Laser Hair Removal: What to Expect

While we can spend hours upon hours researching the science behind different beauty treatments, or weighing up the pros and cons of each, it can still be daunting to experience any process for the first time. Whether you’re an expert on the topic or completely new to it, laser hair removal is a relatively new, innovative technique which is gradually gaining more and more interest as an industry.

If you’re interested in trying it out for the first time, here is everything you should expect, so you can prepare yourself.

What is laser hair removal?

Before we jump into the experience itself, it’s worth taking a look at some background information with regards to the process. You may have heard about laser hair removal before, or perhaps the entire concept is new to you, but you’ll be well-versed on the entire process once you’ve finished reading this.

In short, laser hair removal is the use of various specific pulses of light to carry out hair removal. It’s been available for over 20 years but hasn’t been widely talked about so much until more recently. Of all hair removal treatments available for commercial treatments, laser is one of the most permanent treatments out there for getting rid of hair for good and preventing regrowth.

While the results can vary from person to person, some people experience almost complete permanent hair removal as a result of laser, while others find that it thins any hairs that grow back significantly and causes any hair to grow back lighter in colour. Many people decide to start having laser hair removal as an alternative to shaving or waxing, as the results last longer (up to a few years) and can make hair removal more convenient.

When selecting a hair removal method for you, it’s always important to remember that the process should work for you and fit into your life to suit your needs. This is often why laser is chosen, as it fits in with many people’s lives more effectively than other alternatives.

What to expect in a laser hair removal session

When turning up to your first laser hair removal session, you may feel nervous, which is completely natural, especially when it’s a new experience, and there’s no way of telling exactly how it’ll be until you try it for yourself. However, having a rough idea about what expect during your session may help to ease the nerves a little.

The first part of your laser hair removal journey should be a consultation with a professional carrying out your treatment. This will help you to finalise any details and ensure that it’s the right step for you, based on your personal lifestyle and expectations. During this stage, you should also have a chance to ask any questions you have about the process, and it’s important to make the most of this opportunity – it’ll allow you to get more comfortable with the experience.

Before it comes to the actual laser session itself, there are a few preparations to keep in mind in order to ensure your body is ready. Firstly, avoid excessive sun exposure or sun beds and wear a sunscreen in the days leading up to your appointment. You should also steer clear of plucking, waxing, or bleaching the hair within 6 weeks prior to your laser appointment, as preserving the hair follicle and pigment of the hair will benefit your later sessions.

Lastly, shave the targeted area the day before the appointment. This ensures that there’s no hair on the surface of the skin to absorb the energy, preventing any thermal damage to the skin. Doing so the day before will also allow any micro-cuts in the skin from the razor to heal.

During your session, you may be offered a local anaesthetic or numbing cream to help with discomfort, but most people find this isn’t usually necessary. When it comes to pain, it’s difficult to describe whether the treatment is painful, as it’s subjective. However, laser hair removal isn’t too painful, and it’s more comfortable than waxing. Most people liken it to a pinch, and say it’s not comfortable

What to expect after a laser hair removal session

Once the first session of laser hair removal has been completed, there are a few key points you may like to keep track of after the sessions, and these timestamps can help you to understand what’s going on in your body. Not to mention, knowing about these can provide some comfort, knowing what to expect and whether it’s ‘normal’.

Following the treatment, you’re likely to experience some immediate irritation as it’s normal for your skin to react to the laser hair removal process. The laser targets your hair follicles and works by essentially damaging them, so hair growth is inhibited from them.  Because of this, it’s normal to experience swelling and redness around your hair follicles, which is known as erythema.

To protect your skin and prevent unnecessary irritation, avoid applying any perfumes, bleaching creams, or any other harsh or scented products to the targeted area for 24-48 hours. It’s also best to avoid any forms of exfoliation for at least a week, too, in order to allow your skin to recover and prevent over-sensitisation.

After around 2-3 weeks post-treatment, you should notice that around 10-20% of your hairs have fallen out, and it’s not unusual to see a crust forming on the skin in the treated region. This will heal and fall off naturally, and you can aid your skin in its healing process by applying some aloe vera several times a day. This will keep it hydrated to allow faster easier recovery.

Swelling and mild irritation are normal following laser hair removal but, if you’re concerned about any symptoms you experience, speak to a medical professional or visit your laser clinic to check in and rule out anything unusual.