Sunday, February 17, 2008

How should I prepare for treatment and what should I expect after treatment?

You should shave the area to be treated 1-3 days before treatment (some clinics will offer to do this for you, but beware of irritation caused by disposable razors etc). No waxing or removing hair with the root with any other way is allowed 4-6 weeks before and throughout the course of treatment as hair needs to be in place to be targeted by laser. The area should be shaved as closely as possible so that laser can target the most energy towards the hair follicle and not waste energy on the part of the hair above the skin’s surface. If your hair is the type that you can’t see where it was right after you shave, make it a bit easier on your tech not to miss the spots you want treated by shaving 1-3 days before so the outline of where hair is growing is just VERY slightly visible.

After treatment is completed (underarms take under 10 minutes, back treatment can take 1 hour or so), you should apply aloe vera to soothe the skin for a few days. Within 2-3.5 weeks, you should experience shedding of all treated hair. At first, hair will look like it’s growing back in, but it is just coming through the skin to shed. Shedding starts at about 1.5 weeks and can last until 3.5 weeks post-treatment or so. Exfoliating and/or scrubbing gently in the shower with a loofa can help speed up the process. After shedding finishes, you might experience little black dots still “stuck” in the skin. These are commonly referred to as “pepperspots” and will shed eventually, but might take a bit longer. Exfoliate to help those out as well.

After shedding occurs, you should experience a hairfree period for a few weeks, until next set of hair that was dormant before starts to come in. Once you have enough to justify one, go in for another treatment. This usually happens within 6-10 weeks post-treatment. Patient continues this process until he/she has reached diminishing returns and the remaining hairs are too fine for laser to target, or until you have reached you desired reduction.

If you don’t experience shedding, the settings used might have been too low and you should inform your technician that it didn’t happen. Also, if you feel that a lot of hair didn’t shed, the technician might have missed a lot of areas, and you might consider asking for a free touch-up. This should be done 4 weeks after treatment as by then shedding will be complete and you will know that whatever remains wasn’t affected. Certain clinics might offer these touch-ups free of charge when you sign up for treatments as their standard practice.