Laser hair removal is not a typical Pretty Prudent topic but when I posted on Instagram that I was nervous before going under the laser-beam, y’all had many questions and comments so I promised to fill you in on the details. I’m no expert on laser hair removal, I’ve only been for one treatment, but thankfully Jaime’s sister-in-law Stevee is a former technician so she helped me get my facts straight. Here is the scoop on eliminating hair… here, down-there and anywhere.
If you have no use for going hairless, we love you in all your natural beauty, but if constant plucking and shaving has you dreading the exposed underarms of Summer, maybe these Q&A’s will help you decide if laser hair removal is right for you.
Does it hurt?
It hurts a bit and everyone has different pain tolerance. There are also other variables like the type of machine they are using (Stevee used Candela which is one of the best) and the area of the body you are having treated. One reader responded that it felt like an elastic snap. That was accurate for me. Another mentioned bacon/grease splatter. This was also accurate although thankful not within a centimeter of my eyeball. Our own Amber described the feeling as a sunburn but that was not my experience. If you have a low tolerance for pain but want to join the hairless, a numbing cream might get you through the ordeal. Be sure you tell your tech you applied it so they clean the area prior to treatment. Apply cream 30 mins before your appointment. No Scream Cream 1 oz. comes highly recommended.
Is there any recovery?
There was no recovery time for me. My technician suggested that I not exercise for the rest of the day (which was not a problem, ha) and that if I had any discomfort, Tylenol and ice would put that to rest. I did not experience any pain afterwards. Amber did have some sunburn-like pain which was soothed with Aloe Vera gel. Don’t take any pain meds that contain aspirin up to 24 hours before treatments. Tylenol is ok, but nothing that will thin your blood. ALWAYS tell your laser tech what meds and vitamins you are on as a lot of these can affect the sensitivity and thickness of your skin.
When should I begin treatment?
They recommend starting laser hair removal… in the Fall so that by the time the following Summer rolls around, treatments will be complete. Having a session and then going out in the sun will cause extreme sun damage like hypo (white spots) and hyper-pigmentation (brown spots). Your skin is extremely sensitive and vulnerable to the sun after a treatment, and treated areas should not be exposed to direct/prolonged sunlight for 3 weeks after treatment. Arm pits and bikini areas are ok to treat in the summer months (unless you’re a nudest), but if you’re going in for full leg hair removal and plan to hang out by the pool this summer, wait. Do not go out in the sun!!!!
More on the sun topic – be honest with your technician if you’ve been out in the sun prior to your appointment. If you’ve had a lot of sun exposure your skin is irritated, and actually can be thinner. The laser can burn you further which could lead to scabbing, scarring and hyper and hypo-pigmentation.
Does Laser Hair Removal always work?
Blonde hairs are almost impossible to get rid of – if the hair you want to get rid of is extremely light, gray or blonde (peach fuzzy), think twice about spending money on laser treatments. This goes back to lasers targeting dark pigments. Those lighter hairs also have lighter hair follicles, so the laser has a hard time picking them up and destroying them.
Is there anyone who should not get laser hair removal for medical reasons?
You should not get laser hair removal if you are pregnant or nursing. Also, do not schedule your treatments anywhere near the week of that time of the month. Treatments when your near or on your cycle are 10xs more painful. Your hormones are raging and your skin is actually more susceptible to being damaged by the laser.
How many treatments do you need to have?
Be realistic about your odds- hair on the legs, back and arms have a higher and faster success rate. These areas also usually end up requiring less treatments than facial hair, underarms and bikini areas. For women, the hair on our face, underarms and private areas are hormonally driven making those follicles extremely stubborn to get. So for those hormonally driven areas, set realistic expectations – 6-8 treatments, 4-6 weeks apart and expect a 80-90% hair reduction and the possibility you will have to have a few touch ups in the years to come.
How long does Laser Hair Removal last?
The average lifespan of the treatment is 3 years before you will need touch-up treatment.
Is there anything I should do to prepare for my treatment?
You will want the area to be clean and freshly shaven. If you have hair growth, the laser treatment won’t be as effective. Lasers target dark pigment, so if you have any dark stubble, the laser’s energy will be distributed to the surface and won’t reach the hair follicle to essentially destroy it (why laser hair removal works). Also, if you go unshaven, the whole room will smell like burnt hair (gross.) Your technician may suggest 1-2 days of growth depending on the machine they use. Ask before you go.
I want to have my bikini line done, and then some… can I just blurt this out?
Yes, your technician has worked on every part of the body and in EVERY orifice. If your OB has seen it, a laser hair removal technician has as well. Just go for it if that’s the look you are going for.
It’s so expensive! Is there any reason I shouldn’t go for a deal?
Laser hair removal seems to be a top-5 GroupOn groupie. You can get some awesome deals. With that said, Look for a place with a good reputation, or even better, a personal reference from someone you trust.