Maybe it’s the onset of summer and, thus, bikini season, but we’ve been thinking a lot about laser hair removal lately. If you’re interested in putting down the tweezers or the razor in favor of a more permanent solution, make sure you read up about the process before you make an appointment. Below are 10 things no one ever tells you about laser hair removal.
1. It takes a while. Most laser hair removal treatments are effective in long-term hair removal after 6-8 treatments with intervals of 8-12 weeks between, so be prepared for a bit of a long process.
2. Cost varies. Getting a treatment on your upper lip will cost significantly less than getting the treatment on your legs. Prices can range from as little as $50 per session for smaller areas to $800 per session for larger areas, depending on the facility you attend.
3. Start with a test patch. Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, you may have an adverse reaction to the laser treatment. Typically, you’ll start with a small test patch in a less visible area (like your underarms) to insure the laser will be okay on the areas where you want to remove hair.
4. The best results come on pale skin with dark, coarse hair. Because the lasers work to target dark pigments, the best candidates for laser hair removal are those with pale skin and dark hair. The treatments will still work on different skin tones and hair types, though.
5. Don’t wax beforehand. During about six weeks leading up to your first session, don’t wax or tweeze the area you’ll be treating. It is, however, okay to shave, because the laser will still be able to identify the hair follicle.
6. Pigmentation can happen. It’s not common, but one of the side effects of laser hair removal is the possibility of pigmentation on your skin. This is another reason you should be using test patches before committing to an entire area.
7. Pain isn’t too common. Most people compare laser hair removal to the feeling of a rubber band snapping against your skin, but depending on your threshold for pain, you may feel more or less pain than that.
8. It’s not always permanent. While laser hair removal does absolutely help with permanent reduction of hair, it won’t permanently remove hair for the rest of your life. You’ll still have to head in for treatments in the future.
9. Your skin will be a little red. Immediately following treatment, your skill will likely be a bit red, similar to sunburn. This should go away in a day or so, but if it doesn’t, talk to your provider or dermatologist.
10. Keep your water mild. Avoid hot showers, steam rooms, and hot tubs for a few days after a treatment, as the heat can irritate your skin.