When it comes to laser hair removal, most people assume that spring is the best time of year to book an appointment at their local med spa. After all, with swimsuits and summer fashions right around the corner, feeling your best is definitely at a premium. In reality, though, fall and winter can be the perfect seasons to plan your new look.
A Whiter Shade of Pale
The way laser hair removal works is by directing focused laser energy at the hair follicle that, once absorbed, kills the follicle to prevent regrowth. The pigment within the hair is actually the portion that absorbs the most laser energy. Patients with blonde, red or grey hair aren’t candidates for laser hair removal for this exact reason; there simply isn’t enough pigment in the hair for laser treatments to be effective. Similarly, those with darker skin typically won’t get ideal results from laser hair removal either, because there’s much less contrast between the hair and the skin.
During the winter, when even Florida locals are wearing longer pants and long sleeves, the skin is exposed to far less sun. Without the damage from the UVA/UVB rays of the sun, the skin will gradually resume its naturally lighter shade. A lighter skin tone helps provide a higher level of contrast between the hair and the skin, which makes it much easier for the pigmentation in the hair follicle to absorb the directed laser energy. Every med spa will recommend refraining from tanning before a laser hair removal appointment; when the appointments are scheduled in the fall and winter, this doesn’t require any extra effort on the part of the patient.
Protection beyond Sunblock
Another important element of success when it comes to laser hair removal is protection from the sun. This includes not only maintaining a paler skin tone during actual treatment sessions, but also ensuring that the treated areas are completely protected from the sun throughout the treatment. The skin is far more sensitive while being treated with lasers, which makes it more susceptible to sun damage and burning. Going out without serious sunblock or other sun protection could result in hyperpigmentation, and getting a tan means that treatment sessions won’t be as effective.
Since laser hair removal only effectively targets hair follicle growth during a hair’s growth phase, repeated treatments spaced a few weeks apart are necessary for optimum results. During this time, the target areas need to be protected from the sun to maintain a higher contrast between hair and skin. The places that have already received treatment need extra protection in between sessions as well; it’s much easier to keep covered up during winter months, especially for laser hair removal on the arms and legs.
Planning for Success
While there’s not really any downtime needed following laser hair removal that necessitates taking time off for recovery, the lighter social schedule that many people have in the fall and winter does make it easier for scheduling. Appointments and follow-up sessions may provide a lot more flexibility if planned during this time of year.
Additionally, with so many patients operating under the common misassumption that warmer weather is better for planning laser hair removal sessions, many med spas find their availability more open at this time of year as well. And, of course, the best part about beginning laser treatments right now is that you’ll be all wrapped up by the time the next bikini season rolls around.