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What to Do After Laser Hair Removal? (& Not to Do)

By Mariela
July 8, 2023
6 minutes

Have you taken all necessary precautions before getting your whole body or face laser hair removal treatment? Sadly, laser hair removal treatment does not end in a salon either with a single session.

You have to go for more sessions and keep your skin in the best condition during the whole process. So, are you wondering what to do now when you are done with your first laser hair removal treatment? Or are you afraid of the side effects of laser and want to avoid them by taking all necessary steps?

You are in the right place because in this article we have a detailed guide about the dos and don’ts of the aftercare of laser hair removal. Before getting into the article, we want you to know more about professional laser hair removal equipment and its alternatives.

What to Expect After Laser Hair Removal?

The first thing that you would expect after laser hair removal is the loss of unwanted hair. This is true in the sense that hair regrowth is reduced after each session and once you complete the 6 to 9 hair removal treatments, you will be hairless for a few months to some years.

Also, laser hair removal is safe and is approved by health and safety organizations around the world making you think it is going to be completely harmless. So, you consider that laser hair removal will come with no side effects, sadly that is not going to be the case.

When you are undergoing laser treatment, you might feel pain or a stinging sensation in the treatment area. It doesn’t end here. When the treatment is done, you will also feel redness, swelling, bumps, or irritation. Moreover, your skin gets sensitive which means you can’t go out in the sun. But all these side effects are temporary and go away in some time.

What to Do After Laser Hair Removal?

These are the tips to keep your skin in the best condition after laser hair removal and avoid the side effects of laser.

Use Cold Compresses

As the heat from the laser falls onto your skin, it makes the skin red. The skin also gets inflamed in a few hours and you experience skin redness and follicle swellings. This, in most cases, is mild and can be treated with cold compresses. Cold compresses also prevent long-term changes in the skin after laser as mentioned in a study [1].

Use prescribed creams

If pain and swelling after laser hair removal do not seem to go away with ice compresses, consult your doctor and use prescription creams. These topical creams contain anti-inflammatory ingredients like steroids and anesthetics gels like lidocaine.

Also, you can simply take oral medication but topical creams work better and have no side effects as Dr Eric says [2].

Wear Loose Clothes

Skin after laser becomes sensitive. It is vital to prevent aggravating the sensitivity and soothing the skin. So, avoid clothes that touch the treated area and wear loose dressing.

Also, it is better to use soft and flexible fabric for a day or two after your laser hair removal session. Plus do not itch or scratch the treated area as it might result in peeling of the delicate skin.

Exfoliation

The laser kills hair follicles and the hair falls out of the roots. However, they might stay stuck

inside instead of falling out immediately. This can appear as ingrown hair and rough skin. So, in addition to cleansing the skin with your regular cleanser, exfoliate it ones a week to remove the ingrown hair, and dead skin cells, and make the skin smooth.

You should take a week’s break after laser treatment before starting your exfoliation as immediate exfoliation can irritate the skin.

Handle the Treated Area Gently

As we mentioned earlier the skin becomes sensitive after laser. So, it is best to avoid using any deodorant that might irritate the skin, extreme workout after laser hair removal that stretch the skin, staying in a warm environment that makes you sweat, and harsh products for the skin.

Refraining from these things for 2 to 4 days will let your skin heal after laser hair removal treatment.

Use Sunscreen

While it is recommended to avoid sun exposure altogether for 24 hours after laser hair removal. It might not be possible for everyone. So, wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater while going out in the sun.

In addition, make sure to reapply it every two hours so that the UV rays of the sun do not burn the laser-treated skin. You can also use anti-oxidant-rich skincare to save it from free radicals. In this way, your skin will be protected from cancer [3].

Hydrate Your Body

Although doctors use soothing, cooling, and anesthetic gel before the laser hair removal treatment, it does not completely neutralize the heat from the laser. Consequently, the moisture in the skin also burns along with hair follicles leaving your skin dry.

So, make sure to apply a liberal amount of gentle lotion onto your skin after each session. Keep the skin moisturized for the next session as well. We have recommendations for the best body lotions and best face moisturizers .

Only Shave

Laser hair removal takes a while and does not immediately make you hairless. So, you will notice hair regrowth and new hair strands until you are completely done with the treatment.

The only recommended method to remove hair in between laser hair removal sessions is shaving.

What Not to Do After Laser Hair Removal?

Here are the things you must avoid after laser hair removal for the best results.

No Sun Exposure

You should avoid sun exposure before laser hair removal as well as after it. It is best to stay indoors for 24 to 48 hours after the session. So, plan your hair removal treatments on weekends.

After the 2 days of indoor stay, you should wear UV protective hats, UV protective clothing, and sunscreens regularly to prevent the harmful rays of the sun from reaching your laser-treated skin.

No hot Showers

The goal after taking heat from laser hair removal is to keep the skin cool and not make it sweat and irritate. So, avoid hot showers, swimming, and saunas for 2 days after laser hair removal.

Instead, use cool or lukewarm water to take a bath.

Avoid Chemical Products

Skin after the laser is slightly swollen. So, it is prone to irritation, breakage, peeling, and scarring. So, avoid using any chemical products until your inflammation is gone. These products include chemical-containing makeup, chemical peels, scrubs, and retinol.

A study on methods to take care of skin after laser shows the importance of avoiding chemical products [4].

Avoid Waxing, Threading, or Tweezing

If you are getting laser for hirsutism, it might take a longer time to get rid of all the unwanted hair and make your skin completely hairless. You should not wax, thread, or tweeze the skin during the whole time as you are already getting the best treatment for hirsutism as mentioned in Research [5].

This is because you need hair pigment for the laser to act on the hair-generating cells. Also, even if you do not have hirsutism, you should only shave in between your sessions.

Do not Use Makeup or Tanning Products

The only useable make after facial laser hair removal is mineral or natural ingredients-based makeup. The other types of makeup use ingredients that have the potential to irritate laser-treated skin.

Moreover, do not let your skin tan meanwhile as it can lead to the absorption of laser in the skin resulting in blisters.

The Takeaway

Laser hair removal is a harmless process when you follow the steps needed to protect the skin from the intense and hot radiation of the laser. You can check the steps to Prepare the skin for laser hair removal in the mentioned article.

Here, we have explained the dos and don’ts of laser hair removal.

References

1. Anupam Das , Aarti Sarda , and Abhishek De . Cooling Devices in Laser Therapy. Oct to Dec 2016. National Library of Medicine. PubMed Central. 5211

2. Dr Eric Berkson. NSAIDS; Topical vs Pills for Pain. Jan 1, 2023. Harvard Health Publishing Medical School. 5211

3. Megan Sander , Michael Sander , Toni Burbidge , and Jennifer Beecker . The efficacy and safety of sunscreen use for the prevention of skin cancer. Dec 14, 2020. Canadian Medical Association Journal. PubMed Central. 5211

4. Anypriya Goel and Kritika Rai. Methods to Overcome Poor Response and Challenges of Facial Laser Hair Reduction. Jun 2022. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. PubMed Central. 5211

5. Yasmeen Jabeen Bhat , Safia Bashir , Nahida Nabi , and Iffat Hassan . Laser Treatment in Hirsutism: An Update. April 20, 2020. Dermatology; Practical and Conceptual. PubMed Central. 5211 .

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