Unwanted body hair can be a bother for some men who prefer smooth skin. If you’re looking to permanently reduce or eliminate hairs in stubborn spots, laser hair removal may be a good option. While about 82% of patients who undergo this treatment are women, it can be just as successful and popular for almost 20% of men.
Although lasers provide long-lasting hair reduction, you play a key role in ensuring the best results. Proper preparation and careful aftercare are crucial. You can’t just show up and expect the laser to do all the work.
That said, this article will introduce you to some simple but helpful tips before and after your appointment. Getting these recommendations done will ensure you get the smooth, hair-free outcome you want with minimal discomfort. So, keep reading!
- Know what to expect
It’s a good idea to clear up some misconceptions first. Lasers can’t immediately vaporize all your hair off, alright? The reality is that laser hair removal for men (even more so for women) can take some time, patience, and several sessions. Here’s a quick rundown of what really goes down: the laser targets pigment in your hair follicles, essentially damaging them so they won’t grow new hairs properly. You’ll need several sessions spaced, typically four to six weeks apart, to fully treat an area.
Now, for the not-so-fun part, the laser will definitely sting a bit. It’s been described as a hot rubber band snapping against your skin. The good news is that the zapping only lasts a split second per pulse. Your technician may also offer numbing creams or other ways to make it more comfortable. Don’t worry about the pain – most guys consider the sting tolerable as long as you’re mentally prepared for it.
- Avoid sun exposure
If you’re planning for a laser hair removal, that summer tan you’re working on needs to go, at least in the areas you want treated. As mentioned earlier, the lasers work by targeting melanin, the pigment that feeds your skin and hair its color. So, if you have a tan or sunburn, the laser will end up burning your skin while trying to zap your hair.
To avoid any UV-related mishaps, avoid tanning or burning for at least six weeks pre-treatment. If you’re going out, be diligent about sunscreen and shade. And in between sessions, stay shielded or at least minimize your time being spent outdoors. Stay disciplined about avoiding sun exposure, and you can surely earn that smooth skin in no time.
- Get your skin prepped beforehand
Got a laser hair removal session coming up? Then, it’s time to get that skin prepared.
Shave or carefully trim the area about 24 to 48 hours pre-treatment. Just don’t opt for plucking or waxing since that can mess with the hair follicles you want to be zapped.
Next up, exfoliate. Gently scrub away those dead skin cells so the laser can penetrate better. But don’t overdo it, as harsh exfoliants right before can cause irritation.
Lastly, resist the urge to procrastinate on the pre-prep. Remember, skipping this step means skipping out on results.
- Give your body a helping hand through rest and water
Laser hair removal will go smoother if you help your body out by resting up and hydrating before your session. So, drink plenty of H2O the day before, as proper hydration allows your body to handle the zaps better. Don’t skimp on sleep as well. Well-hydrated and well-rested skin can heal up faster and are likely to experience less irritation.
- Use prescribed topical anesthetics
Your technician may prescribe a topical anesthetic cream to apply before the procedure. This will numb the skin surface and make the laser treatment more tolerable. Be sure to follow directions and allow adequate time for the anesthetic to take effect. Never apply more than directed.
- Use post-treatment products as directed
After you walk out of your laser hair removal session, never try to ‘just wing it’ with skincare. Your technician will give you a rundown on what products to use and how often, such as aloe vera or hydrocortisone cream. The aloe vera is meant to soothe and cool your treated skin, while the hydrocortisone cream reduces inflammation. Taking at least five minutes to use these products, as advised, will save you a lot of discomfort down the road.
- Keep the area clean and avoid heat & friction
At this point, it’s time to help the treated area recover and heal faster. So, while you’re tempted to resume your workout routine at the gym or go for a hot shower, it’s best to avoid these activities for a while and keep your skin clean and cool.
Gently wash the treated areas with lukewarm water and mild soap. Then, pat dry softly and avoid vigorous scrubbing. You may also have to avoid friction from tight clothes, so go for loose, breathable fabrics. And skin the sauna or hot tub for at least 48 hours post-treatment.
If things start stinging or swelling, whip out an ice pack to soothe the area and reduce inflammation. And, of course, stay out of the sun so you don’t risk burning the sensitive, newly treated area.
- Minimize shaving and tweezing
Shaving or tweezing right after lasers can disturb the hair follicles you just paid good money to damage. You need to give them time to shed naturally, which takes one to two weeks typically. So, resist digging in with the razor or tweezers. If hairs get unruly, a gentle trim is okay, but avoid digging at the skin. Also, go easy on exfoliating. Lightly slough away dead skin to encourage shedding, but no need to scrub too harshly.
- Watch for side effects
As per the American Academy of Dermatology, some redness, swelling, and tenderness are totally normal after laser hair removal. But if you notice anything unusual like excessive irritation, worsening pain, fever, and other suspicious symptoms, don’t just shrug them off. Contact your technician’s office if you have any concerns, as they know best.
Laser hair removal can be a game changer if you want to go hair-free for good. But the lasers don’t do all the hard work – you’ve got to put in some effort, too. Remember to be diligent with the pre-laser preparations and don’t slack on the aftercare. If you stay on top of it all, you’ll surely be smoother and stubble-free before you know it!
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2018. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.