Laser Hair Removal: What to Expect

What to expect during laser hair removal appointment

Laser hair removal is a great option for going hair-free on parts of the body you’re tired of shaving, waxing and tweezing. Not only is it ideal during warmer months when you’re living in shorts and a bathing suit, but many also opt for this procedure year-round to eliminate shaving for good. If you think laser hair removal is right for you, here’s what you can expect during your appointment.

Before the Procedure

To achieve the results you want, do your research and choose a doctor that’s board certified in dermatology or cosmetic surgery with experience in laser hair removal. Although some spas and salons may offer the procedure, they often allow nonmedical employees to administer the treatment – be careful! It’s a good idea to schedule a consultation with a doctor to ensure you’re receiving the best care. Your specialist will most likely inquire about your medical history including medication use, discuss the risks, benefits and expectations of laser hair removal, and may take photos to be used as “before and after” assessments.

As the date of your laser hair removal appointment grows closer, avoid plucking and waxing, as this can disturb the hair follicle and interfere with the procedure. You are allowed to shave, however, because that preserves the hair shaft and follicle. Shaving is commonly recommended to do before your appointment so the laser doesn’t target hair above the skin and potentially cause burns. It’s also a good idea to stay out of the sun, as the sun increases the risk of side effects like skin lightening.

During the Procedure

During the laser hair removal process, the doctor will press and move a handheld laser instrument to your skin; depending on the type of laser device, a cooling gel may also be used to protect your skin during the procedure. Once the laser is activated, a beam passes through your skin to the hair follicles where growth begins. The heat converting from the laser essentially “kills,” or damages the hair follicles at their roots, which prevents future growth in that area. The only discomfort you should feel during the process will be a prickly sensation as the laser goes over your skin, or a chill if a cooling gel is used. Keep in mind that if someone with minimal experience is treating you, other side effects could occur such as irritation or burning. Laser hair removal appointments can take as little as fifteen minutes or a couple of hours depending on which parts of the body you want treated.

After the Procedure

Once the procedure is done, you may notice redness or swelling in the areas treated for a few hours. We recommend applying ice to the sensitive areas to reduce any discomfort. If your skin were to have reaction immediately after laser hair removal, a steroid cream may be applied to the affected area. Be sure to avoid natural sun exposure and tanning beds until your skin has completely healed, and always wear sunscreen when being exposed to the sun afterward.

Be aware that results will vary from person to person, as well as from one area of the body being treated to another. By continuing with follow-up treatment appointments, you can prevent unwanted hair regrowth for extended periods of time.

If you’re considering laser hair removal, our board certified dermatologist is ready to consult with you about a treatment plan. Coastal Dermatology & Surgery Center has been providing laser hair removal treatments for more than fifteen years and we’re ready to help solve your facial or body hair problem for good. Contact us to learn more about laser hair removal or schedule a consultation with us.