It’s another morning, and you know what that means: shaving, plucking, tweezing, and/or waxing your hair to achieve soft, glowy skin. This routine is exhausting, and lately, you can’t help but wonder if laser hair removal wouldn’t be easier. At Le Reve Skincare & Laser Center in Fort Worth, TX, we already know the answer: yes, laser is much easier. It’s also far more effective at transforming your skin into the velvety canvas you long for.
How Long Does Hair Have To Be for Laser Hair Removal?
Hair needs to be short for treatment to be successful, but the follicle also needs to be intact. In other words, you’ll not be able to wax or tweeze the treatment area for six weeks before your session. But you will need to shave the area 24 hours before your appointment. This is necessary to remove hair from the surface so the laser can better locate that follicle we just mentioned.
Likewise, you shouldn’t tan or use tanning products prior to your appointment. We need as much contrast as possible between your skin and the follicle. This ensures an effective treatment that gives way to lustrous skin.
How Hair Grows
To understand laser treatment, you must first understand how hair grows. Each strand contains two distinct parts: the follicle and shaft. The former resides below the skin and houses the living cells that unite and form keratin – the protein hair is made of. The shaft is that part of the strand visible outside of the skin. Unlike the follicle, it’s comprised of dead cells.
Every hair on the body grows in three distinct phases: anagen (active stage), catagen (a transitional stage), and telogen (resting phase). The anagen phase marks that time when cells within the follicle rapidly divide to form a new strand of hair. The old hair is then pushed out. In the catagen phase, hair stops growing and the root shrinks. In the third and final stage, telogen, hair sheds every day as follicles again prepare to enter the anagen phase.
All three phases occur simultaneously to prevent your hair from falling out at once. In other words, each hair follicle acts independently and passes through the growth cycle at different times. This explains why several laser sessions are necessary to capture and kill all the hairs in a treatment area.
Preparing for Treatment
Unless a member of our staff tells you otherwise, the guidelines provided here apply to nearly all of our patients. First and foremost, it’s crucial you stay out of the sun. We briefly mentioned this a moment ago, but it deserves a second go-round. A tan increases your risk of skin lightening and poses other side effects as well.
We may not be able to proceed with treatment if you’re tanned or sunburned, meaning you’ll reschedule after your skin has regained its normal color. In general, we recommend six weeks of total sun avoidance so the treatment can proceed as expected. The same goes for tanning beds as well – steer clear for six weeks so your skin is in prime condition for the laser.
Care for Your Skin
Now is the time to establish a routine for wearing a broad-spectrum sunblock each and every day. The sun can damage your skin even on overcast or rainy days. Get into the habit of applying sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above to protect your tissues.
Likewise, you should avoid for three days before treatment the use of topical products that can cause photosensitivity. These include benzoyl peroxide, retinols, salicylic acids, and hydroxy acids. While such products are fine to use elsewhere, they cannot be applied to the treatment area. Last but not least, use a gentle cleanser and mild, hydrating lotion on all treated areas – and wash only with warm water, not hot.
Oral Medications and Cosmetic Treatments
During your consultation appointment, we’ll take detailed notes of your medical history. We’ll also ask about oral medications you’re currently taking. If this list changes prior to your appointment, including if you need to start an antibiotic regimen, it’s important you contact our office before your session.
If you have any cosmetic treatments scheduled within two weeks of your laser hair removal, they will need to be rescheduled. You’ll not be able to have microdermabrasion, chemical peels, dermal fillers, or Botox injections for at least 14 days after your laser session.
The Day of Your Session
You should arrive at your appointment freshly showered with completely clean skin. This means you shouldn’t apply any fragrances, creams, oils, or lotions before you arrive. The same is true of deodorant. If you forget and need a cleansing wipe on the day of your appointment, simply ask one of our team members. They’ll be happy to help.
Clothing is another crucial consideration. It’s important you wear comfortable, loose-fitting apparel to your appointment. Cotton shirts and shorts or pants are best. Tight or abrasive garments can rub sensitive skin after treatment and interfere with your healing process.
What To Expect During Your Appointment
Your session will take place in a private and very comfortable room. Everyone inside the room must wear protective eyewear during the treatment. Before starting, the targeted area will be thoroughly cleansed. Some patients also receive a numbing gel to protect sensitive skin. All areas of your body that are not receiving treatment will be covered with clothing – only those areas receiving the laser will be exposed.
To perform the therapy, skin is held taut and the laser pulses are applied. Laser works by vaporizing hair strands. The length of your session depends on the size of the area being treated. The upper lip, for example, takes mere minutes. A larger area like the back or legs will require more time and may surpass an hour. Rest assured that throughout treatment, we’ll talk you through every step so you know exactly what to expect.
The laser’s heat remains in your skin for 24 hours, so you’ll need to avoid hot showers, saunas, and gyms. Otherwise, you risk creating a warm and attractive environment for bacteria to multiply.
The treated area can be gently washed with a mild soap. Just remember to pat and not rub skin dry in the first 48 hours. Because the treated area needs to be kept clean and dry, you’ll want to skip moisturizer, makeup (for the face), and deodorant (for underarms) for the first 24 hours. This helps prevent irritation.
Shedding Is Normal
Dead hairs will start to shed five to 30 days after your session. Stubble that indicates dead hair is being shed from the hair follicle will also appear. Rest assured this is all completely normal. A great way to expedite the hair shedding process is by exfoliating the treatment area. Even rubbing with a wet washcloth will help bring hairs out and promote touchably soft skin.
Treat Your Skin Kindly
Avoid scratching or picking the treated area and remove new hair growth only with shaving. As we mentioned earlier, plucking, waxing, or depilatory creams will prevent you from reaching the best results. And remember that hair growth varies. You will experience an optimal level of hairless happiness after six to nine sessions. At this point, you won’t even need to check for stubble – you’ll simply enjoy the life-changing benefits of laser hair removal.
Benefits of Laser
You might have already heard, but laser helps you avoid ingrown hairs. These painful red bumps follow waxing and shaving without fail. But because laser helps remove hair from the roots, it also prevents ingrown hairs from developing. Over time, regular laser treatments can entirely eliminate ingrown hairs, meaning you’ll never again have to worry about such discomfort. You can similarly bid good-bye to razor burns, nicks, and cuts.
Shaving causes a prickly stubble that sometimes reappears in hours, but laser leaves your skin softer than ever. Even as you move through your treatment plan, hair grows back thinner and sparser until, eventually, all you feel is skin. In this same vein, the results from laser hair removal are long-lasting. With each subsequent session, strands take longer to appear. And then the day will come when your skin is a silk-like canvas.
More Effective Skincare
With that barrier of hair finally gone, your skincare products can finally work as they were intended. Hair prevents creams and serums from penetrating deep into skin’s tissues. After treatment, however, these products can help moisturize, revive, and refresh your skin with greater efficacy.
The Skin You’ve Always Wanted
Shaving, waxing, and other hair removal methods are time-consuming. They demand a portion of your regular beauty routine and have to be constantly maintained. Laser, on the other hand, finally reveals the smooth skin you’ve always wanted. Schedule your consultation today by contacting Le Reve Skincare & Laser Center in Fort Worth, TX.