What To Expect After Laser Hair Removal



What To Expect After Laser Hair Removal

Getting rid of unwanted hair has never been easier. Thanks to laser hair removal treatments, you can now say farewell to the tedious task of waxing, shaving, or tweezing. It’s a convenient treatment that promises to permanently remove embarrassing hair anywhere on the body in less than 20 to 30 minutes, minus the excruciating pain and hassle. 

If you’ve never had a laser hair removal treatment before or have recently had your first session, you may have questions. In this in-depth guide on what to expect after laser hair removal, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about the entire experience and the results you can look forward to so you’ll have a better idea of what’s in store.

Let’s get started!

What to Expect After Laser Hair Removal: A Timeline 

Here’s a quick walk-through of the changes and results to expect after laser hair removal, from day one to one year after your first procedure.

After the Procedure 

Redness and swelling are common after-effect that you can expect after a laser hair removal treatment. There’s no reason to panic or get worried because these will eventually clear up on their own after a couple of hours. 

In some cases, your doctor or laser technician may apply a topical steroid cream to the treatment area to reduce the skin’s sensitivity and reaction to the treatment. Once you get home, you can also apply ice to the area or take over-the-counter medicine like Tylenol to reduce your discomfort. If blisters develop, contact your doctor immediately, who will prescribe a topical antibiotic ointment as a preventive measure for potential infection. 

Laser technician applying topical anesthetic on patient’s underarms

One Week After

Hair on the treated area will not fall out right after your first laser session. It usually happens at least a week later. During this time, you will notice some hair shedding. This is entirely normal and is a part of the natural cycle of hair loss and regrowth. This is why multiple treatment sessions timed while the hair follicles are at their active growth stage is highly recommended.  

Do not apply any skincare or makeup product on the treated area for up to two weeks after your laser treatment. If you had laser hair removal in your underarms, skip the deodorant for a couple of weeks while the skin is still sensitive.

4-6 Weeks After

The treated area will be smooth for about four to six weeks following your first treatment. After this timeframe, you should notice little amounts of fine hairs growing again. Do not tweeze or wax. They will be targeted and addressed during your next laser hair removal treatment, which should be scheduled around this time.

Within 3 Months

At this point, you should have already gone through two treatment sessions. The legs, bikini area, chest, facial area, underarms, and arms should see at least 50% of the hair gone. The results will vary depending on your skin type, but it’s safe to assume that you will see a significant reduction in the amount of hair on these treatment areas at this time.

Within 6 Months To A Year

Ideally, you should have completed all treatment sessions recommended by your doctor at this time and be confidently flaunting more flawless and hair-free skin.

Multiple Treatment Sessions

Laser hair removal is a permanent procedure, but it does take multiple sessions to complete. Most patients require two to six treatment sessions. The amount of sessions needed and the interval between each one depends on the treatment area. 

Typically, hair removal treatments may be necessary every four to eight weeks in areas where hair grows rapidly, like the upper lip. On the other hand, in some areas where hair growth is at a much slower pace, like the back, your doctor may recommend doing each treatment 12 to 16 weeks apart. 

Female patient getting laser hair removal on her upper lip

Your Hair May Grow Back

Results may vary depending on several factors, but most patients report lasting for six months up to over a year. In some cases, the hair may regrow, particularly when the follicle has been damaged but not completely destroyed by the laser treatment. Although the results are permanent, the truth is it can be pretty difficult to destroy every existing hair follicle you have because they’re either too light in color or short for the laser to target accurately. Some may even be resistant to laser hair removal treatment.  

Nevertheless, new hair growth is still noticeably thinner, less dark, and barely noticeable when compared to pre-laser treatment conditions. Your doctor may recommend touch-up treatments for maintenance once every quarter or even a year. 

You Can Say “Adios” to Ingrown Hair!

One of the most underrated benefits of laser hair removal treatments is that you’re less at risk of developing skin irritation in the form of pesky and painful bumps due to ingrown hairs. This is because the procedure stimulates the hair follicles to grow straight.

Amazing Results No Matter Your Skin Colour

Gone are the days when laser hair removal treatments were exclusive to people with fair complexions. Thanks to the latest laser technologies, now anyone, regardless of skin tone, can look forward to baby-smooth and hair-free skin. While it is true that laser hair removal for those with darker skin tones or those with red hair is a little more complicated, today’s cutting-edge laser hair removal systems have evolved to target previously difficult to remove hair colours.

Tips for Longer-Lasting Results

Sun Protection Is a Must

Sun protection is an essential part of any skincare routine. It becomes exponentially more crucial after getting a laser-based treatment because your skin becomes photosensitive. Direct sun exposure after laser hair removal can cause irreversible damage to the skin, such as hyperpigmentation.

We highly recommend our patients stay out of the sun at least seven to 14 days before and after each laser treatment. We cannot proceed with treatment if the skin has been exposed to sunlight during this period. This restriction doesn’t change even if you’re already on your last session, it’s cloudy, or it’s the winter season. The sun’s harmful rays can still cause side effects on your laser-treated skin. 

Therefore, make it a habit to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher. Reapply it every couple of hours or more frequently if you’re directly under the sun, swimming, or sweating a lot. Likewise, you will need to stay away from tanning beds and topical sun tanning lotions until after you have completed all your laser hair removal treatments. 

Woman applying sunscreen lotion on her arms

Skip the Gym or Hot Showers

As the skin becomes more sensitive after laser treatments, you should not expose the treated area to excess heat for at least 24 to 48 hours. This includes saunas, hot showers, hot compresses, heading to your gym to work out, or any similar activity that involves feeling hot and sweating. If you do, you make your skin a warm and moist environment and a hotbed for bacteria to multiply.

Update Your Skincare Regime

While you’re going through your laser hair removal treatments, you’ll notice some changes in the overall quality of your skin. It’s best to steer clear from exfoliants, glycolic acid, and retinol creams at least two days before and after treatment to avoid running into irritations while your skin is still sensitive. In addition, your skin may also become drier than usual. If this happens, incorporate moisturizers and hydrating products such as face mists into your skincare routine.

Get Beautiful, Hair-Free Skin at McLean Clinic

Start your journey to getting that gorgeous, flawless, and stubble-free skin you’ve always wanted. Check out McLean Clinic’s LightSheer Duet Laser Hair Removal – it’s a quick and comfortable hair removal treatment performed by our skincare experts in the privacy of our Mississauga clinic.

For more in-depth information about what to expect after laser hair removal and its many exciting benefits, don’t hesitate to call McLean Clinic today. Our friendly skincare specialists would be more than happy to assist you.


May 8, 2021

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