Shaving. Tweezing. Waxing. Ugh. There’s a lot of time and money that goes into removing  unwanted body hair, but what if there was a permanent solution?

Laser Hair RemovalLaser hair removal is a virtually painless medical procedure that can be conducted almost anywhere on the body to remove unwanted body hair, including the legs, underarms, upper lip, chin and bikini line.

Before undergoing laser hair removal, here are five things you should know to assist you in having the best experience possible.

1. How does laser hair removal work?

Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a laser to remove unwanted hair. The laser is a pulsing beam of light that travels at a fraction of a second and passes through the skin to an individual hair follicle. The heat from the laser damages the hair follicle so that the hair cannot grow in the future. Depending on the size of the area being treated, a session can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour and it may take several session to remove all of the unwanted hair. After a session, the skin may feel and look sunburned for the next couple of days. Cool compresses and moisturizers may help with irritation. Over the next month, treated hair will begin to fall out.

2. Am I a good candidate for laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal works best for people who have light skin and dark hair. This is because the laser beam targets the melanin, or pigment, in the hair. Advances in technology have made it easier for people with darker skin to undergo laser hair removal, but it still may be less effective. For those with white, gray, red or blonde hair, laser hair removal is typically less effective. Before undergoing laser hair removal, consult with your doctor about how effective laser hair removal will be for you.

3. What does it feel like to have laser hair removal?

When you arrive for your session, your hair will be trimmed to a few millimeters above the skin surface. During your session, you will need to wear eye protection. You will also have to protect the outer layers of your skin with a cooling gel or special cooling device.  Depending on the area being treated, there may be no pain or the laser may feel uncomfortable. After, you may experience skin irritation. This usually only lasts for a few hours and may include discomfort, redness or swelling.

4. What results can I expect from laser hair removal?

The results of laser hair removal vary from person to person. Depending on your body and the area being treated, it may take anywhere from six to 12 sessions to see full results. Because laser hair removal works on hair in the active stage, it may take several sessions to target all of the hair. Despite the number of treatments a person undergoes, hair regrowth is still possible.

5. How do I prepare for a laser hair removal session?

Before your laser hair removal session, you should avoid tweezing, electrolysis and waxing for up to six weeks. The lasers target the hairs’ roots, which are temporarily removed if you tweeze or wax the area. However, shaving is still allowed since it does not affect the hair follicle. You should also avoid the sun before and after your session. A tan may increase the risk of side effects such as skin lightening.