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Why Do I Need to Keep Away from the Sun After Laser Hair Removal?

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Dr. Hardik Soni

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Keeping your skin safe and healthy after every laser hair removal treatment is crucial towards achieving best results, and one of the major rules you always hear is to avoid sun exposure after your treatment.

But why exactly should you limit sun exposure after laser hair removal? Simply put, your skin needs time to heal following a laser treatment, as it becomes extra vulnerable to UV rays. Direct and prolonged sunlight can lead to a number of unwanted skin conditions, including hyperpigmentation and skin cancer.

Can you go out in the sun after laser hair removal?

Unless you are willing to risk your skin experiencing sun damage, then you should definitely not go out in the sun following a laser hair removal treatment. There are several reasons for this, but it primarily falls down to keeping your skin as safe as possible while it’s extra vulnerable post-treatment.

Laser hair removal works by exposing your skin to blasts of concentrated beams of light, which turn into heat when absorbed by the pigmentation of your skin, thus destroying the hair follicle. While this process causes little to no pain during the treatment, it does leave your skin vulnerable and sensitive for an extended period of time.

Following every laser hair removal session, your skin is extra sensitive to UV rays. Being exposed to UV rays during the vulnerable stage can lead to skin damage, such as hyperpigmentation, in which certain parts of the skin become permanently or semi-permanently darker than the rest of it.

There is also the possibility of your skin having difficulty healing post-treatment, if exposed to the sun’s UV rays immediately afterwards. It is important that your skin heals thoroughly and fully following every treatment of laser hair removal; exposing your skin to sunlight can prevent this healing, making your skin permanently more sensitive moving forward.

Remember: hyperpigmentation isn’t something you want to have happen to your skin, and that can also be the least of your worries. Other possible results from unchecked sun exposure after your laser treatment include various skin conditions, as well as skin cancer.

Keep your skin healthy so you can enjoy the best results of your laser hair removal with the best skin possible.

How long should I stay out of the sun after laser hair removal?

 Flat illustration of uv sun logo

After every laser hair removal session, your skin will be hyper-sensitive to the sun’s UV rays for around 2 weeks, and sometimes up to 3 weeks. We advise that you stay out of direct and exposed light for 3 weeks following every session to keep your skin as healthy as it can be.

But remember: this 3-week rule applies for every single treatment of laser hair removal. For the best laser hair removal results, doctors typically recommend anywhere from 5-10 sessions, depending on the area being treated and other factors.

Since it is also recommended to avoid the heat for about 2 weeks prior to every session, this means that you need to schedule any beach trips or long days in the sun accordingly.

For best results, avoid prolonged sunlight exposure for 2 weeks before every laser hair removal session, and 2-3 weeks afterwards. With each treatment around 6-8 weeks apart, this means that you have a window of 3-4 weeks between your laser hair removal sessions where it is absolutely safe.

Some patients make the mistake of believing that since they’ve already had a few laser hair removal treatments, then their skin is less vulnerable and prone to skin damage. This isn’t true. Treat every laser hair removal session as if it were your first, and be just as cautious and vigilant with your skin for the same 2-3-week recovery period afterwards.

This should continue until your final recovery following the completion of all your treatments.

Can I go to the beach after laser hair removal?

We understand that asking patients to avoid the sun for 2 weeks before a treatment and 2-3 weeks after a treatment can be constraining, especially during the spring and the summer when everyone is at the beach. And avoid tanning beds at all cost!

If you insist on going to the beach during the summer season, then we suggest that you only have laser hair removal performed on areas that are typically covered, such as your underarms and your bikini area. It will be easier for you to keep these areas safe from direct exposure, and still enable you to share the beach experience with your friends.

If you have the hair removal laser procedure performed on areas that receive direct sun exposure, such as the exposed upper lip area and the legs, you run the serious risk of causing severe damage to your skin, such as hyperpigmentation and, in worst-case scenarios, skin cancer.

We highly advise that you avoid going to the beach if your targeted area is anything aside from your underarm and bikini areas.

Tips to Protect the Skin

young woman putting sunblock cream and sitting in the shade

Of course, it can be impossible to avoid sunlight completely for 2-3 weeks following every treatment. But staying in for so many days after being treated can be an impossible experience.

Even if you don’t go to the beach, you will still have to leave the house, whether to go to work, to class, or anywhere else during the day. So what can you do when you need to leave the house during the day but still need to protect your skin?

Thankfully, though your skin is extra sensitive during the recovery period, it can still take slight levels of sunlight, as long as you provide it with adequate protection.

Here are some ways to protect your skin:

  • Every time you leave the house, slather the treated area and surrounding areas with a broad-protection sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Search for the highest SPF sunscreen available
  • Wear the appropriate clothing to keep your skin safe and shaded. This includes nothing tight-fitting – long-sleeved, loose shirts and loose-fitting pants, giving your body that extra comfort and shade it needs. A nice sun-hat or any kind of hat with an extra wide brim can also help. If you want more protection, carry an umbrella as you walk
  • Limit your sunlight to a few minutes at a time. If you need to go out in the sunlight several times a day, then try to keep it limited to a few minutes here and there. This gives your skin more time to breathe and process

Ready for Your Laser Treatment? Contact Ethos Spa

Laser hair removal is one of the best treatments you can give yourself – as long as you get it done right by trusted experts. Ethos Spa, Skin and Laser Center, is the number one provider of laser hair treatment and other beauty procedures in New Jersey. We have helped countless patients reach their beauty and body hair goals, and can help you do the same.

Search no more for your preferred laser provider. Contact us for your safe and pain-free laser treatment today!

Read more: Which Treatment Should I Do First: Laser Hair Removal or Varicose Vein Removal?

Dr. Hardik Soni

MD, Founder/Lead Physician

About Dr. Hardik Soni

Dr. Hardik Soni is the founder and Medical Director of Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness. His primary focus is on minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures including botulinum injection (Botox and Dysport), dermal fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse), laser hair removal, chemical peels, and laser skin rejuvenation. Dr. Soni believes in a more conservative approach and his first goal is education. Clients are able to determine the ideal treatments after discussion with Dr. Soni regarding the expected outcomes, cost, as well as risks.

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