Do’s and Don’ts for Successful Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a revolutionary form of management for unwanted hair. At Jill and Bonnie’s Electrolysis and Laser we recommend you follow these simple do’s and don’ts to make sure your laser hair removal sessions go as optimally and effectively as possible. The closer you adhere to these points, the greater the chance for successful laser hair removal and the biggest bang for your buck.
Do Shave the day or two before.
We’d like to have a small amount of hair showing. Think of us being able to grab it with a tweezer.
Avoid sunless tanning products.
Please do not use any sunless tanning products 7 days prior and 7 days after your session.
Do use sunscreen regularly.
A tan is laser hair removals worst enemy.
Before and After laser: Stay out of the sun and make sure to apply an SPF 30 sunblock every 2 hours when you have to be exposed to it.
Do keep your scheduled appointments.
Your hair grows in cycles and the laser can only effectively treat hairs in the growth cycles. You have many different cycles of hair that grow which is why effective laser hair removal takes numerous sessions. We schedule your appointments to optimally treat those hair cycles and not miss any of them. If you miss an appointment, you may miss a hair cycle causing the need for more sessions.
Do tell us about medical conditions.
No matter how irrelevant the condition may be, make sure to always disclose any medical conditions you may have. There might be a contraindication that would put you at risk when getting laser hair removal sessions done. Safety first!
Do tell us about any medication you are taking.
The medication you are taking may or may not have an impact on our ability to treat you and the effectiveness of laser hair removal. Medication that affects hormones can cause the need for more laser hair removal sessions since hair is affected by a change in hormone levels. Also, there are some dangerous medications that can leave your skin sensitive to the laser and cause burns. Always disclose all medications you are taking.
Do tell us about any changes in medication.
You’re going to come in for multiple sessions spaced out at least 6 weeks apart. If you have a change in medication or start taking a new medication make sure to let us know!
Do tell us if you think you may be pregnant.
Though there is no correlation between laser hair removal and complications while you are pregnant, we always want to know if you are. We also require that you have a conversation with your doctor about laser hair removal while pregnant and get a letter of clearance.
Don’t get a tan.
Diode and IPL only…
If you’re tanned, we cannot treat! Make sure to stay out of the sun at least 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after your sessions!
WE NOW HAVE A LASER THAT CAN BE USED ON TANNED SKIN AND ANY COLOR SKIN
Stop some antibiotics.
Some antibiotics make your skin photosensitive, with Accutane being the worst. Most antibiotics clear your system within 3-10 days. With Accutane it will be 6 months before you can safely have laser hair removal sessions. Make sure to let us know if you are or have recently been on antibiotics!
Don’t take hot showers within 24 hours after your treatment.
This is something that is very obvious, but also commonly overlooked. We have just caused heat damage to your skin. Just as you wouldn’t go take a hot shower right after you get a burn, you should avoid hot showers after your laser hair removal session. Cold showers are completely ok!
Don’t work out day of.
We are dealing with heat being transferred into your skin. You should avoid working out before your treatment and coming in hot and sweaty, it can lead to complications. Also, you should avoid working out after your treatment the same day because it will raise the heat factor of the treated area.
Don’t wear tight clothing on treatment area.
Tight clothing, especially spandex legging, trap heat and can cause complications. Wear loose cotton clothing for and after your treatment
Don’t take iron supplements.
Some of our lasers go deep enough to affect the iron in your blood. Though its proven completely safe with normal iron levels, taking iron supplement can cause complications. Avoid iron supplements at least 3 days before and after treatment.
Don’t miss your appointments.
As stated earlier, missing your appointments means the likelihood of missing a hair cycle, causing the need for more sessions and more money out of your pocket.
Don’t have any products on your skin.
Make sure to avoid or remove any lotions, creams, and deodorants from the treatment area and avoid topical acne (non-antibiotic, if antibiotic please discuss with us.) Also stop any Retina A or Retinol, products for at least 3 days before and after treatment.
Don’t have an expectation of how many sessions you will actually need.
The industry standard for effective laser hair removal is between 6-8 sessions with the Diode and IPL and 3-5 sessions with the Motus. This is only an average, it doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed clearance after those sessions. Some people may need more sessions to get clearance. Some people may need less. Remember, changes in medication that cause hormone imbalances, missed scheduled appointments, some medical conditions, and even pregnancy can cause new hair growth.
What is Laser hair removal?
When we use a laser to eliminate hair follicles, we are directing intense light energy into the follicles. This energy is so intense it permanently destroys the hair follicles. It is important to note that not all hair follicles will be destroyed in one laser treatment session.
