Sunbathing Before & After Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal and sunbathing
By Ash 15th June 2021 Category: Advice
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Medically Reviewed June 2023, by Corine Treacy, Apprenticeship Program Manager, for sk:n. Next review due June 2024.

One of the main reasons people opt for laser hair removal is to look great in the summer months. However, if you’re thinking about sunbathing before or after your treatment, it’s important to understand how the effects of sun exposure can interact with laser hair removal.

Sun tan and laser hair removal

The first thing to know is that everyone’s skin is different, and will react in different ways when exposed to sunlight. That’s why it’s essential to discuss your treatment with your practitioner at length beforehand, who will let you know what’s appropriate for your particular hair and skin type.

Laser hair removal and sun exposure – Before

In most cases, the best advice for those about to undergo laser hair treatment is to avoid sunbathing, and to limit sun exposure as much as possible. However, you can still continue to have your laser hair removal treatment if you have a suntan.  At sk:n, our technologically advanced lasers penetrate deep enough to bypass the epidermis allowing us to target the hair safely without damaging pigment in the skin.

It is important you stick to the frequency of your treatment plan as advised by your practitioner to get the best results.  If you have a suntan, please let your practitioner know at the time of booking as you will need a skin test patch to ensure maximum safety.

Please follow the below rules:

  • If you have had sun exposure in the last 2 weeks which has led to a suntan in the treatment area – book a test patch for 2 weeks post suntan.
  • If you had sun exposure in the last 3 – 6 weeks and you have a suntan in the treatment area – book a test patch now.  Your treatment can then continue 48 hours later.

You can still go out, even in summer clothes. Just make sure you wear broad spectrum sun cream with a high SPF for the week prior to your treatment and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, even if you have darker skin. This will also ensure the risk of burning and hyperpigmentation is minimised.

Sunburnt skin

You shouldn’t undergo laser hair removal if you have sunburnt skin. This is because the light energy transfer from the sun requires the skin to heal. The laser also transmits strong bolts of energy deep into the hair follicles, which can seriously aggravate the sunburn.

If you already have a tan, avoid booking your treatment until it’s had time to fade. This will help make sure that you get the best results from the sessions.

Avoid sun exposure after laser hair removal treatments

After your treatment, your skin will be sensitive and will need time to heal. Excessive exposure to UV rays at this time risks damage to your skin, so it’s highly advisable to avoid sunbathing and tanning beds.

Again, apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 when you go out. Make sure you choose a quality product with protection against both UVA and UVB rays. A wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves are also advisable for about a week.

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Once you’re fully healed, it’s still important to take care in the sun and protect treated skin. Avoid trying to regain your tan too quickly. By looking after your skin, you’ll make sure you stay looking your best. Any questions should be directed to your dermatologist who will be able to guide you through the aftercare process.

What if I’m travelling to a hotter climate?

If you’re travelling to a hotter climate, it’s best to let your clinic know. Depending on the amount of time you’ll be spending there and what stage you are at in terms of your treatment progress, they will be able to advise on the best course of action to minimise treatment disruption and preserve results.

Key takeaways

  • Avoid tanning beds and minimise sun exposure before and after undergoing treatment.
  • You can still continue to have your laser hair removal treatment if you have a suntan, but make sure to book a patch test for 2 weeks post-tanning to find out whether it’s safe for you
  • Be sure to wear a high SPF sunscreen and protective clothing if you need to go outdoors.
  • If you have sunburns, postpone your appointment until the skin has fully healed and the tan has faded.
  • Contact your clinic if you are due to travel to a hotter climate. They will advise what to do in order to avoid treatment disruption.
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