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How to Prepare Your Skin for Laser Hair Removal

How to Prepare Your Skin for Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is one of the most popular non-surgical aesthetic treatments in the United States. More than one million women and men had facial or body hair removed via laser in 2019. Even the pandemic didn’t deter more than 750,000 people in 2020 who wanted silky, hair-free skin with lasers. 

If you want back the 72 days that the average woman spends shaving her legs during a lifetime, our aesthetics team at Daphne Panagotacos, M.D., Skin Care Center is ready to help. At our Westlake Village, California, clinic, we use the state-of-the-art Palomar Icon™ laser by Cynosure® to more permanently remove hair from your:

Here’s what you need to do to get the most of your laser hair removal treatments. 

Stock up on sunscreen

Both before your treatment and after, protect your skin from the sun with plenty of sunscreen. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Broad-spectrum means that it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.

You need to be sunburn-free and suntan-free before your session (and always!) to avoid skin damage. Afterwards, of course, your skin will be even more sensitive than usual, so you should avoid the sun as well as use sunscreen.

Stop plucking, tweezing, and waxing

Any treatment that removes the hair by the roots — such as plucking, tweezing, waxing, or electrolysis — should be avoided in the 4-6 weeks before your first Icon treatment. During hair removal, the laser targets the pigment in your hair to disrupt the shaft and alter the function of the follicle (i.e., pore) where it grows. 

If you remove your hair by the root before your treatment, the laser won’t “see” it, so get the most out of your treatment by letting your hair grow for a while. In other words, you need to be a little bit hairy before you can go hair-free.

But shave before your Icon session

Although you shouldn’t disturb the hair follicle and the shaft of the hair that resides there, you should trim back surface hair the day before your treatment. Use a razor, which only shaves off the hair above the skin. Again, it’s important to leave the root of the hair undisturbed, so don’t pluck or wax.

You don’t want hair on the surface of your skin because the laser’s energy will burn it. You want to save that energy for the root of the hair and the follicle. The goal of a laser treatment is to destroy or disrupt the follicle where hairs grow. 

Don’t wait until the morning of your treatment to shave, though. Shaving may make your skin a little too tender for a laser treatment.

Avoid blood thinners

The chance of bleeding during laser hair removal is very low. Nevertheless, as a precaution, we ask that you avoid blood-thinning medications, herbs, and supplements for a couple of weeks before your treatment. Common blood thinners include aspirin, ginseng, and garlic. We give you a complete list when you come in for your consultation.

Get ready to wait

Because the Icon treats the portion of your hair that’s underneath the surface of your skin, you won’t see a big difference directly after your treatment. After all, you already shaved down to the skin!

But over the next several weeks, you notice that your hairs shed instead of grow. You need a series of 3-6 treatments over the next few months in order to catch each hair at its perfect growth-cycle phase. You need to wait about a month between each session to allow your skin to recover and for more hairs to reach their perfect growth phase for removal.

Your first step to prepare your skin for laser hair removal is to book your session. Contact our team by calling our office, sending an email, or requesting an appointment online today.

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