Are you sick of shaving your bikini line or paying for waxing every time you want to put on a bathing suit? Laser hair removal completely removes all hair after just a few sessions. If you're ready to be hair-free, prepare yourself properly for your laser hair removal appointment to ensure the best possible results.
Laser hair removal is a medical and cosmetic procedure that targets hair follicles with laser energy. The melanin pigment in the skin absorbs the laser heat. The melanin in the follicle is responsible for the re-growth of hair. The darker the hair color, the more melanin the hair contains and the more heat it can absorb. When the follicle absorbs enough heat, the re-growth mechanism becomes permanently damaged. The hair follicle dies and the hair falls out. It takes quite some time before new hair can be regenerated.
Laser hair removal is not a recommended treatment for everyone. A much tanned person with blonde hair is the wrong candidate for laser hair removal, while a fair person with dark hair is the ideal patient. The darker the hair the more laser heat the follicle can absorb leading to the permanent damage of that hair follicle. In almost all cases, laser hair removal requires multiple treatments because hair can only be effectively treated when it is in the stage of growth termed the anagen phase. Since hair grows in cycles and does not enter the anagen phase at once, sessions for laser hair removal are spread out to treat hair follicles that were dormant in previous sessions. The number of sessions required varies depending on the person.
Prior to laser hair removal, electrolysis was the favored method. In laser hair removal, the laser shines over an area of skin that encompasses several hairs, treating multiple follicles at once. Electrolysis directs an electric shock to each individual hair and is commonly reported to be uncomfortable. Laser hair removal may cause the skin to feel as if it's lightly sunburned but is fairly pain-free. The best candidates for laser hair removal are people with light colored skin and relatively dark colored hair. People with darker skin may need a lot more treatments and they do run the risk of changing the pigment of the skin in the treatment areas to a much lighter or darker color. This is usually temporary but it is an unwanted side effect.
Laser hair removal treatments may also be affected by the skill of the person removing the hair. People considering these treatments should be wary of practitioners without medical licenses or who are offering services at highly discounted rates. One should plan to work with a board-certified dermatologist who can recommend ideal laser hair removal practitioners. The cost for laser hair removal varies but experts stress the importance of finding a reputable clinic with experienced doctors. While patients commonly require three to five sessions for a good result, an upper lip is likely to require fewer treatments than the legs, back or chest.
Stop waxing, tweezing and electrolysis at least 3 weeks prior to your first laser hair removal session. You may continue to shave your bikini area both before and after laser hair removal.
Avoid tanning, either real or artificial, for about 4 to 6 weeks before treatment. Any pigment (color) in your skin will make the laser hair removal less effective. Most specialists will refuse to treat a tanned area, as blistering and discoloration may occur.
Shave the entire bikini area 3 days before your laser hair removal session. Allow the stubble to grow back, so that the clinician can follow the natural hairline. Some salons will ask that you come in completely shaved, so you should check when you make your appointment.
Clean the bikini area completely. You should not apply any lotions or sprays to the area on the day of your laser hair removal.
Take ibuprofen to prepare for your appointment. While there is no proof that pain reliever helps with the discomfort, many people swear by it. Ibuprofen will often reduce the redness and swelling caused by the laser.
Apply numbing cream such as Dr Numb cream to the bikini area about an hour before your treatment. For your first session, you should arrive early enough so that you can pick up and use the numbing cream.
Ask the nurse, doctor or clinician what type of laser she will be using, and if there are any special preparations you need to be aware of--try to be as informed as possible about your treatment. You can also ask the receptionist when you first make your appointment.
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