Laser hair removal has a bad rap. So many our clients that wax worry that laser hair removal is going to be painful. We are here to say that if you can wax, you can laser. The pain levels are different, but comparable or less than waxing. If this is a major concern for you and the number one reason that is getting in the way for you to try it, we recommend that you start with your underarm area. It is the best area to feel the laser, get an idea of what the process will be like and see what types of results you might get after one treatment.
A lot of our clients ask why they have to shave before a laser hair removal session. Because laser hair removal works by shooting energy at the targeted hair and follicle, we want to make sure that the majority of the energy is focused on the shaft of hair under the skin and the follicle for best results. We don’t want to waste the energy synging the hair on top of the skin and reducing the amount of energy directed at the follicle.
You can’t wax, thread, or sugar the area because we need the follicle to be in tact underneath the skin for the laser to actually damage with the energy. Since all those methods remove the hair from the root, your laser hair removal will not be effective.
We recommend shaving between treatments. Beware that other methods that remove the hair from the root (e.G., threading, tweezing, sugaring, waxing) will reduce the effectiveness of your sessions.
The hairs that have been targeted by laser aren’t growing back, but other hairs in the area might still be growing! Here’s a little more background info:
- There are 3 phases of hair growth (1) anagen – the phase of active hair growth, the most ideal phase for laser, (2) catagen – the regression phase when the hair starts to weaken, (3) telogen – the phase in which the hair falls out in preparation for new hair to grow.
- On the body there are literally about 3,000 hair follicles per square inch (we know, we are even hairier than we thought!). Most of those hairs are dormant & only 10-30% of the hair is in the anagen phase at a given time (including the time of your laser treatment).
- Other factors that may affect hair growth include: medications, hormonal levels/imbalances & dietary supplements/vitamins (e.G., if you take supplement for hair & nails, the supplement stimulates growth all over your body, not just your head!).
This can vary per person. Some clients don’t require any touch ups after their initial sessions! However, for many clients, 1-2 times a year will help to ensure the most effective results & target any new hairs that become active as a result of hormonal changes, medications, etc. If you experience hormonal changes or start a medication that stimulates hair growth, you may need to come back more often.
- While you can start any time of year, we recommend starting in the fall/winter months so that you are super smooth for spring/summer! Plus, this is usually when you have less exposure to the sun so you don’t have to plan around beach days to get lasered (remember: you must wait 3 days after direct sun exposure to receive a laser treatment & spray-tanned/sunburned skin cannot be lasered).
- Invest in your 20s, 30s, & 40s! Since laser is not effective on grey or white hair, we recommend investing younger – plus you’ll get to enjoy even more years of smooth, hairless skin!
Ladies: We recommend being 18 years old for women. If you are younger, we absolutely need you to be accompanied by their parent/legal guardian for the initial consultation & service, as well as receive written consent. Since hormones levels (& hair growth) during puberty can fluctuate, we recommend waiting at least 2 years after your first period to receive laser treatments.
Guys: Since the hormonal fluctuations from puberty & the hair growth that comes along with this stage of life don’t level out until about 21 years of age, we recommend holding off on laser until you are at least 21 years old to ensure you get the best results (e.g., hormonal changes can cause new hairs to grow & we want to make sure we can target as many of those hairs during your treatments).
Everyone’s reaction is different, however there is likely to be some redness for the first 24 – 48 hours. During this time we recommend staying out of the sun & avoiding the application of makeup, creams/lotions/serums to this area while there is redness/irritation.
Laser is the best option if you experience rapid hair growth in areas you prefer to be hairless. After your initial set of treatments (usually 6-9), there is minimal maintenance needed. If you are prone to ingrown hairs you will find this issue is drastically reduced since the hair literally stops growing back!
- Peach-fuzz (very fine, tiny hairs)
- Blonde (if you were born a blonde, even if your hair has darkened, the root of your hair may still be blonde causing results to be less effective)
- Light red/strawberry blonde
For these types of hair we suggest threading or sugaring for the face, waxing or sugaring for the body, as alternatives.
It is best not to wax/sugar/thread/tweeze the area at least 4 weeks before your treatment. During this time & right before your treatment we recommend that you shave the area. It is important to shave the area that is to be lasered, so that the laser can penetrate the root of the hair at the base of the follicle. The shorter the hair the more effective the treatment will be.
Your hair will begin to fall out a few days after the treatment. Results vary person-to-person. Typically you will see a noticeable difference after your 3rd treatment. Please note, that darker complexions may take more sessions to see results as the melanin (pigment) in the skin absorbs some of the laser’s strength.
Your skin may be sensitive for the next 48 hours. Apply a cold compress (simply a washcloth with cold water) if you experience any discomfort. Occasionally, treatments can result in further irritation of the skin. In this case, we recommend you contact your doctor or local pharmacy if the situation persists. Often they will recommend an antihistamine to help calm the reaction, as long as you have no medical reason prohibiting its use.
- Redness & bumps are normal.
- Immediately after your treatment, redness & bumps at the treatment area are common; these may last up to 2 hours or longer. It is normal for the treated area to feel like a sunburn for a few hours. You should use a cold compress if the sensitivity continues. If there is any crusting, apply an antibiotic cream. Darker pigmented skin may have more discomfort than lighter skin & may persist longer.
- Cleanse gently.
- The treated area may be washed gently with a mild soap. Skin should be patted dry & not rubbed during the first 48 hours.
- Skip the makeup & lotion/moisturizer/deodorant for the first 24 hours.
- Keep the area clean & dry, if further redness or irritation persists, skip your makeup & moisturizer, & deodorant (for underarms) until the irritation has subsided.
- Dead hairs will begin to shed 5-30 days after your treatment.
- Stubble, representing dead hair being shed from the hair follicle, will appear within 5-30 days from the treatment date. That is normal & they will fall out quickly.
- Exfoliate to speed up hair shedding.
- Anywhere from 5-30 days after the treatment, shedding of the hair may occur & this may appear as new hair growth. It is not new hair growth, but the dead hair pushing its way out of the follicle. You can help the hair come out by washing with a washcloth or a exfoliating cloth & shaving.
- Avoid the sun.
- Avoid sun exposure to reduce the chance of dark or light spots for 2 months. Use sunscreen (spf 30 or higher) at all times throughout the treatment period & 2 months following.
- Not pick/scratch/wax/sugar/thread/tweeze the area.
- Avoid picking or scratching the treated skin. Do not use any other hair removal methods or products, other than shaving, on the treated area during the course of your laser treatments, as it will prevent you from achieving the best results.
- Hair growth varies.
- On average, most folks will experience a level of hairless happiness after 6-9 sessions which will result in not even checking for stubble (yes, it’s life changing!).
- Ask a professional.
- Call us here at Shobha with any questions or concerns you may have after the treatment.