may be provided with prescription or over-the-counter creams or lotions to use; follow the instructions exactly as written.
If you experience any discomfort, which is uncommon, apply cool pressure to the treatment area. You can use an ice pack wrapped in a towel or a cold washcloth for up to twenty minutes as often as desired. Do not apply heat to the area.
Avoid using scented perfumes, scrubs, lotions, and deodorant when your skin is pink or swollen. Allow your skin to heal fully before using any products aside from those recommended by your provider or laser hair removal technician.
Avoid tanning beds in the two weeks following each treatment. If you elect to tan, keep the treatment area covered to avoid exposure. Sunless tanner is okay to use as long as it has been at least 48 hours since your last treatment, your skin is healed, and you do not have another treatment in the next two weeks.
Although you may choose to continue shaving or waxing until you have completed all sessions, is it very important not to shave when the area is still red and swollen. When the skin has fully healed, you can resume shaving.
Contrary to popular belief, advanced laser hair removal treatment is safe for any skin tone and skin type, regardless of melanin. While some lasers are only appropriate for patients with light skin and dark hair, the advanced lasers at Dermacare can safely treat patients with darker skin, too.
Laser hair removal is most effective when performed by a professional who has been trained in safe laser hair removal methods and who practices according to the recommendations of the American Academy of Dermatology. Seek out professionals who are practicing in a licensed medical spa or dermatology clinic to avoid unwanted side effects.
The most common side effect is skin irritation including mild redness, soreness, and swelling that lasts up to 48 hours after your session. Risks, although rare, include:
Risk of side effects is highest among patients who disregard the pre- and post-treatment instructions. Following all of the instructions provided can help reduce the likelihood of complications. If you tan or use a sunless tanner prior to your treatment, for example, the laser can target pigment in the skin, causing burning and blistering.
As we shared above, about 20% of the follicles in the treatment area are targeted in a single treatment. You can expect to shed the hairs from the impacted follicles in the days and weeks after treatment. Some people do not notice when they shed the hair shafts, while others notice a little black ‘speck’ or may even notice what looks like hair growth before they lose the hair altogether.
A few weeks after treatment, you will have a good idea of the results of your sessions.
Yes, you can shave or wax in between laser hair removal sessions. However, you should avoid doing either in the 48 hours after each session, especially if you are still experiencing skin irritation. Shaving or waxing when your skin is tender can cause soreness and additional problems.
Because laser hair removal works by targeting hairs in the anagen growth phase, usually five sessions are required to achieve permanent hair removal. You will watch for certain signs to determine when to schedule. Your provider or clinician will help you schedule sessions approximately every four to six weeks apart to ensure the timing aligns with your hair’s growth cycle and that all hairs are eventually targeted.
There are two great advantages to the structured timing of laser hair removal sessions:
If you are ready to say goodbye to unwanted hair forever, the team at Dermacare of Hampton Roads can help. Whether you are looking for treatment for your bikini area, upper lip, underarms, legs — or somewhere else! — we can deliver the hair-free skin you want in just a few painless treatments. All patients, regardless of skin and hair color, can achieve their treatment goals at Dermacare.