Laser skin treatments have come a long way in recent years and are now some of the most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedures across the country. Whilelasers can address a large variety of skin concerns, including uneven skin tone, acne scars, wrinkles, enlarged pores and unwanted hair, there are some limitations to laser skin treatments that you need to know.
If you can relate to one or more of these four situations, you might want to skip out on laser treatments, at least for the time being.
1. You’ve Just Finished Another Treatment
When cosmetic surgeons or laser technicians talk about combining various skin treatments to achieve maximum results, this generally does not mean literally scheduling multiple procedures at the same time. For example, if you’ve just had a chemical peel or microdermabrasion session, you want to give your skin enough time to recover before adding a laser skin treatment into the mix.
All three of these common cosmetic procedures aim to speed up your skin’s natural desquamation, or exfoliation, process. Thus, scheduling them all at once can end up backfiring and damaging your skin. Instead, carefully plan your timeline for multiple skin treatments with your cosmetic surgeon or laser specialist to ensure that you get the best results and don’t harm your skin.
2. You’ve Been Sunning Yourself Like a Lizard
Laser skin treatments and the sun just don’t mix.
Whether you’re getting laser hair removal, laser skin rejuvenation or even laser tattoo removal, you’re going to need to commit to staying out of the sun for the duration of your treatments. First, your skin will be more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays while you’re getting laser skin treatments, so exposure to sunlight during this time can cause burning, scarring and other signs of skin damage.
Secondly, in the case of laser hair removal, the treatments work by targeting the pigment in your hair follicles. If your skin is very tan, the laser will have a much more difficult time distinguishing between the pigment in your hair and the pigment in your skin, which can hinder your results.
3. You’ve Recently Waxed
If you’re considering getting laser hair removal, waxing is a no-no right before and during your treatments. When you wax, you actually remove the entire hair follicle, leaving nothing for the laser to target. Shaving, on the other hand, is encouraged directly before your laser hair removal sessions, as this triggers hair growth.
Keep in mind that laser hair removal typically requires 6 to 9 treatment sessions, each spaced about 8 to 10 weeks apart. Throughout this entire period, you’ll need to steer clear of waxing or plucking.
4. Your Hair or Skin Tone Aren’t Right for the Procedure
In a perfect world, all laser skin treatments would work wonders on all skin tones and hair colors. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Although advanced laser technology now allows for many different skin tones to benefit from laser skin treatments, including laser hair removal, there is still an increased risk of unwanted side effects with darker skin tones if the incorrect wavelength is used.
Additionally, women and men with blond, gray or white hair are not good candidates for laser hair removal because their hair does not contain enough pigment for the laser to effectively target. The ideal candidate for laser hair removal will have dark, coarse hair and light skin.
Caroll Delo is a board certified laser technician at Simply Smooth Laser Center in Tampa, a niche practice that focuses specifically on laser treatments. Simply Smooth Laser Center offers the most advanced options in laser hair removal, laser skin rejuvenation and laser tattoo removal.