You decided to take the plunge and get a laser treatment. Hooray! You’re one step closer to hairlessness or at least the degree of hairlessness that you’re seeking. While your dermatologist or laser treatment provider should be your primary resource, sometimes it helps calm the nerves to listen to someone who’s gone through the experience.
Laser treatments aren’t cheap, so you should arm yourself with all the knowledge you can to make sure your investment pans out smoothly (see what I did there?).
Here is a pretty decent list of things you should know BEFORE you go in for your first laser treatment:
1. Mind Your Skin Tone
Lasers work by targeting the melanin in the hair and destroying the corresponding follicle. Making some lasers difficult or ineffective for use on darker skin tones. Recently, however, there are newer models of lasers that work on ranges of skin tones. Your laser treatment provider will choose the best laser for you.
2. Hair Beware, But Where?!
A BIG question first-time laserees have is where exactly on their body they can receive the treatment. Well, guess what? Most of your body is fair game—arms, legs, chest, back, pubic hair, and even the anus (sorry if that’s TMI, but it’s good to know). The only places where lasers will not be used are for eyebrows or anywhere near your eyes.
3. Brace Your Bank Account
More and more people are seeing groupons pop up that are valid for laser treatments. If you’re lucky enough to scoop one of those up, it’ll set you back anywhere from $99-$300 for several sessions on a medium-to-large area. Buying in bulk seems to be the best way to save when it comes to this type of treatment. And many medical spas offer bundle deals.
4. Don’t Show Up As Chewbacca
You will have to shave the area being lasers PRIOR to treatment. It’s best if this is done a day or two beforehand to prevent skin irritation from the laser. Some places will charge you if you show up unshaved. Just do it yourself.
5. On A Scale Of 1-10—How’s The Pain
The initial sessions are usually manageable. The sensation is like the snapping of a rubberband on the skin following by a brief cool. As long as you’re consistent with your treatments, you should be fine. However, if you wait too long between treatments the pain quickly increases. Stick to your schedule if you can help it—trust me. They also provide you with safety goggles because staring straight at the laser can damage your eyes.
6. Can I Fit This In During Lunch
Laser hair removal is astonishingly quick, depending—of course—on your technician’s style and how many breaks you need to take. Brazilians can take around 10-15 minutes, but most treatments should easily be able to be constrained within a lunch hour (as long as there’s no wait time at the med spa).
7. What Results Should You Expect
Results will vary for several reasons. Your skin type, the area being treated, how properly hydrated and nourished you are, etc. The list goes on. The truth is, there’s no way to know definitively how anyone will react to laser treatment. Most people do very well and see favorable results with only a few treatments, some need a few more to get where they want to be.
8. A Note About Tanning
Do NOT tan before your laser treatment, you will be turned away. As lasers cannot be used on sun-tanned or sun-burnt skin.
That’s it. Now all that’s left to do is show up. Good luck!