In Manhattan, summer and laser hair removal go hand-in-hand. Either you’re excited to show off your newly smooth and lustrous skin at the beach, or the hotter weather makes you long for a more permanent and maintenance-free way of having smooth, hairless skin.
Since treating any part of your skin requires several sessions, each a number of weeks apart, it’s entirely possible that you might find yourself considering coming in for treatments during the summer. There are a lot of misconceptions floating around about how the hotter months affect the removal process and whether or not it’s the best time to go about it. But the truth is, whatever season you choose to schedule your treatments for, it’s really a matter of personal preference.
Still, there are definitely pros and cons to doing laser hair removal in the summer. For best results, here are a few to take into consideration before making a decision on when to schedule your treatments.
Pro: No use of IPL, the method most commonly associated with tissue damage and sun sensitivity
Intense Pulse Light (IPL) – sometimes called short wave length laser – is the type of hair removal technology more commonly associated with sensitivity because it carries an increased risk of tissue damage. Most laser hair removal technicians, like New York City’s Laser by Monica, use a dual wavelength laser instead. It’s safer, more effective and provides the highest quality results.
That being said, whether you’re using IPL technology or dual wavelength, you will still need to be mindful of UV exposure both before and after sessions because your skin will be slightly more sensitive to the sun’s rays. This brings us to the next point.
Con: You do have to limit sun exposure and tanning treatments
There’s really no way around it: if your skin has been recently exposed to sunlight or a tanning bed, it’s going to be much more sensitive to laser treatments. Even if you don’t have a visible tan or burn, your skin and body chemistry will still be affected and this can lead to undesirable burning or scarring during the laser treatments.
The best laser hair removal technicians stress the importance of limiting UV exposure. You should not undergo sun exposure, a tanning bed session, or a spray tan for two to four weeks before a laser hair removal session. For this reason, some people prefer to schedule the bulk of their sessions throughout the colder months, but laser hair removal can just as easily be done in the summer, as long as you keep your UV exposure in mind. At the end of the day, spending too much time in the sun isn’t good for your skin anyway.
Con: You can’t wax or pluck between sessions
For a laser to zero in on the hair and work its magic, the dark root needs to be intact. This allows the laser to zing the hair follicle, which is what results in more permanent hair removal. Unfortunately, waxing or plucking hairs removes the hair at the root too (although not permanently), which means the laser can’t do its job. This is why when you’re undergoing laser hair removal, it’s best not to wax or pluck your hairs. For most people, this is a pretty crucial part of their summer beauty regime!
Pro: You can still shave
The good news? You can – and should – shave between treatments. Its always good to shave before a session, because laser treatment is most effective when the hair is as short as possible, but still intact at the root. This allows the heat to more precisely penetrate the follicle. So, while summer laser treatments might mean forgoing your bikini wax for a while, don’t think you have zero options for smooth skin in between sessions.
Pro: Thanks to advances in technology, those with tans or darker skin tones can benefit from laser too
For years, it was thought that people with deep tans or dark skin tones either needed more hair removal sessions to see results, or were at a higher risk for skin damage, burning or pigment issues. When laser technology was a lot newer, some laser settings were not nuanced enough to be able to tell the difference between darker skin and pigment, which is likely how rumours like this started.
However, with the right laser technology and specifications, there’s absolutely no reason why people with all skin tones and shades can’t undergo laser hair removal and see the same results as those with fair skin. So if your skin transforms into a golden or dark hue during the summer months, don’t let that stop you from choosing this time to start your treatments.