Laser hair removal facts: It can be incredibly convenient for a lot of people. Just picture it—no more shaving, having to go to painful waxing appointments or embarrassing stubble. Sounds pretty much like the dream life.

While laser hair removal can yield a ton of positive results, it’s also a pretty serious skin treatment which means it’s important to know the facts and how to prepare before going in for your first session.

1. There are a few different types of lasers.

There are three types of lasers that are typically used for laser hair removal treatments. For the most part, the types of lasers used are based on your skin complexion and type.

Alexandrite-This laser is the fastest out of the three and works the best for removing hair from large sections of the body. It’s most effective on people who have light to olive skin tones.

Diode: This laser is ideal for people with both light and dark skin tones.

Nd: YAG: This type of laser boasts a long pulse and can be used on all skin tones. It is less effective for people with light hair though.

2. Appointments don’t take long.

Laser hair removal appointments can take anywhere from 20 minutes up to an hour. It’s really just all depending on which area of the body you’re getting hair removed from. Underarms, bikini lines, and face treatments are the quickest while larger areas such as the legs and back take longer.

3. Shave before you go but don’t pluck or wax!

You’ll need to shave the treatment area before going to your appointment that way the laser can easily penetrate into the hair follicle instead of affecting the hair on top of the skin. With that in mind, you should not wax or tweeze any of the hairs one month before the session as the hair roots need to be intact for the treatment to work its magic.

This means that even between sessions you should opt to shave instead of waxing or plucking just to be safe!

4. You may need to adjust your daily routine.

When going through treatments, it’s important to listen to your laser hair removal specialist on what may need to change in your routine. Here are a few examples of things you should watch out for:

  • You need to avoid the sun at all costs before and after your treatment. Because laser hair removal targets the pigments in the hair follicles, it’s important that you’re as close to your natural skin tone color as possible. This means that you shouldn’t have any sort of tan when you go in for your appointment. This includes spray tans too!
  • It’s extremely crucial that you tell your laser hair removal specialist what medications you’re taking at the time of the treatment. Certain medications (such as antibiotics) are sensitive to light which can result in visible burns on your skin that are hard to get rid of.
  • You also need to be careful with your skincare routine. Some skincare products (specifically those targeted to treat acne) contain acids that can make your skin more susceptible to irritation during treatment.
  • On that same note, you may need to add more moisture into your skin and body care routine. Some people will experience dryness in the areas they’re removing hair from so don’t be afraid to add a bit more hydration into your product lineup.

5. It takes several sessions to see results.

On average, it takes about four to six sessions for people to see the full results of laser hair removal. The amount of sessions all depends on the area you want hair removed from and how dense the hair is. Once you chat to your laser hair removal specialist, they should be able to provide you with a more specific timeline.

You also should be spacing out each session by at least 6 weeks, which means if you’re consistent (and you should be to see results), it can take about 9 months to finish treatment.

6. It’s expensive.

Pricing all depends on where you go and which body part you’re removing hair from but each session usually costs somewhere between $50-$300. Because most people need between four to six laser hair removal sessions, it could cost you upwards of $1,800!

7. Yes, laser hair removal will hurt a bit.

It’s silly to say that laser hair removal doesn’t hurt—it will. And while everyone has different levels of pain tolerance, most can agree that treatments sting a little bit. Think of it like repeatedly snapping yourself with rubber bands. You’ll almost always be able to apply a numbing cream or gel to the area beforehand so just talk to your specialist about it.

If you’re getting hair that’s thick and dense removed, it’s going to hurt more than areas that have finer hair. There are also sensitive areas such as the upper lip and underarms that will just always sting more.

8. You’ll probably be swollen afterwards.

Because the lasers zap your hair follicles, it’s extremely common for those follicles to swell up after a treatment. Swelling and redness usually goes away after about a day or two though.

9. There are some potential risks.

Laser hair removal treatments are generally considered safe but there are risks of burning, blistering, redness, scarring, and discoloration. Just make sure to talk to your laser hair removal specialist about the potential risks to ensure the treatments are for you!

10. Laser hair removal facts: it may not be totally permanent.

The way that laser hair removal works is by heating up hair follicles to stop any new hairs from growing for a long period of time. Once your hair does start growing back, they will be lighter in color and fewer in number.

Internal factors such as hormones and medication can also cause hair to grow back. This just means that you will have to go back in for touch-up appointments every once in a while.