As soon as the summer sunshine rolls in, that’s when most people start thinking about getting laser hair removal so that they can show off their smooth beach body all summer long. But the truth is that the summer might not be the best time to begin your LHR treatments, unless you’re planning on staying indoors and avoiding the sun. Instead, here’s why you should consider getting your LHR done in the fall, after your summer tan has faded.
Laser Hair Removal Is Most Effective on Light Skin and Dark Hair
Although innovative laser technology can now treat a much broader range of skin tones, because of the way that laser hair removal works, it’s still most effective when there is a greater contrast between the color of your skin and hair.
The laser light targets the melanin in your hair to find and disable the follicle, which is what prevents it from growing back.
If your skin color is very close to the color of your hair, it can be challenging to target only the follicle. That’s why once your tan has faded, you can expect much better results from LHR.
You’ll Need to Stay out of the Sun
Exposing your skin to the sun (or indoor tanning beds) before, during or directly after your laser hair removal could lead to complications and lower the quality of your results. You should stay out of the sun for the duration of your treatment, starting at least 30 days prior to your first session and ending 30 days following your last treatment. If you are going to be outside during this time, be sure to apply SPF 30 sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
Multiple Treatments Are Necessary for Best Results
Laser hair removal is a process involving multiple treatment sessions, so if you start your first session at the beginning of the summer, you won’t be finished in time to enjoy its benefits during that same season.
Laser hair removal works by targeting hair in its active growth, or anagen, phase. Because not every follicle will be in this stage of growth at the same time, the laser can’t effectively treat all of your hair at once. While you’ll likely see a noticeable difference after each treatment session, your final results may require 6 to 9 appointments.
Waxing between Sessions Is a No-No
For many people, waxing is the preferred method of hair removal in the summer, but while you’re getting laser hair removal, you’ll need to avoid waxing the treated areas. This is also related to the way that the laser targets only actively growing hair.
When you wax or pluck your hair, you remove it entirely from the follicle, thus leaving nothing for the laser to target. You can, however, shave in between sessions, as this doesn’t interfere with the hair follicle.
Be Ready in Time for Next Bikini Season
If you really want to have smooth, summer-ready skin, the best time to think about getting LHR is just after all of your fun in the sun has come to a close for the season. That way, you can work on prepping for next summer during the cooler months when you won’t have to be as concerned about sun exposure, tanning and traditional hair removal methods. And by the time next bikini season rolls around, you’ll already have the smooth, glowing skin to show off at the beach.
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.