That is because hair follicles cycle through active and resting growth phases. Certain physical properties of hair follicles in the most active growth phase make them particularly susceptible to the damaging effects of the laser.
Clinical studies show that lasers are able to permanently eliminate about 20% of the hair follicles with each treatment session. This means that if you complete one treatment, you should see a permanent reduction in the hair follicles growing in the treated area.
Most people wish to significantly reduce, or completely eliminate, unwanted hair follicles. Therefore, most clients will need to complete several treatment sessions with the laser. For most fair to medium skinned individuals with dark hair follicles, it will take 4 to 6 treatments to achieve results that are significant: 90 to 100% permanent removal of hair follicles.
Medium to dark skinned individuals will most likely require more treatments. To understand why, remember that the laser light is absorbed by the dark matter in the hair and skin and converted into heat energy.
This heat will be felt by the client as something similar to a sting, somewhat like a rubber band snapping on the skin. Medium to dark skin will react more intensely with the laser and for comfort and safety's sake, will require a slower, more gentle approach.
Hair grows in three phases—Anagen, Catagen and Telogen. Laser hair removal lasers can damage the follicles of hairs growing only in the early stage of the Anagen phase. While you may see many (hundreds, thousands) of hairs growing in an area –whether it be the legs, face, underarm or back—only a percentage of those hairs are currently in the Anagen phase of growth.
As the laser is applied to the area for the treatment, all the hairs will be treated. However it is only those in the anagen phase that are susceptible to the permanent damage the laser can provide. Hairs growing in other phases may be burned or damaged to some degree, producing a finer or even more sluggish growth, but this type of result may or may not be permanent.
It is for this reason that a series of laser hair removal treatments should be utilized for those wishing to have a more thorough removal of hair in a treatment area. By spacing the treatments 6 or more weeks apart, several “batches” of hairs will ultimately be caught in the critical Anagen phase when the laser hair removal treatment is performed.
Since the anagen phase is relatively short compared to the other two phases of growth, those undergoing laser hair removal treatments will typically notice about a 15-20% permanent reduction in the hair with each treatment.
There are several other factors which can affect the outcome of the laser hair removal treatment, for instance wavelength, pulse duration and spot size of the laser being used, however the basics of laser hair removal are that the light is absorbed by the melanin in the hair, creating heat and damaging (permanently) the hairs that happen to be in the Anagen growth phase when treated.
As the series of laser hair removal treatments remove the unwanted hair, a natural additional, and desirable, side effect will be an elimination of ingrown hair, or pseudofolliculitis barbae. This is a very common skin condition which is often seen in the beard and the groin (or pubis) area.
Because the hair is coarse and often grows in a swirl or curly fashion, the hairs have a tendency to curl back into the skin before (or even after) the outermost edge of the hair shaft breaks through the surface of skin. This results in inflammation, redness or purplish discoloration, and thick pimply-looking growths on the skin. These ingrown hairs can even become infected, causing further discomfort, increased unsightliness in the area and long term discoloration—even scarring.
Laser hair removal permanently removes the hairs so that they cannot continue to become ingrown. Get rid of the hair, and you get rid of all the inflammation that goes with it. Most people who suffer from redness and inflammation due to ingrown hairs or pseudofolliculitis barbae notice that the symptoms may initially get slightly worse for a week or two after the initial treatment, but that their skin soon has a noticeably smoother healthier appearance, along with less hair.
Laser hair removal can get rid of another unwanted side effect of unwanted hair. Pimples and other blemishes that occur from constantly touching the fingers to the face in an effort to feel for or remove stubble brings bacteria and additional oils to the face—which can potentially increase the incidence of pimples and blemishes.
Avoid extended UV exposure for 7 days post-treatment.
If blisters occur, do not puncture. If skin is broken, apply an antibiotic ointment until healed.
Tylenol is recommended for post-treatment discomfort.
Over the counter medication is recommended for post treatment discomfort. You may also apply Restorative Gel (highest recommended), cool towels, ice packs or aloe vera to alleviate discomfort due to heat.
Avoid using seat warmers immediately after treatment.
Avoid any additional laser treatments or chemical procedures on the treated area for at least 2 weeks post-treatment or until healing has occurred.
Using a broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 30 or higher is critical when receiving laser treatments and is recommended ongoing for maintenance.
If you experience any side effects, such as hypo- or hyper-pigmentation, prolonged redness or swelling, a histamine reaction, or blistering, call or come in for instructions on treatment.
To achieve the best results, complete the full treatment schedule at the intervals recommended
by your technician.
Exfoliate treated areas to minimize risk of ingrown hairs.