What Should I Do After My First Laser Hair Removal Treatment?
Laser hair removal offers a great way to get rid of unwanted hair and stop the endless cycle of shaving, waxing, and plucking. It’s a way out from the discomfort, hassle, and expense of all other types of hair removal. At the Pierre Skin Care Institute in Thousand Oaks, CA, we want everyone from Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, and Calabasas to Camarillo, Ventura, Oxnard, Moorpark, and Simi Valley to enjoy the benefits that come when you get rid of unwanted hair for good.
What Laser Hair Removal Is All About
Imagine your skin smooth, soft, silky, and free not just of hair, but also of stubble, nicks, and razor burn. That’s what laser hair removal is all about.
Now imagine getting this silky smooth skin without having to spend 20-30 minutes a day shaving, without the pain of regular waxing, and without spending hours squinting into a mirror as you pluck away. That’s also what laser hair removal is all about.
How It Works
Our skin and hair contain melanin, which is what gives them their color. Laser hair removal works by targeting the melanin of the hair with a laser while bypassing the melanin in the skin. The light from the laser heats the hair shaft (the part of the hair we can see) and travels down it to damage the follicle from which the hair grows. Though the hair will slowly come out completely over the next few days, nothing will grow in its place because the damaged follicle can no longer produce hair.
What Treatment Is Like
An Initial Consultation
When you decide to explore laser hair removal for yourself, your first step will be to sit down with Dr. Pierre and discuss your goals.
Options to Consider
There is no right or wrong goal when it comes to hair removal. You may wish to remove the hair from under your arms to end regular shaving or make antiperspirants more effective. Some women enjoy removing hair from the legs and bikini area so they can go to the beach at any time without worrying about whether they’ve remembered to shave.
Some men remove hair from their chest or back in line with their personal preferences, while others may use just a few treatments to thin out a beard. That way, they can still grow a beard if they like but shaving is easier and there is less risk of razor burn. Both men and women seek laser treatments to remove unwanted facial hair in particular areas.
Dr. Pierre will be able to give you a realistic timeline of when you’ll see your final results and how long it will all take based on your goals. He can also advise you on whether you might need to temporarily suspend the use of certain medications which can increase photosensitivity.
There are only a few things you need to do to prepare. For the best results, avoid plucking or waxing for about six weeks anywhere you plan to have hair removed. Waxing and plucking both remove the hair shaft, and since the laser uses hair shafts to find the target follicles, removing these hairs makes it impossible for the laser to do its job.
You can, however, continue to shave as you like. In fact, shaving the day before your treatment will ensure the best results.
The Treatment Itself
About the Laser
At Pierre Skin Care Institute, we only want the very best for you and your skin. That’s why we use the innovative Palomar Vectus laser with advanced technology that makes it suitable for people of every skin type and ethnicity. Other lasers are unable to differentiate between the melanin in darker skin and the melanin in hair, but the Vectus Laser comes with an FDA-approved Melanin Reader that can be calibrated to suit anyone’s skin.
The Palomar is also fast. While other lasers can take more than an hour to treat both legs, for example, the Palomar in the hands of a professional like Dr. Pierre is capable of treating both legs in about 20 minutes.
Using the Laser
Dr. Pierre will first give you a pair of special glasses to wear. These protect your eyes from any inadvertent exposure to laser light. Then, the laser is placed on your target areas, where it goes to work destroying the follicles of unwanted hair.
If you’ve heard reports of people experiencing pain like the snapping of a rubber band against the skin during a laser removal treatment, it’s important to know that the Palomar isn’t like that. Other lasers do indeed cause an unpleasant sensation, but the Palomar’s advanced technology eliminates this discomfort entirely. In fact, it’s not unusual for patients to be so relaxed during treatment that they come close to falling asleep.
What Should I Do After My First Laser Hair Removal Treatment?
If you’re considering laser treatments, you’ll be excited to know that there is no downtime with this treatment and no special aftercare that will interfere with your responsibilities or enjoyment of daily life. You can go back to work, visit the gym, or head home to dress for a dinner party immediately after your treatment. There are just a few things to remember:
Avoid Unprotected Sun Exposure
It’s always a good idea to protect yourself from the sun, even if you haven’t just had laser treatment! But since your skin has been around laser light after a treatment, it’s especially important to avoid tanning beds and unprotected sun exposure for a few days.
