Laser Hair Removal, and its home cousin IPL Hair Removal, make controlling leg, body, and facial hair easy. They are incredibly powerful, effective techniques for hair control. However, they can throw off your regular beauty routines, and many run into confusion as to how to fit LHR into their schedule.
Many people wonder: Can I Shower After Laser Hair Removal? When should you bathe, and what do you need to know about skin and body care after a laser hair removal session?
Yes, you can shower after laser hair removal, but you should wait 24-48 hours. If you’re talking IPL hair removal, you can shower shortly after, but use cool water.
In this article, we’ll go over the details on shower and bathing after laser hair removal.
Laser Hair Removal 101
The most popular clinical hair removal process is laser hair removal. This treatment typically involves going to a dermatologist or plastic surgery facility where technicians will beam a small, powerful laser on your hair follicles to put them into “sleep mode” and stop producing hairs. As these lasers are pretty powerful, they’re always used under a doctor’s supervision to prevent any problems.
There are a small number of FDA-approved home laser hair removal devices like the Tria Laser Hair Remover, but most home devices use different technology.
IPL Hair Removal
The most popular at-home treatment is called IPL hair removal. Intense Pulse Light hair removal is very similar to laser hair removal; it just uses a different type of light and is generally considered less powerful. Hair is removed through flashes of ultra-bright light.
Laser hair removal uses single-wave laser beams, whereas IPL uses a super-bright light that includes multiple wavelengths.
See our article on the best home laser hair removal devices for more information.
Regardless of whether you use IPL or Laser Hair Removal, over time, fewer hairs will grow back. And they’ll grow back far slower.
If you’re reading between the lines, it means that you won’t have to shave every few days.
Sure, you might have to shave a little bit here and there or pluck out a random hair from time to time. But you’ll pretty much be able to eliminate shaving from your daily routine!
Many women spend several hours each week shaving, plucking, or waxing. In fact, a recent survey showed that on average, women spend 72 days over their lifetime shaving.
Imagine what you could do with all of that extra time…
Lastly, single-use razors are a huge environmental pollutant. And by getting rid of the hair, you’ll save thousands of razors from going to waste.
What Happens After Laser Hair Removal?
Once you’ve completed a laser hair removal treatment, you’ll find your hairs start to fall out usually within about 5 days.
But for the first few days, the treatment area will be red and irritated. You may experience some discomfort and swelling after the procedure, but the irritation should fade within 24 to 48 hours.
You can apply aloe vera to your skin during this time in order to speed recovery, and avoid sun exposure.
Can I Shower After Laser Hair Removal?
Most clinicians agree and recommend that you should avoid taking a shower or a bath for at least 24 hours after you get laser hair removal. Some technicians suggest waiting for up to 2 days after treatment, especially for those who have more sensitive skin and lots of redness.
If you can’t wait that long, though, you should be fine as long as you wait a full day.
The reason why doctors recommend waiting is due to the topical skin damage caused by laser hair removal. Although these lasers aren’t strong enough to pierce the surface of your skin, they are killing your hair follicles.
This harsh process can inflame the surrounding skin.
Remember how painful it is to shower after getting a bad sunburn? That’s what you could expect if you tried to shower right after laser hair removal.
IPL Hair Removal
IPL hair removal provides the same result as laser hair removal, but the process is slightly different. This is especially true if you have one of the non-clinical IPL devices meant for at-home use.
There are clinical-grade IPL hair removers in use across the world. But home devices have quickly taken over the market due to price and convenience.
If you’re doing salon-based laser hair removal, you’ll typically need to get treated every 6 to 8 weeks since the process is a little bit more powerful. However, if you opt for the at-home IPL devices, you’ll have to treat yourself once a week for the first month.
The second month, you’ll drop down to a bi-weekly schedule. And then a once-a-month treatment schedule for the third month.
The reason why IPL devices require more treatment upfront is that they’re not as powerful as lasers. However, this is the one thing that allows them to be sold on the market.
If they were any more powerful, then they could only be used by medical professionals. This was the case up until 2003 when the FDA ruled that IPL devices were legal as long as they followed strict regulations and power codes.
Can I Shower After IPL Hair Removal?
Yes, you can shower after IPL, typically a few hours after the treatment is complete.
One of the nice things about at-home IPL treatment is that they are far less irritating to your skin that a traditional laser treatment. This means that you can shower after doing an IPL hair removal session!
That said, you will want to avoid using extra-hot water. Your skin won’t be as inflamed as it would be after a laser treatment, but it will still be a little bit sensitive.
We usually suggest using lukewarm or cooler water if possible.
You should also avoid scrubbing or exfoliation for 24 hours. If you were to scrub or exfoliate after an IPL session, then you could damage your skin or dehydrate it, causing it to produce excess oil.
Excessive oil production can then block pores and cause ingrown hairs.
Can you shower after laser hair removal?
You should avoid hot water, scrubbing, exfoliation, or applying other topical skin care products (this includes deodorant) for at least few hours for IPL and a full 24 hours for laser hair removal.
Apply aloe vera to the target area to soothe the skin, use sunscreen, and give your skin a chance to heal before hopping in the tub or shower!
Regardless of which option you go for, though, you’ll still need to follow a similar set of guidelines for skin aftercare to avoid damaging your skin or hindering the hair removal process.