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Laser hair removal: Preparation

Laser hair removal: Be prepared with these facts

Although laser hair removal is a common treatment, it’s also a serious procedure that involves aiming a powerful laser beam at your hair follicle. Watch this video to gather important information prior to scheduling an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.

To protect your health and find out what results you want, a dermatologist always offers a consultation before performing laser hair removal. To help you get the most benefit from this consultation, you should: 

  • Ask questions

  • Gather important information before your consultation

This page tells you what questions to ask and what information to gather.

Questions to ask before having laser hair removal

To ensure your treatment meets your expectations, ask the following questions before laser hair removal:

  • Will a board-certified dermatologist perform the laser hair removal?

  • How many of these laser treatments has the doctor performed on people with my skin coloring?

  • How many laser treatments will I need?

  • What results can I expect?

  • What will I need to do before getting laser hair removal?

  • What are the potential side effects?

  • Do I have a higher risk for any side effects?

  • May I see before-and-after photos or speak with patients you treated with laser hair removal?

  • How much will the treatment cost?

During the consultation, your dermatologist also can tell you whether another treatment would be a better option for you. 

Information to tell your dermatologist before laser hair removal

Before you have laser hair removal, be sure to tell your dermatologist if you have:

  • A tendency to scar.

  • A recent tan.

  • Ever had a keloid (type of raised scar).

  • A tendency to get outbreaks of cold sores or genital herpes.

  • Taken isotretinoin (a medicine used to treat severe acne) — or are taking any other medicine, including medicine that you buy without a prescription, such as aspirin.

The dermatologist also will examine your skin because the success of this procedure depends on considering a number of factors. These factors include where the unwanted hair is on the body, the color and coarseness of the hair, and where the hair is in its growth cycle.

Follow your dermatologist’s instructions

If you have laser hair removal, it is important to start following your dermatologist’s instructions immediately. This helps reduce potential side effects. Your dermatologist’s instructions will include: 

  • Do not tan (outdoors and indoors).

  • Do not use sunless tanners.

  • Protect your skin by using sunscreen. You should apply the sunscreen every day before going outdoors. Apply sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30+, and water-resistant. 

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