What to Expect on First Laser Hair Removal Visit

It all starts with a consultation.

RN asks prospective client:

“Have you had laser hair removal or other laser treatments before?”

“If yes, what type of treatment and how long ago?”

“Were there any adverse reactions?”

“If yes, please describe.”

She'll then through list of contraindications to confirm client answers no to all.

For women, it's important if you’re considering getting pregnant in the near future, please be aware that hormonal fluctuations from pregnancy can cause increased hair growth. Some women go through pregnancy and breastfeeding (times when hormones are fluctuating greatly) and maintain laser hair removal results just fine. Others report full regrowth in these areas.”

How Laser Hair Removal Works

Laser hair removal works on the principle of selective photothermolysis - the laser precisely targets the pigment in the hair follicle and delivers just the right amount of energy to disable the follicle without harming surrounding tissue.

Pure grey, blonde and some types of red hair do not contain enough pigment to provide the laser a sufficient “target”. Because there’s more pigment in coarser, darker hair, it typically responds the best to laser hair removal.

The growth cycle of a hair consists of three phases, and the laser is most effective during only one of those phases. After each treatment, we want to allow a new “batch” of follicles to become active and susceptible to the laser - this is why we schedule treatments 6-8 weeks apart.

“How long will it take to be hair free?” Everyone responds differently, but generally people feel satisfied with the amount of hair reduction after 6-12 treatments. Yes, that’s a large range; that’s how unique we all are!

“Will the results last forever?” For some folks, yes, and for some, no. It is not uncommon to need occasional touch-up treatments after the completion of a successful initial course of treatments, but it may take 5-10 years to need a touch-up. New hair growth is dependent upon many variables including hormonal fluctuations, which occur throughout life.

Prior to treatment, the area must be shaved and thoroughly cleansed. It is recommended to shave the area to be treated 12-24 hours before laser hair removal. It is okay to shave immediately prior to treatment, though it may make skin more sensitive.

At the beginning of the treatment, the nurse will apply ultrasound gel to the area to be treated and then place the laser handpiece directly on top of the gel and glide the laser along the treatment area. The tip of the handpiece is chilled both to protect the skin and increase comfort. However, the treatment is not expected to be exactly “comfortable”. People commonly describe the sensation of effective laser hair removal as “a hot rubber band snapping against the skin”, “little pinches”, and “little needles”.

During the treatment, the nurse will be constantly evaluating your skin response. Possible reactions include mild to moderate redness and small red bumps, which are the result of individual hair follicles swelling slightly because they were effectively targeted by the laser. Typically the redness and/or bumps resolve within an hour or so. Occasionally the bumps can persist for 1-2 days. Not everyone develops redness or bumps.

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