Laser hair removal treatments are often the best way to get rid of unwanted body hair -- for good. But it's what you do before and after your treatment that can make you get the most out of your sessions. This way you can get the smoother, silkier skin you want even faster. These top three tips can help.
1. Prep Your Skin Ahead of Time
To get the most out of your laser hair removal sessions, you need to do some planning. If you're just getting started, it's important to stop waxing or plucking your hair for at least two to four weeks beforehand. The laser works by targeting dark hair pigments in follicles below the surface of your skin. If those follicles are gone because you removed the hair from the root, the laser won't be able to find them.
This doesn't mean you have to go all-natural for several weeks -- you can still shave. Continue shaving your planned treatment area as needed up to about 24 hours before your laser hair removal appointment. Before your treatment, wash your skin to remove oil, lotion, deodorant, or any other type of debris. You should also gently exfoliate your treatment area to remove dead skin cells that might make it harder for the laser to find your hair.
2. Numb the Treatment Area
If you're worried about pain or are having laser hair removal treatments on sensitive areas, like your upper lip, numbing the area beforehand may benefit you. By numbing your skin, you're less likely to move or jump nervously with each laser pulse. This can help ensure that your technician precisely targets each spot evenly. Many laser hair removal clients either apply an ice pack to the treatment area, or rub on some over-the-counter numbing cream before heading in for their appointment. These solutions can minimize any pain or discomfort you may feel during your laser hair removal treatment.
3. Spend Time on Post-Treatment Skin Care
Just as you spent plenty of time prepping your skin for laser hair removal, don't forget about post-treatment skin care. Because laser hair removal destroys targeted hair follicles on the spot, you don't have to worry about plucking or waxing the treated hair. Doing so can actually disrupt the natural shedding process after the hair follicle is destroyed by the laser. Instead, use a washcloth or gentle exfoliating cleanser to exfoliate your treatment area one to two times daily. Not only does this remove dead skin cells that can clog pores, this also helps the destroyed hair wiggle out, so it doesn't cause painful, irritating bumps. If your skin does seem inflamed or irritated, your practitioner might suggest applying a topical steroid cream to minimize inflammation and decrease your risk of embarrassing skin bumps.