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15 things you need to know before getting laser hair removal

1. Laser hair removal does not actually work by using magic.

This treatment uses a cosmetic laser that has settings adjusted to both your skin and hair type. The laser fires a concentrated beam of light that's directed at the pigment in your hair follicles. This kills the follicle at its root, preventing those suckers from growing back.


2. Stay out of the sun before your session.

At *least* four weeks before, to be exact. You can't receive this treatment if you're sunburned — or even if you have a tan. Summer might not be the best time to start laser hair removal if you're a fan of the outdoors. A lot of people start treatments in the fall or winter in order to have stubble-free skin by summer!


3. You must shave the area you’re getting lasered.

Do NOT proceed to come in with your hairy self. This isn't like waxing, and you don't need to grow your unwanted hair out beforehand.

On that note, you can't come in for laser hair removal if you've had a wax recently. Remember: The laser targets the PIGMENT of your hair follicle, and the follicle actually has to be there in order for this to work.

The best thing you can do is shave a day before your appointment. If you don't, your physician will most likely provide you with a razor so you can get 'er done!


4. Stay away from tanning beds, spray tans, and tanning lotion.

Don't think you can get away with this, either. If you're for reals about this, queue up some Netflix shows and embrace the indoors for a while!


5. Laser hair removal doesn’t automatically make you silky smooth after your first treatment.

We, too, was hoping that the process was a BAM one-and-done kinda deal, but alas it is not. Dr. Michele Green, a board-certified dermatologist in NYC, tells BuzzFeed that it takes between five to six sessions of laser hair removal in order to see phenomenal results.

6. Getting laser hair removal near the eyes is a BIG no.

Listen, we know cosmetic lasers may LOOK all pretty and innocent with their colored beams of light, but they can be seriously dangerous around the eyes. No matter where you're receiving treatment, you should always wear eye protection, which your physician will provide.

7. If you want to see results, you have to be consistent.

Hear me out: There's a good reason for this. Your hair follicles are on their own growth cycle. People who see the best results typically go in for treatment every four to six weeks in order to maximize the potential of zappin' the most follicles. This time frame allows the dead hair shafts to fall out on their own.

8. You should see prominent results after three months.


We are all queen of impatience, but trust us, you'll want to stick with it. After the first few treatments you might not see much of a difference, but we started to notice a dramatic drop in my unwanted follicles after the three-month mark — and even more after that.


9. Some hair and skin types can be a little harder to treat — but not impossible.

Dark hair follicles are usually easy to treat because, again, the laser targets the hair's pigment. This is also why gray, white, blonde, and red pigments can be tricky.

Darker tones can also be harder to treat, but not impossible.

"I do have a different laser that can treat darker skin types such as African-American and tan skin," Green says.

The ND:Yag laser is typically best for this. However, it's best to talk to your physician first in order to avoid pigment discoloration.


10. The treatment itself isn't particularly relaxing.

I'll be real with you. Every time the laser fires, it feels like someone is snapping you with a rubber band. Sounds SUPER enticing, right? But the long-term result should be worth the half hour of pain.


11. Lather up that sunscreen post-treatment.

Listen, sunscreen should be your BFF in general, but definitely use it after your treatment. Your skin will be sensitive — even if it doesn't feel like it — and you need to protect it as much as possible.


12. DO NOT wax or pluck after your treatment, though.

Shaving is totally fine, but PUT DOWN THE TWEEZERS. Pulling out hair follicles after your laser hair removal treatment hinders the process. Your unwanted hair needs to fall out on its own in order to see the best results.


13. Also avoid perfumes, deodorant, and hot showers

Just for 24 to 48 hours after treatment, and take lukewarm showers for the first week. After that, you're golden!


14. So, is laser hair removal actually SAFE?

"Laser hair is a safe and effective treatment when performed in a board certified dermatologist's office," Green says. "It gives permanent hair reduction and is safe, fast, and effective."


15. And the most important question… is it worth it?

A THOUSAND TIMES YES! Especially when you are doing it at home!

Laser hair removal doesn't guarantee to remove 100% of your unwanted hair, but the few stragglers that do grow back are pretty much unnoticeable. I've gone two months without shaving my legs before, and gone are all my prickly woes. Basically, enduring laser hair removal treatments equals YOUR FREEDOM FROM THE STUBBLE STRUGGLE.