We already covered that laser hair removal is the best hair removal method. It is faster and more efficient than shaving. And it is more convenient and less painful than waxing. However, because it is an aesthetic procedure, post-session care is crucial to the success and safety of the treatment. Although straightforward, laser hair removal aftercare must be done with diligence.
When you book your first laser hair removal session, you will learn of pre-care recommendations as well as how to prepare for your treatment. You must avoid sun exposure, stop tanning, avoid other hair removal methods for a time, etc. Those instructions are easy to follow, and so are laser hair removal aftercare recommendations.
Avoid the sun and tanning
Laser hair removal aftercare has one thing in common with pre-session care: avoiding sun exposure. The skin is more sensitive after a laser treatment and therefore more vulnerable to sun damage. Although it is possible to undergo the procedure in summer, patients will have to avoid the sun as much as possible.
Being more vulnerable to sun damage, the skin could get damaged beyond repair. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, make sure to cover the areas you treated whenever possible. Apply a physical sunblock with a strong SPF to give your skin a good protection against UV rays. Laser technicians recommend avoiding the sun for two weeks after the laser session.
The same goes for artificial tanning, sunbathing and tan beds. Even though it is not really sun exposure, your skin will still be exposed to UV rays. At the end of the day, the risks of burning and scarring are still there. Whether natural or superficial, UV rays can quickly become dangerous to the skin. Not taking this laser hair removal aftercare recommendation seriously can lead to hyperpigmentation.
Leave your hair alone
Laser hair removal can reduce hair growth by up to 95%. Each session will remove up to 20% of body hair on the treated area. However, do not expect the area to be hairless straightaway. Since patients must shave prior to their session, there is still a hair within the hair shaft. Shedding does not happen overnight. It will take a few weeks before the treated hair finally sheds.
Because of the hair growth cycle, only 20% of hair can be treated during each session. It is the combined results of successive sessions that will help you achieve hairless skin. Thus, you will still experience hair growth during your treatment. Not every hair was treated during your previous session. Seeing hair showing up might tempt you to give into waxing or any other hair removal method.
Although shaving is safe, you should at least wait a few days. Otherwise, you will not really be able to see a hair growth difference. Do not wax, tweeze or pluck. Those methods result in removing the root of the hair, leaving nothing to target during your next laser session. Especially as it can take up to 6 weeks for the hair to grow back. Waxing also damages the skin and makes it more vulnerable, thus more prone to adverse reactions. In this instance, laser hair removal aftercare is just about leaving your skin alone.
Avoid heat inducing activities
A very important part of laser hair removal aftercare is to avoid any heat inducing activity. The heat produced by the laser stays in the skin for up to 24 hours. The skin is left sensitive after a laser treatment. Due to skin sensitivity, avoid excess heat for 24-48 hours such as hot showers, saunas, hot tubs, or heat packs.
Hot water can burn and cause blistering of the skin. Any superficial heating can cause redness and irritation of your skin. It is important to keep your skin cool. Your hair follicles will be extremely sensitive after a treatment. Thus, it is important to avoid any activities that can cause you to sweat or heat up your skin.
Sweat contains bacteria which will aggravate sensitive hair follicles resulting in rash or skin infection. Furthermore, workout gear is often very tight. Excess rubbing can open the treated area and increase the chance of scarring. A gentle walk is fine but any other activities should wait 24 to 48 hours. You can still take showers but make sure the water is cold or tepid.
Let your skin recover
Next tip in our laser hair removal aftercare recommendations is to leave your skin alone. It will be more sensitive and vulnerable to external aggressors. No need to add onto that. Do not scratch or touch the skin on the treat area too much. Avoid moisturizers and lotions for at least 48 hours.
You should also avoid perfumed products and bleaching creams. Should you have had a treatment done on your face, do not use makeup for a few days. Using beauty products can irritate the skin. As a result, you will be better off not using topical products such as makeup, body washes, and deodorant. You can begin using these products again after 24 hours of getting laser hair removal treatment.
You can apply an ice pack to reduce pain, discomfort or irritation. Do apply aloe vera gel or calming creams for 3 days after the treatment. Be gentle, do not rub too hard. Make sure to keep the treated area very clean. Wash the skin with soap for sensitive skin and tepid water. Protect your skin with SPF 50. Wear loose clothing to avoid unnecessary friction.
Exfoliate your skin
Last but not least of our laser hair removal aftercare recommendations is to exfoliate your skin. It will take a few weeks before you can actually see the results of your laser hair removal session. During the week following a treatment, you will still see hair grow. However, 20% of that hair is dead hair that detached from the follicle. The latter was destroyed during the treatment. The hair just needed time to start shedding.
While you can shave after a laser session, we advise that you do not so that you let your skin fully recover but also get to see the results of your treatment. While you cannot accelerate hair growth reduction, it can speed up shedding. The best way to do so is by exfoliating the skin. Exfoliation is also great to protect the skin and prepare it for your next session.
When exfoliating your skin, use a washcloth and mild scrub wash. Once assembling the washcloth and scrub wash, you will then just wipe over the treated area in circular motions. By doing this several times per week, you will accelerate the shedding and prepare yourself for your next treatment. You will also remove dead skin cells.