If you are interested in laser hair removal, choose a doctor who is board certified in a specialty such as dermatology or cosmetic surgery and has experience with laser hair removal. If a physician assistant or licensed nurse will do the procedure, make sure a doctor supervises and is available on-site during the treatments. Be cautious about spas, salons or other facilities that allow nonmedical personnel to do laser hair removal.
Before laser hair removal, schedule a consultation with the doctor to determine if this is an appropriate treatment option for you. Your doctor will likely do the following:
Review your medical history, including medication use, history of skin disorders or scarring, and past hair removal procedures
Discuss risks, benefits and expectations, including what laser hair removal can and can not do for you
Take photos to be used for before-and-after assessments and long-term reviews
At the consultation, discuss a treatment plan and related costs. Laser hair removal is usually an out-of-pocket expense.
The doctor also will offer specific instructions to prepare for laser hair removal. These might include:
Staying out of the sun. Follow your doctors advice for avoiding sun exposure, usually up to six weeks before treatment, and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily.
Lightening your skin. Avoid any sunless skin creams that darken your skin. Your doctor also might prescribe a skin bleaching cream if you have a recent tan or darker skin.
Avoiding other hair removal methods. Plucking, waxing and electrolysis can disturb the hair follicle and should be avoided at least four weeks before treatment.
Avoiding blood-thinning medications. Ask your doctor about what medications, such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs, to avoid before the procedure.
Shaving treatment area. Trimming and shaving is recommended the day before laser treatment. It removes hair above the skin that can result in surface skin damage from burnt hairs, but it leaves the hair shaft intact below the surface.