Woman getting a laser hair removal treatment on her arm

Laser Hair Removal Aftercare

Laser hair removal is an effective semi-permanent treatment using pulses of light energy to discourage hair growth. Technicians can perform the treatment on virtually any area of the body, leaving skin silky and smooth.

So, what should you expect when you undergo laser hair removal? Here, we explore the laser hair removal process, how it works, and what patients can expect after each session. We also break down how to minimize potential side effects. 

Whether you are considering laser hair removal or already have an appointment on the books, we are here to give you all the information you need for what to expect after laser hair removal treatments.

Laser Hair Removal Basics

Laser hair removal is one of the most common non-surgical cosmetic producers performed in the United States, with millions of patients receiving the treatment annually. 

The procedure requires three to seven sessions on average for patients to experience full results. The treatment has a 71% satisfaction rate among patients.

Laser hair removal is most effective on patients with light skin and dark hair, but a consultation with a technician can help determine your eligibility for the procedure. You should not undergo laser hair removal treatments while pregnant. 

Technicians can perform the procedure on most body parts, including the face. The most popular areas people receive laser hair removal for are the upper and lower legs, bikini area, upper lip, chin, arms, underarms, shoulders, back, chest, and neck. 

The only areas that you cannot target with laser hair removal are the eyelids and nearby skin. Laser hair removal is also not doable on skin with tattoos.

How Laser Hair Removal Works 

Before starting the procedure, technicians clean the areas of the skin undergoing treatment and sometimes apply a numbing agent in the form of a gel or cream. Technicians numb areas of the skin that are particularly sensitive to high-energy light from the laser.

Everyone in the room during laser hair removal must wear protective eye gear during the procedure to ward against optical damage from the laser. The technician then uses the laser’s light beam on the target surface area after the numbing agent is active.

The laser localizes a beam of specific wavelengths of light that skin pigment absorbs. This causes damage to hair follicles to both remove existing hairs and prevent future hairs from growing in their place. 

The heat coming from the centralized light targets the basal stem cells in hair follicles responsible for hair growth. The lasers can avoid heating other areas of the skin during this procedure because only the melanin absorbs their light. 

The time taken to complete the procedure varies based on how large or small an area is undergoing treatment. Small areas like underarms require only a few minutes of treatment, whereas large areas like the legs, back, and chest can take over one hour. 

Existing hairs are eliminated from the laser’s heat, resulting in small clouds of smoke that carry a slight odor. Patients who do not use a numbing agent report a subtle stinging or burning sensation during the procedure. Some patients liken the feeling to snapping rubber bands against the skin.

Laser Hair Removal Treatment Timeline

Earlier, we mentioned that several laser hair removal sessions are necessary for long-term results. Here are some of the things patients can expect to see during the hours, days, and weeks following treatments.


Your skin’s initial response to the treatment usually comes in the form of some pinkness or redness and itching, similar to a razor burn. The laser permeates deeply into the cavities of the hair follicles to effectively remove hair that irritates the skin. 

This irritation usually lasts for less than one day after the treatment, and if it lasts longer you should contact your technician. The itchiness and discoloration might lessen over multiple sessions, but it proves that the laser reaches deep enough into your skin to do its job.


Any follicles that were dormant during the time of the procedure will still facilitate hair growth when their time comes in the natural growth cycle because the laser only impacts active follicles. 

This means that you will see some regrowth between laser hair removal sessions that will lessen over time, as the treatments can reach different follicles each session. 

Blackheads and Stubble

Up to a few weeks after treatment, your skin will develop stubble or blackheads as a part of the shedding process that happens from hairs that were partially grown at the time of the procedure. Exfoliation during this period aids the shedding and diminishes the blackhead or stubble appearance.

Potential Side Effects

Laser hair removal carries the risk of many possible side effects. Some of them are minor, and others can be serious. 

Common Side Effects

The irritation that includes redness, itchiness, and discomfort brings the most common side effects. Skin can also have a tingling, slight stinging, or tender sensation. You might also experience some swelling, crusting, or darkening of pigments. 

Many technicians prescribe medications or offer topical treatment after the procedure to help minimize these symptoms. 

Uncommon Side Effects 

Some people might experience more severe complications from laser hair removal. Patients can suffer eye injuries from exposure to the laser, skin infections, burns, blisters, scarring, or permanent skin discoloration. 

These complications rarely occur when patients receive treatment from qualified technicians who know how to properly operate the machinery. 

Preparation and Aftercare

You can lessen the risk of developing side effects and improve the efficacy of laser hair removal treatments by preparing for a session and taking steps after.

Woman putting her hands on her legs after a laser hair removal

Before Laser Hair Removal

  • Find a board-certified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon with laser hair removal experience to perform the procedure. Licensed nurses or physician’s assistants are also qualified, preferably with a doctor on-site during the sessions. 
  • Attend a consultation to discuss your medical history, risks, medications, and expectations with the doctor. 
  • Avoid sun exposure to the skin area you’ll be receiving treatment for, or wear adequate sun protection. 
  • Do not apply self-tanning products. 
  • Do not pluck, wax, or undergo electrolysis for the treatment area within four weeks of the session. 
  • Avoid blood-thinning medications. 
  • Do not shave the treatment area within 24 hours of the session. 

After Laser Hair Removal

  • Gently exfoliate the treatment area with a scrub or washcloth around three times a week to remove dead skin cells and reduce the appearance of blackheads or stubble. 
  • Avoid sun exposure and wear SPF lotion daily in between treatments.
  • Don’t use tanning beds for at least six weeks after each session. 
  • You can shave regrowth between treatments, but do not pluck, wax, or undergo any other form of hair removal. 

In Need of a Laser Hair Removal?

Now you have all the information about what to expect after a laser hair removal treatment. Laser hair removal is a safe, effective procedure to remove body hair. If you are interested in laser hair removal in Newport Beach or Orange County, contact Image Perfect Laser today to schedule an appointment.

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Here are answers to the most common questions people have about laser hair removal.

The average patient requires three to seven sessions to achieve total hair removal from the treatment area. Patients with darker skin might require more sessions because of the skin’s melanin content. 

While laser treatments can lead to virtually permanent hair removal, patients usually receive yearly maintenance sessions.

Yes, the FDA verified the procedure’s safety in 1997. Make sure to use a licensed, qualified technician.

No, health insurance does not cover laser hair removal because it is a cosmetic procedure. Many technicians offer financing options if you need a more affordable option. 

Contact us for your FREE consultation, and welcome to the Image Perfect Experience!

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