Recovering From Laser Hair Removal? Follow These Dos And Don'ts

After a laser hair removal treatment, your skin will be a little red and sore for a day or two. Many patients compare this feeling to that of a sunburn. In order to ensure this soreness subsides as quickly as possible (and you don't make it worse), make sure you adhere to these dos and don'ts during recovery.

Do: Wear sunscreen -- even if you'll only be outside for a few minutes.

Your dermatologist will likely tell you to wear sunscreen for a few days after your laser hair removal treatment. If you will only be spending a few minutes outside (such as when walking to and from your car) you might be tempted to skip this step. This would be a mistake, since even a small amount of sun exposure can be irritating to your recently laser-treated skin and may make your pain much worse. Look for a gentle sunscreen made with natural ingredients (as these are less likely to sting or irritate your damaged skin), and apply it as instructed on the label every day until your skin is completely back to normal.

Do: Apply a gentle (non-scented) moisturizer after washing.

Applying a light moisturizer after washing will provide your skin with the fatty acids and other nutrients it needs to repair itself properly. Look for a moisturizer that does not contain any artificial scents, as these might sting your damaged skin. Apply it with light, gentle strokes to avoid causing additional irritation. Do this immediately after washing when your pores are more open and ready to absorb the moisture.

Don't: Shave the treated area.

The laser treatment may not cause all of your hair to fall out immediately. Some may persist for a day or two before falling out, and other hairs may remain until you have them treated again. Do not attempt to shave any hairs that remain after your treatment, as this is surefire way to irritate your skin and perhaps even perpetuate the development of infections. Wait until the area is completely back to normal (about a week) before shaving.

Don't: Put on heavy makeup right away.

If you had laser hair removal performed on your face, you may be tempted to cover the redness with makeup. This is a bad idea since the makeup may irritate your skin and clog the pores that are currently more open following your treatment. Wait at least a couple of days to apply heavy makeup (until the soreness and redness are almost gone if not completely gone). You can use a light, tinted moisturizer for a bit of coverage in the meantime.

If you have lingering questions about recovering from laser hair removal, be sure to ask your dermatologist.