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Laser hair removal is the preferred way to eliminate unwanted hair from anywhere on your body. This semi-permanent option requires a few treatments to effectively remove up to 99 percent of hair growth. Then, you may need touch-up treatments every few months to maintain complete smoothness in the treatment area. Here’s how to prepare for your first laser hair removal session.

Stop Tanning

Having tan skin can interfere with laser hair removal. After all, the laser targets the melanin in your hair follicle, so having darker skin can make it difficult for the laser to distinguish between the pigment in your hair and the pigment in your skin.

Follow your dermatologist’s advice about avoiding sun exposure. You may need to stop tanning for up to six weeks and wear sunscreen whenever you go outside to let your skin lighten in preparation for laser hair removal.

Avoid Sunless Tanner

You should stay away from tanning lotions that darken your skin before receiving your first laser treatment. In fact, your doctor may even prescribe skin bleaching cream if you have darker skin or a recent tan to help the laser do its job more effectively.

Discontinue Using Other Hair Removal Methods

Starting at least four weeks before your first laser session, stop plucking and waxing your hair. These hair removal methods take out the root, which can disrupt the effectiveness of laser treatment. You can continue shaving to keep your skin smooth, but make sure your hair follicles are intact, or the laser will have nothing to target during treatment.

Avoid Certain Medications

Some drugs can interfere with the laser hair removal process or make your skin more sensitive, resulting in greater discomfort during your session. To avoid disrupting any concurrent treatments you’re receiving, speak up about the medications you’re taking or have taken recently. You may not need to discontinue any medicines, but maintaining open communication is critical for your safety.

Ask your dermatologist about which drugs you should avoid leading up to laser hair removal, which may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Hormone treatments
  • Antibiotics or topical products containing Retinol
  • Acne medication
  • Photosensitizing medicine

Shave a Day or Two Before

Shaving 24 to 48 hours before your laser treatment removes hair above the skin that could result in damage from burned hairs. At the same time, it leaves the hair shaft and follicle intact below the surface for the laser to target effectively.

Schedule a Laser Hair Removal Consultation

For the best results, choose a board-certified dermatologist to perform your laser hair removal. A pre-treatment consultation helps you determine if this hair removal method is safe and effective for you based on your medical history, any skin disorders you have, your hair and skin color, and other factors.

To schedule a laser hair removal consultation in Rolling Meadows, IL, or to learn more about our other laser procedures, please call Arlington Dermatology at (847) 725-0824.