Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure that involves a laser and showering the skin in light energy. The treatment although safe can have side effects and risks, like any other treatment. Waxing also does have side effects. And so does shaving. The thing with laser hair removal is that most of those risks and side effects can be avoided if patients follow their certified technician’s advice. Thus, here are seven things you must avoid after laser hair removal to keep those risks at a minimum.
Expose yourself to direct sunlight
Avoiding sunlight and UV rays is no secret to anybody. Whether before or after your laser hair removal session, staying out of the sun is one of top things to avoid doing after laser hair removal. The treatment will leave your skin very sensitive and therefore more vulnerable to external aggressors.
Unprotected skin may be susceptible to sunburns and other sun damage. Skin just after laser hair removal will be even more so. While some sun damage may fade with time, others will be more permanent and can have very bad consequences. That is why you need to cover your skin in the area you are treated with laser.
We get that you may not be able to cover some areas. The face for example. You should still try to avoid UV rays at a maximum. It would not be wise to undergo upper lip laser hair removal a day before going skiing. Make sure you also apply a physical sunblock with strong SPF to protect the skin that is not covered. Avoid sunbathing for at least two weeks after your session.
Use tanning beds
Using tanning beds is another thing you should avoid doing after laser hair removal. It basically comes as a nice segue to our point above. Tanning beds produce an artificial tan by imitating the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. A typical tanning bed emits 95% UVA and only 5% UVB, although some new models produce only UVA.
However, going for a tanning session after your laser hair removal session will expose your already sensitive skin to UV rays. Thus, you risk damaging your skin. Worst case scenarios would lead to burns, scars or even skin diseases such as cancer. To sum up, tanning beds make you take unnecessary risks.
You should avoid tanning beds at least six weeks before your session and do not return for another seven weeks after your session. Since laser hair removal sessions are six weeks apart, during your laser treatment, it is just wiser to not sun tan artificially at all.
Take a hot shower or work out
Once you are done with your laser hair removal session, it is best to avoid hot showers, sauna, working out or any sweat inducing activity. First of all, the skin is vulnerable after laser hair removal and more susceptible to external aggressors.
Hot water can burn and blister the skin so better go for a cool shower. Avoid hot showers for 48 hours after your session. You will need to avoid sauna and hot tubs as well. It is also important to avoid using heating pads as well as this can cause redness and irritation of your skin.
You should not workout after your session and wait at least 24 hours. Indeed, the heat produced by the energy can stay under the skin up to 24 hours. Not only are gym outfits usually very close to the body and the friction may cause irritation. Plus, heat makes for an ideal environment for bacteria to develop. Thus, you risk getting a skin infection.
Touch or scratch the skin
We mentioned above that laser hair removal can leave your skin very vulnerable. You may experience redness and irritation. While it may be tempting to scratch the skin, you should refrain from doing so. Excessive scratching or picking at the skin will only worsen the redness and swelling.
Too much scratching may also lead to bleeding and scarring. Bleeding and an open wound that you keep on touching can lead to infection as well. Therefore, you must avoid touching the skin. If the sensation really is barely bearable, an effective option is to utilize some type of soothing moisturizer.
Moisturizing the skin will speed up your skin’s recovery time and will help combat dryness. Applying aloe vera after your session will help too. Make sure the cream or gel you use has a neutral pH and is hypoallergenic.
Wax, pluck or sugar
It may be tempting to do some touch up at home yourself between laser hair removal sessions. If you were thinking about it, stop right there. First of all, waxing or sugaring are very aggressive to the skin and would damage your sensitive skin after a session. Second of all, they would just make laser hair removal ineffective and be a waste of your money.
As opposed to shaving that just cuts the hair but still leaves it there, waxing removes the hair along with the root. Thus, there is nothing left for the laser to target. Laser hair removal only works if there is a hair leading to the follicle.
Furthermore, hair that is removed with wax may take up to six weeks to fully grow back. Since each laser session is every six weeks, it is likely that not all hair removed will have grown back and be in the right stage of growth. Thus, your laser hair removal session will be able to target less hair and won’t be as efficient.
Avoid topical beauty products
This is one thing to avoid after laser hair removal. However, unless you undergo laser hair removal on an area such as the legs or the bikini, this probably would not apply. Indeed, you are more likely to apply beauty products on your face. Thus, you must avoid applying makeup and other fragranced products to your face.
It is better to wait at least 24 hours up to 72 hours before you put on makeup. The skin will be very sensitive after your session and must be given time to complete its healing process. Beauty products may irritate the skin or clog pores, which can lead to infections. Thus, it is better to not use topical products. Avoid makeup, body washes, deodorant and fragrance.
Ignore your technician’s advice
Last but not least of all the things you should avoid doing after laser hair removal is ignoring your technician's advice. They will tell you of all of the above before you leave the spa. Their advice will make the procedure safer and more efficient. Following aftercare recommendations is the best way to ensure you get great results but also that you do not experience negative side effects.
Indeed, while laser hair removal has very few risks, it still has some. However, those risks and side effects can be easily avoided since they are very often the results of lack of care. If you follow the technician’s advice, there is no reason you should suffer bad consequences from a laser session.
To ensure a successful laser session, shave at least three hours before. Apply sunscreen on your skin if you stay in the sun. Wash off your skin any creams, lotion or moisturizer. If possible, wear ample clothes. If you are on medication, inform your technician as some can increase photosensitivity.
Aftercare recommendations include staging out of the sun and avoiding sun beds. Avoid hot showers, the gym, saunas and hot tubs. Do not remove hair on your own and avoid chemical creams, waxing or sugaring. They will damage your skin and interfere with the treatment. Do not use makeup and other beauty products for at least a day.
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