What to Expect During Your Laser Hair Removal Visit
Deciding to have a laser hair removal procedure performed can be a frightening thing if it's your first time. You've made the move towards successful hair removal, but now you aren't sure what to expect. The step-by-step process of laser hair removal is described below to give you an idea of what to expect during your visit.
When You Arrive
You'll arrive at your provider's office with anxiety just as any other person would naturally.
Treat it just like a simple visit to the doctor. If asked to wait, do so with relaxation. Read a magazine or book, or take a friend with you if possible. This will enable you to keep your mind off of the procedure. Print some positive testimonials about laser hair removal from the internet to take with you, and read them while waiting. This will help you to look forward to the outcome, not dread the procedure.
Have your payment for the procedure figured out before you arrive. This also helps relieve stress. Whether you're paying a deposit, all up front or financing, you'll want to settle that before your appointment day if possible. There's nothing worse than money "surprises" when you're already anxious!
Time for the Procedure
Before starting the procedure, the targeted area of your skin will be washed and prepped using alcohol. You, along with everyone present, will need to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from the laser.
Next, the one performing the procedure will take a moment to find just the right laser light energy settings for you. The targeted area will be numbed if the technician feels it's necessary. This will again depend on your pigmentation level and/or the sensitivity of the targeted area.
When the procedure begins, a laser beam will be aimed at your hair follicles in the area where the removal is taking place (i.e. your face, arm, back, etc.). Your hair follicles have dark pigmentation, but the amount of pigmentation will depend on your natural hair and skin tones. These hair follicle pigments will absorb the laser's energy, but the energy is dissipated before reaching your skin. If you have dark skin and hair, your pigmentation will absorb more of the light than a person with little pigmentation. In this case, there's always the possibility of slight skin absorbance or over-absorbance of the light's energy, which could cause a little more discomfort.
After the follicles absorb enough energy from the laser, they die and are no longer able to grow hair. If you're taking advantage of the latest technology in laser hair removal called "intense pulsed light", you'll be glad to know that this is a highly improved version of the procedure.
IPL is a non-coherent laser, and enables very targeted, controlled laser exposure. Less damage occurs to the patient's skin, and therefore, less side effects are experienced.
How Does the Laser Feel?
Have you ever snapped a rubber band on your skin? This is similar to how it feels as your follicles absorb the energy from the laser. The feeling may be more intense for some people.
Is it Painful?
Pain levels are normally classified as "mild to moderate discomfort". This will often depend on where the hair removal is needed as well as your skin or hair tone for absorbancy levels. Some areas of the body are more sensitive or tender than others. As mentioned above, the more pigmentation you have, the more absorbance can occur. Before your visit, maybe you can ask for references or search online for people who have had the exact same procedure as yourself to find out how it went. For example, if you're having hair removed from your face, locate some other people who have had hair removed from the face, and ask questions. Most people are more than willing to share their experiences!
How Long Does a Procedure Last?
Your procedure may last up to thirty or forty minutes if the removal is for a large area such as the entire legs. For really small areas, it may take only a few minutes, and there are some in between. It really depends on your individual needs. Your provider should be able to give you an estimated time frame beforehand.
What to Expect After the Procedure
When the procedure is complete, you might experience minor side effects such as swelling, which usually lasts only a few hours. The targeted hair may feel very thick, but eventually will dissipate after one or two weeks. Since this is only your first visit, expect to see some hair that did not absorb enough energy to dissipate. This is why multiple visits are required to completely smooth out the area. Don't be overly excited about the results of your first visit. Patience is necessary to follow through with the hair removal process. The first visit will show some improvement, but multiple visits are the key to successful removal.
After several visits, you'll see very noticeable results. Remember, laser hair removal is a very popular procedure and many have gone before you. There are plenty of people who can share their experience with you. So, relax and enjoy your new look!
This article was written by Candice Pardue.