Shaving and waxing are time consuming and can be quite painful. Knicks and cuts from a razor are common and mean you need to cover your smooth skin in bandages. Waxing requires you to slather your skin in a sticky substance and tear the hairs from your skin. Though these pains are only temporary, it can seem like you just did all this only to subject yourself to it again shortly thereafter! If you’re looking to permanently reduce unwanted body hair, it might be time to consider whether or not laser hair removal is right for you. Here are a few facts about laser hair removal that might help make this decision a little easier.
Laser Hair Removal Is Not a One-Time Thing
Laser hair removal is not a one-time treatment. Depending on how much hair you want removed, a single treatment could take anywhere between twenty minutes to an hour. Since hair growth cycles vary, it takes several treatments, often four to six, to effectively reduce the amount of hair in a given area. These treatments are usually spaced several weeks apart. You will need to make sure that you can keep the basic schedule provided to you, if you want your hair reduction to be effective.
Different Skin Colors React Differently to Treatment
The laser targets pigments, so if your skin is a darker tone, it could potentially target your skin pigment rather than the hair follicles. This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and results in darkened areas of skin. The good news is that this will fade over time and certain topical treatments can help facilitate this process. Also, if your hair is blonde, white or even red, the laser could miss it due to the lack of color, which means that laser hair removal might not be as effective.
You Can’t Shave In-Between Sessions
In order for the laser to effectively reach the unwanted hairs, you will need to shave before your treatment, since the laser zaps hair actively in its growing state. Afterward, however, even if the hair still remains, you shouldn’t shave or wax for six weeks. The hair needs to fall out on its own. Shaving or waxing before six weeks could cause irritation as well as reduce the laser’s effectiveness (you don’t want to get rid of the hair before the laser has time to work on the follicle).
You Have to Avoid the Sun
Tanning adds pigment to your skin and, as discussed earlier, the laser targets pigment. Therefore, it is recommended that you avoid spending too much time in the sun for about six weeks prior to treatment. You should also limit your exposure to sunlight six weeks after to avoid a serious burn. So curl up inside with some good books and movies and embrace your paler complexion for a while. You need to stay away from tanning beds, as well, and even tanning lotions—anything that will darken your skin tone.
Take Daily Meds? Consult Your Doctor First
If you have certain medical conditions that require you to take daily medication or are certain antibiotics, you will need to consult your physician before you have any laser treatments. Certain medications can make your skin hypersensitive to light, meaning you face the possibility of burns.
It Does Hurt…But Only Slightly
How well do you handle pain? While laser hair removal isn’t excruciating, it may feel like rubber bands snapping on your skin. As these treatments can last up to an hour, so you need to be prepared to cope with the discomfort for that length of time.
Prices Will Vary
Finally, you should consider if you can afford laser hair reduction. Total price varies depending on several factors, including the location of the hair removal, the amount of hair present and the number of treatments needed. While laser hair reduction is more expensive than shaving or waxing, the results are much longer lasting, so you must decide if the cost is worth it.
Laser hair reduction is a much more effective way to get rid of unwanted hair than either shaving or waxing. If you think it’s right for you, give us a call and schedule your consultation with Dr. Vargas today.