When is the best time to have laser hair removal done?

When is the best time to have laser hair removal done?

The best time to have laser hair removal done is when you are not tan.

Tanned skin competes with the hair follicle for the laser light. Tanning increases the melanin in your skin and your skin then becomes a target for the laser light just the same as a dark colored hair follicle. The goal is for the laser to pass through the skin and only treat the hair follicle. Another negative result of sun exposure is that the sunlight tends to bleach or lighten the color of the hair follicle. In general, since the laser targets dark objects, lightening the hair color would make the treatment less effective.

One of the worst complications after laser hair removal is skin burn. This is rarely seen after a treatment done by an experienced professional on a light skinned and non tanned individual. Tanning, even after it has partially faded, just increases the risk of a skin burn. Although most burns heal eventually heal without scarring or pigmentation problems, why take the chance? Partially faded tanned skin requires us to turn the energy down on the laser to prevent a burn. The less energy applied, the less effective the treatment. That just translates to wasted money and unhappy clients.

Some people may be tempted to use a self tanning cream or product to get around the tanning restriction. This will not work because the laser sees and targets anything dark, including fake tanned skin and a burn is more likely to result.

So just follow the rules and plan ahead. Laser hair removal lasts a long time and only periodic touchups are needed after that. Get the majority of the treatments done before the hot, sunny days arrive!

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.