Laser Hair Removal & Retinol: Is It Safe To Do Both?

Laser Hair Removal & Retinol: Is It Safe To Do Both?

With their abilities to provide you with lusciously smooth skin, laser hair removal and retinol might sound like a dream combination for your beauty routine. One primes your skin by removing unwanted hairs, and the other creates a gorgeous glow while combating signs of aging. But is it safe to do both treatments at the same time? 

If you’ve already tried out the skincare superhero that is retinol, you likely know that it comes with a pretty strict set of rules. It shouldn’t be mixed with certain acids and vitamins, it must be used with SPF, and it’s best to use at night. Discover where (or if) laser hair removal fits into your retinol routine below!  

What Is Retinol?

This skincare ingredient is more than just a recent beauty buzzword. It’s been dubbed a miracle by countless beauty lovers. Retinol is said to do it all, from reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to preventing acne. It’s no wonder that millions of beauty lovers have been using it as their secret ingredient for glowing, youthful skin. 

So, what exactly is retinol? 

It’s a form of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin essential for maintaining healthy skin. Retinol is also a potent antioxidant that works by protecting the skin from free radicals and UV damage, boosting collagen and cell turnover to promote a youthful appearance, improving the skin’s tone and texture, and unclogging pores. Simply put, it’s a powerhouse ingredient for stunning skin! 

What You Need To Know When Using Retinol

With great power comes great responsibility. 

If you take a walk through your favorite beauty department you’ll notice plenty of options for retinol creams, serums, and gels, but since it’s not your average ingredient it should be treated with special measures. 

Retinol is only meant to be used in small doses because it’s so powerful. Using too much retinol can actually make your skin more prone to sensitivities such as dryness, redness, or irritation before you achieve the beautiful glow you signed up for. This is why retinol comes with its own usage rulebook, which can affect your laser hair removal schedule.

Here are the essential retinol rules you need to keep in mind:

  • Start with a low dose of retinol to get your skin used to it. You’ll notice that most retinol products only contain concentrations of 0.5% or 1%. If you’re a retinol newbie, definitely start off with the lowest concentration possible. 
  • Be super diligent with your SPF usage. Retinol can increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV light, which is why many skincare experts recommend applying retinol at night, as it gives the skin time to recover and repair itself while you sleep. 
  • Avoid using other exfoliating or peeling products while using retinol. The retinol alone is powerful enough, and over-exfoliating will put you at a higher risk for irritation.
  • Stop using retinol if you notice excessive redness or irritation. Always consult with a dermatologist if you have any worries or concerns. 

Can You Use Retinol While Getting Laser Hair Removal?

Now, let’s get to the big question. Is it safe to use retinol and get laser hair removal treatments, so that you can get your smoothest skin ever?

We’re happy to say that you don’t have to completely stop using retinol, but you should proceed with caution. 

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that retinol can make the skin more sensitive to light, a key component of laser hair removal. This is because retinol increases cell turnover, which can make the skin thinner and more delicate. Essentially, if you simultaneously use retinol and have laser hair removal treatments, your skin will be at a higher risk for burning or experiencing another side effect of laser hair removal. 

Another important aspect to remember is that retinol can make the skin more prone to irritation, redness, and flaking, which can be further amplified by the heat and light from laser hair removal. 

How To Safely Use Retinol While Getting Laser Hair Removal

As we mentioned, you don’t have to completely give up retinol while getting laser hair removal if you don’t want to. You’ll just have to adjust your skincare routine around your laser hair removal sessions.

We recommend taking a break from retinol at least 3 days before your laser hair removal session so that your skin has enough time to recover. If you know that your skin tends to be more sensitive and you want to be extra cautious, begin your retinol pause a week before your scheduled laser session.

That said, the area(s) of your body that receive your laser treatments may also affect the amount of precautions you need to take.

Laser hair removal and retinol should not be used on the same area of the skin at the same time, which means that you might have nothing to worry about. 

For example, if you only use retinol on your face and only get laser hair removal on your body, you should be fine to continue your facial skincare routine as it was since the lasers won’t be touching the retinol-treated area. It’s still important to continue your other retinol-related precautions as you go through with your laser hair removal sessions (ie. SPF and low dosage). However, if you’re getting laser hair removal on your face, you should absolutely begin to alternate between the two treatments with ample time in between each one. 

To minimize the risk of complications, it’s recommended to use retinol products that are specifically formulated for the face, as these are typically less potent than body-specific products. 

Wrapping Up

Retinol fans can continue using their favorite skincare products, but they should also take any necessary precautions to avoid potential complications. 

By starting with a lower strength retinol product, using a sunscreen with a high SPF, and alternating between the two treatments, you can enjoy the benefits of both laser hair removal and retinol without compromising your skin's health. As always, it's best to consult with a dermatologist before starting any new skincare routine to ensure the treatment is suitable for you, especially if you’re prone to skin sensitivities. 

If you have any concerns about laser hair removal affecting your skincare routine, feel free to reach out to one of our helpful staff members. We’ll be more than happy to help you navigate any changes you might need to make! 

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