What should I expect before and after a laser treatment?
Patients should not wax, epilate, or remove hair with the root using any other hair removal method for at least 4 weeks prior to their first session and throughout their course of treatments. The hair needs to be in place in order to be targeted by laser as laser devices targets the pigment in the hair.
The area to be treated should be shaved 24 hours (maximum 48 hours) prior to treatments so that the energy is targeted towards the hair follicle and not wasted on the hair above the skin’s surface. Treating unshaved skin can result in burning of the skin by singed hairs.
Treatments are relatively quick. Both underarms take about 5 minutes. Full legs can take 1-1.5 hours. After the treatment, applying ice packs and cooled pure aloe vera gel help soothe the skin.
All hair should shed within 3 weeks* following the treatment. Sometimes, shedding doesn’t start until about 10 days after the session. During the shedding phase, hair may look like it’s growing, but it is actually coming out to shed. Exfoliating and/or scrubbing gently in the shower with a loofa can help speed up the shedding process.
After 3 weeks, some patients may see small black dots remain in the hair follicles on some areas. These are commonly referred to as “pepperspots”, which eventually shed on their own. Exfoliating may help speed up the process. Regardless, they will be singed off in the following session.
Once the hair sheds, patients should experience a hair-free period for several weeks. Once new hair grows in, patients should come in for their next session. For most people and on most body areas, this happens about 8-12 weeks after the previous treatment. Patients should continue treatments until remaining hairs are too fine for laser to target, or until they’ve reached their desired reduction.
*Shedding of all treated hair should be expected within 3 weeks of each treatment. The hair which doesn’t shed and is growing as usual after 3 weeks has been either missed, requires further treatments, or rarely, was not affected due to inappropriate settings. In some cases, a touchup treatment may be necessary. All 6-8 treatments should be good effective treatments at aggressive, but safe, settings in order to achieve permanent hair reduction results.