Looking into laser hair removal but not sure how to prep your skin beforehand? Exfoliation is a key part of the pre-treatment process for optimal results. Keep reading to learn why exfoliating is so important prior to laser hair removal, the best exfoliation methods to use, what to avoid, and how to care for your skin afterwards.
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It’s best to exfoliate the treatment area about 1-2 days prior to your scheduled laser hair removal session.
Exfoliating right before the appointment may irritate the skin and cause sensitivity. Doing it too far in advance can allow dead skin to build up again. 24-48 hours beforehand is ideal.
Plan to exfoliate regularly 1-2 times per week for a few weeks after each treatment as well. This helps remove treated hairs shedding from follicles and prevents blockages.
Exfoliating is highly recommended before laser hair removal for a few important reasons:
Exfoliation sloughs off the top layer of dead skin cells and trapped oils and dirt. This debris can prevent the laser light from penetrating deeply into the hair follicle during treatment. Thoroughly exfoliating ensures the laser can reach its target.
In addition to clearing off dead skin, exfoliating removes short, shaved hairs that may be lodged under the skin’s surface. Uncovering buried hairs allows the laser to disable more follicles for better results.
Regular exfoliation before and after laser hair removal helps prevent ingrown hairs. By sloughing off dead cells, exfoliation helps new hairs grow out normally rather than growing inward.
Overall, exfoliating improves the effectiveness of each laser hair removal session. Prepping the skin properly allows the laser device to penetrate optimally and disable more hair follicles.
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There are two main approaches – mechanical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation. Here’s an overview of both to help determine the best method for your skin:
This technique uses physical abrasion to slough off dead skin cells. Popular mechanical exfoliants include:
|Loofahs or washcloths
|Gentle circular rubbing with a loofah or soft washcloth is an easy way to mechanically exfoliate. Use mild pressure and avoid scrubbing too harshly.
|Special brushes with soft, short natural bristles are designed for full-body exfoliation before showering. Use light, sweeping motions to brush the skin.
|Textured gloves or scrubs with soft jojoba beads gently buff away dead skin when lathered with cleanser and massaged over the skin.
|Sonic cleansing brushes
|Facial cleansing devices like the Clarisonic use gentle sonic vibrations to clear away debris. Avoid using these directly on the treatment area, but they’re great for the face.
|DIY body scrubs blend sugar or sea salt with oils like almond, coconut, or jojoba. Gently massage over damp skin and rinse.
Chemical exfoliants use acids to dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells, causing them to naturally shed off. Examples include:
|Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)
|Glycolic acid and lactic acid are types of AHAs that loosen dead cells. Higher concentrations can be irritating.
|Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs)
|Salicylic acid is the most common BHA. It penetrates pores deeply to remove debris. Can be drying for some skin types.
|Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs)
|Gluconolactone and lactobionic acid are gentler alternatives to AHAs and BHAs. Provide light exfoliation without as much irritation.
|Fruit enzymes like papaya, pineapple, and pomegranate help digest dead skin cells. Often added to masks and cleansers.
Those with sensitive skin need to take extra care when exfoliating prior to laser hair removal. Here are some tips:
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Some skin care products can irritate or photosensitize the skin, making it more vulnerable to laser damage. Avoid these products on treatment areas at least 1 week prior:
Those with darker skin tones need to take special care when exfoliating before laser hair removal. Here’s how to exfoliate properly based on your skin type:
Getting exfoliation guidance tailored to your exact Fitzpatrick skin type is essential prior to laser hair removal. Always check with a dermatologist or laser technician first.
Be very gentle with skin care after exfoliating to help the treatment area recover optimally:
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Now that you know how to properly prep and care for your skin before and after laser hair removal, you can feel confident starting treatments. Exfoliation is vital for optimal results.
The expert providers at Ethos Aesthetics & Wellness offer customized laser hair removal using advanced technology to achieve smooth skin. Contact us today to schedule your consultation! Our relaxing spa environment provides the perfect escape while you work towards your aesthetic goals.