Avoid Waxing and Plucking
Remember that laser treatments address unwanted hair by getting at the root of the problem: literally. Once the hair follicle is damaged, the hair that was already in place will fall out over the course of a few days, naturally. Once it’s gone, the follicle will not replace the hair as it normally would. You’re free to shave as much as you like during this period, but avoid pulling the hair out.
Continue to Exfoliate
Exfoliation is something we should all be doing regularly, but if you’re not in the habit, it’s time to start. Use a washcloth or loofah to exfoliate the treated areas two or three times a week after treatment. This minimizes any chance of an ingrown hair developing as the final hairs fall away.
Be Kind to Your Skin
Your skin needs gentle treatment for the first 48 hours, so don’t use perfumes, deodorants, or any harsh cleansers during this period. It’s also a good idea to keep your skin from getting overly hot. Lukewarm showers for the first week are a better choice than hot showers and baths.
Attend Your Follow-Up Appointment
It takes a few treatments to get rid of all the hair permanently, and it’s also important for Dr. Pierre to see you and ensure everything is going smoothly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does It Take More Than One Treatment to Get Rid of All My Hair?
Our hair grows in phases, and the five million or so hairs of our body are always in one of these three phases. However, they are never all in the same phase at the same time.
In the anagen phase, the hair is actively growing. The root, or follicle, is dividing cells and pushing the new hair up. This stage lasts for different lengths of time on different people and on different parts of the body. Arm hair, for instance, is usually in this phase for around a month. Scalp hair can be in the anagen phase for as long as six years.
This is a transitional stage that usually lasts just a few weeks. At this point, hair growth stops and the sheath that normally covers the hair shaft shrinks down to the root.
During this resting phase, the hair follicle does nothing. This stage lasts around 100 days for scalp hair and far longer for hairs on your eyebrows and arms.
Hair Stages and Laser Removal
Laser hair treatment is only able to damage active follicles. Only hair in the anagen phase will be affected by the laser. This means that after a few weeks, other hair follicles on that same part of your body will need to be treated as they also enter the anagen phase and start growing.
Our hair enters its various phases according to its own timetable, not ours! Therefore, it’s impossible to say for certain exactly how many treatments it will take to get all the hair. For most people, however, six to twelve is average. After each treatment, you’ll notice the difference.
How Is a Laser Treatment Different From Electrolysis?
Electrolysis is an older method of hair removal, and it requires a lot more time than a laser treatment. In electrolysis, each individual hair has to be targeted one at a time. Laser hair treatments can target many hairs with just one pulse.
Isn’t This More Expensive Than Other Hair Removal Methods?
The cost of a laser treatment is certainly more than the cost of a razor and a can of shaving cream. But in the course of a lifetime, you’ll need far more than just one can of cream and one razor, and those costs add up when we’re not paying attention.
The average woman spends 72 whole days out of her life shaving. Men will spend an average of 120 days. And in paying for razors, creams, butters, and lotions, Americans give the shaving products industry more than $6 billion every year.
Waxing is also expensive, whether you go regularly to a beauty specialist or buy at-home kits. And while plucking and tweezing can be done at home with an inexpensive pair of tweezers, this method is enormously time-consuming: and your time is worth something.
What About At-Home Laser Treatments?
At-home lasers are not as powerful as the ones we use at Pierre Skin Care. Consequently, they don’t do the job as well and take a lot more time to accomplish even as much as they can do. The powerful and effective lasers we use are only available commercially to properly trained professionals.
At-home devices have to be used more often, have to be constantly recharged, and are very expensive in their own right. They are also not suitable for many skin types and colors. An at-home laser treatment is simply no substitute for what we can do with the powerful and effective Palomar Vectus laser.
Are There Any Health Risks to This Treatment?
Laser hair treatments have been used for decades and have a proven track record of safety. Nearly anyone is a candidate for laser treatments, and there are no long-term risks associated with this form of hair removal.
Get Your First Treatment Today
If you haven’t experienced the freedom that comes from having permanently smooth skin without the pain and expense of waxing and shaving, it’s time to try laser hair treatment. Visit the Pierre Skin Care Institute in Thousand Oaks, CA today and talk to Dr. Pierre about how we can help you meet your goals.