Laser hair removal has become a popular choice in the quest for smooth, hair-free skin. It is a relatively simple process with little recovery time but a proper post-treatment haircare regimen will ensure desired long-term results. Frequently, stray hairs appear after treatment and tweezing is often the solution many seek despite potential side effects. A little background information about the procedure can help you make the right decisions and attain the results you want.
Hair Growth Cycle
Not all hairs grow at the same rate. Different hairs might be in the growing, resting or shedding stages. To destroy hair permanently, the bulb at the base of each hair must be destroyed; with laser hair removal, a laser delivers heat energy into the hair follicle with the goal of destroying the bulb. Tweezing, on the other hand, removes the entire hair but does not necessarily destroy the bulb. Laser hair removal only works on hairs in the growing phase, which is why multiple treatments are necessary for desired results and why many people are tempted to tweeze new growth in between treatments.
Potential Side Effects
Properly performed laser hair removal treatments produce very few side effects. Most commonly, the skin in the treated area may become slightly red and swollen. This usually disappears in a couple hours to a few days. Tweezing should particularly be avoided during this period as the sensitive skin may tear and scarring may result. In extreme cases with sensitive individuals or poorly performed treatments, blistering or burning may occur. In such cases, follow-up care by a professional is strongly recommended.
Post-Treatment Hair Removal
Hair growth can be seen a few days after treatment. Hair follicles in a different growth stage might start to grow, while the hairs that were treated begin to shed. It is best to avoid any type of hair removal for the first few days to avoid irritation. Once the skin appears normal again, shaving stranded hairs is OK since it does not damage the hair follicles. However, tweezing as well as waxing should be avoided. Doing so will disturb the hair growth cycle and increase the number of laser treatments necessary for the area.
Immediately after treatment, cold compresses or ice should temporarily relieve redness and swelling. Moisturizing cream is strongly recommended to keep the skin healthy after treatments and well prepared for future treatments. It is important to avoid exposing the treated area to sunlight as it can irritate or even darken the skin. Shaving, not tweezing, should be your only method of hair removal for as long as you plan to continue laser treatments.
Avoid tweezing and waxing for an entire month before your first laser treatment to allow sufficient growth to be treated. Reliable doctors and clinics are important to avoid any potential problems with the laser treatment process. Different clinics may utilize different types of lasers with varying conditions, prices and follow-up care, so inquire about these as well. Tanning or exposure to the sun should be limited before treatments since lasers respond better to lighter skin, and avoided completely after treatment to prevent discoloration.