A Guide to Laser Hair Removal Skincare Aftercare
Laser hair removal procedure involves the process of hair removal by exposing the follicle to light. Discover more on post procedure skincare with SkinCeuticals.
Laser hair removal is a lengthy process, but that hasn’t stopped this procedure from becoming one of the most popular options for long term hair removal. Laser hair removal is much more permanent than shaving and far less painful than waxing. In fact, many people report the sensation feels more like a rubber band being flicked repeatedly against the skin.
However, the aftercare for sensitised skin post-laser hair removal can be quite confusing for the uninitiated. Despite the lack of major side effects or downtime after this procedure, knowing what to do and what to avoid after laser hair removal is essential to ensure a comfortable experience and optimal results. Read on to learn all about the process and benefits of laser hair removal, as well as a comprehensive guide to the aftercare process.
WHAT IS LASER HAIR REMOVAL?
Laser hair removal is a permanent hair reduction method which produces results usually between 6-12 sessions in total, each of which must be spaced between 4-8 weeks apart. The number of sessions and spacing is dependent on your skin tone and hair growth cycle, which varies from person to person.
HOW DOES LASER HAIR REMOVAL WORK?
During a laser hair removal session, a laser machine emits powerful light absorbed by the hair’s melanin (pigment). The energy from the laser is converted to heat within the hair follicle, which creates damage that either delays or inhibits future hair growth as well as causing current hairs to fall out.
Because not all hairs on the body are in their growth cycle at the same time, multiple sessions are needed to successfully target all hair in the procedure area. It’s also important to shave before your appointment for optimal results. The results are long lasting but not always permanent, so maintenance procedures may be required to maintain the result achieved by the initial series of appointments.
WHO BENEFITS FROM LASER HAIR REMOVAL?
Laser hair removal can be beneficial for most people, although the patience required does depend on the darkness or lightness of the hair in comparison to the skin. Technological innovations in recent years also mean that all skin tones can now use the treatment as different types of machines are used depending on skin tone.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER LASER HAIR REMOVAL?
In terms of what happens after hair removal, there is usually little more than a slight sense of discomfort in the days following this procedure. Minor redness or bumps are normal, but any symptoms more major require consultation with a medical professional. Hair shedding is also normal after your appointment, as dead hairs fall out of the damaged follicles.
WHAT TO DO AFTER LASER HAIR REMOVAL
Knowing what to avoid after laser hair removal is the key to avoiding further discomfort and maximising results. Be sure to wash the area regularly with a mild soap (for the body) or a gentle cleanser (for the face) and follow the below recommendations in the days and weeks after your procedure.
If the procedure area involves the face, skipping your regular makeup routine is essential for at least 24 hours post-procedure. Although the area may look quite normal, the pores will be left open and able to be easily clogged by products applied to the face.
PASS ON THE DEODORANT
If the procedure area involves the underarms, it’s advisable to take a break from deodorant for at least 24 hours after your appointment. While this particular measure can be more inconvenient, giving this sensitive area time to recover is important.
AVOID APPLYING HEAVY MOISTURISER
In terms of what creams to apply after hair removal, the lighter the better. Moisturisers with rich formulas can be too heavy for post-procedure skin with open pores. Avoid thick moisturisers or creams for 24-48 hours after your appointment and opt instead for hydrating gel or mist formulas.
LET YOUR SKIN REST
Number one on the list of what not to do after laser hair removal is excessively touching or otherwise disturbing the skin on and around the area. It can be tempting to run your fingers over your newly smooth skin, however post-procedure skin has increased vulnerability to harmful bacteria. Laser hair removal leaves your pores open, so it’s even more important than usual to avoid picking or scratching as your skin recovers.
The same logic applies to utilising other hair removal methods in the weeks following your laser procedure. The skin should be left alone as it goes through the post-laser process, so waxing, tweezing and most other hair removal methods or products are recommended against. Shaving, however, is still acceptable because it acts only on the skin’s surface.
AVOID CLINICAL SKIN PROCEDURES
The same logic applies to utilising other hair removal methods in the weeks following your laser procedure. The skin should needs to be left alone as it goes through the post-laser process, so waxing, tweezing and most other hair removal methods or products are recommended against. Shaving, however, is still acceptable because it acts only on the skin’s surface.
AVOID DIRECT SUNLIGHT
Because laser hair removal essentially creates heat within the skin, it’s recommended to avoid direct sun exposure to the procedure area for at least several days prior and two weeks after your appointment. This is because the skin is already moving through a heat response from the laser, so any additional heat has the potential to place too much stress on the skin.
After approximately 24 hours you can resumebegin using a high protection sunscreen such as our Ultra Facial Defense SPF 50+ to help protect skin that may be’s extra sensitive to the sun.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE.
Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.
Once at least two days have passed, gently exfoliating the hair removal area regularly for at least two weeks can help achieve optimal results from your procedure. The benefits of consistent exfoliation after your laser procedure are twofold. Firstly, exfoliating helps prevent ingrown hairs. Secondly, exfoliating can also help speed up the pace of any hair shedding post-procedure.
IMPLEMENT A GENTLE SKINCARE ROUTINE WITH SKINCEUTICALS PRODUCTS
In terms of what to use 24-48 hours after microneedling, we recommend a gentle yet effective routine: Start with our Gentle Cleanser, formulated with allantoin to promote a healthy skin barrier. This cleanser is comforting and hydrating, making it well suited to sensitive and post-procedure skin. Next, tone with our Phyto Corrective Essence Hydrating Mist with hyaluronic acid and glycerin to help visibly reduce redness.
Further hydrate your vulnerable skin without clogging pores by gently smoothing on a few drops of the SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel Serum. This corrective serum is formulated with cucumber and thyme as well as hyaluronic acid to comfort and hydrate. For intense hydration, try a masque designed for post-procedure skin such as our Phyto Corrective Mask.
For personalised advice about whether a skin needling procedure is well suited to your skin type or concerns, consult an microneedling expert. Our SkinCeuticals skincare professionals are also available to discuss a personalised aftercare plan. Always consult with your Local Clinic for individual at-home advice.