Do you need to shave prior to your laser hair removal session? It is a question that comes back quite often online, on forums and on social media. Although there are answers out there, people keep asking why you need to shave before laser hair removal. Because it will first, help you maximize the results of your treatment, and second, it will make the procedure safer for you.
We rapidly talked about the importance of shaving in a previous blog post on how to prepare for your laser hair removal appointment. However, we did not spend that much time explaining why. We are doing it now and giving detailed reasons as to why you need to shave before laser hair removal.
The importance of shaving before laser hair removal
The principle behind laser hair removal is something called selective photo thermolysis. The laser employs it with a pule duration is will match a particular target and goal. With laser hair removal, of course, the target is the hair follicle. In this context, the pulse will be long enough to heat the hair shaft. Then the heat will transfer to the air follicle’s growth bulb. THat’s how you disable the hair growth.
The issue when the hair is not clean-shaven is that the pulse would heat the whole hair. Thus, it risks causing burns and/or scarring. It may also increase pain. A long hair would absorb too much of the energy and less heat would be transferred to the follicle. Thus, you got it, long hair reduces the procedure’s effectiveness. In conclusion, you need to shave prior to your laser hair removal session.
When to shave before laser hair removal
You need to shave 24 hours prior to your session, thus letting time for your skin to rest. Your skin will have time to replenish the top layer removed by the razor. The absence of this top layer makes the skin very sensitive. Allow yourself enough time to make sure you do not rush and cut yourself. The laser must avoid cuts and wounds, and going around those will make the procedure less efficient. You also probably need extra sessions.
Do exfoliate three to four days before the session to make sure no hair hides under your skin. This shave should be performed with a clean and sharp razor to prevent any bacterial residue and possible infection after the appointment. Afterward, gently wash/clean the skin to further erase any trace of bacteria, soap, lotion or deodorants from the skin’s surface and from the skin shaft.
What not to do instead of shaving
Do not wax or pluck your hair before your laser hair removal appointment. The laser will target the hair follicle. Waxing removes the hair follicle. Thus, there will be nothing to capture for the beam of light… You should stop plucking or waxing six weeks before your session.
Do not use depilatory cream either. They can dissolve part of the hair shaft below the skin surface. Then, there’s less melanin to target compared to shaving.
I might be tempting to apply moisturizers or oil to your skin after shaving. Refrain from doing so as it can affect the results of your laser hair removal session. Soap and water are all you need. Stop applying fake tan 10 days before and do not use Ibuprofen in the 48 hours prior to your session.
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