If you’re tired of the bumps, nicks, and cuts associated with shaving, laser hair removal might be right for you. But like any medical procedure, you need to do your homework. It’s more than just “zapping” unwanted hair. As a consumer, you must realize it is still a serious procedure with potentially harmful risks and side effects. Here are the do’s and don’ts:
Do Consult a Qualified Physician—Be cautious of non-physicians practicing these procedures in spas and salons. Only physicians and trained technicians should be performing a procedure.
Do Ask Questions—What kind of lasers do they use? What kind of training or experience do they have? Can you speak with one of their clients? If the person performing the procedure can’t answer these simple questions, walk away.
Do Undergo a Skin Test—If you are nervous about how the laser may interact with the skin, ask for a skin test to ensure there will be no adverse side effects.
Do Ensure the Technician Has Experience With Different Skin Types—People of a darker complexion may experience unusual lightening of the skin if an incorrect laser is used at an inappropriate setting.
Don’t Tan Before or After a Procedure—Sun exposure prior to a treatment can interfere with the absorption of laser light and may cause unusual lightening of the skin. Artificial tanning lotions should also be avoided because the perceived darker pigmentation may also interfere with the absorption of the laser on the skin causing unusual burns and bumps.
Don’t Seek Laser Treatments for Blonde or White Hair—Because laser responds to darker pigmented hair follicles, laser treatments are not as effective in treating lighter colored hair. Patients with this type of hair should consider other methods of hair removal.
Don’t Undergo Laser Procedures If You Take Light-Sensitive Medication—Some medications may interfere with laser procedures, making the skin more susceptible to burning and scarring. Consult a physician before undergoing any laser treatment.