Laser Hair Removal versus Tanning

Laser Hair Removal versus Tanning

Laser Hair Removal versus Tanning 

These two topics will forever be butting heads. We all want hair free skin but many of us want that ‘healthy’ glow too! How do we get both? Laser hair removal has so many advantages which definitely out way sun bathing for a year of your life. However, there are potential ways around this depending on the areas you are looking to laser.

Can I use tanning products and still have laser hair removal?

Yes! This is a really good way to still have a tan whilst having laser treatment. You must have removed all traces of tan before each appointment though. It’s recommended to exfoliate, with cheesecloth mittens in the bath or shower, 1-2 weeks before each appointment to remove the tan thoroughly. Alternatively, if you are having bikini line laser hair removal, avoid the bikini area and tan elsewhere!

Why do some lasers claim to treat tanned skin?

As tanning is quite a sticking point for lasers, there have been manufacturers and clinics that try and work ways around this so that clients can still receive treatment. There are two options for this, the first is to use the NdYag laser which is for darker skin types on fair skin clients that have tanned. This can work if the client has black or very dark hair as the melanin in the skin has increased and the laser will be more responsive. In general, clients with fair skin do not have black hair, it will typically be light brown or brown which means the NdYag will struggle to kill the hair effectively and will need very strong settings. Secondly, some diode lasers claim to treat tanned skin, yet in reality they use a longer pulse duration, less energy and shots. To some up it's likely that you aren’t getting the same level of treatment as you would without a tan.

Can I go on holiday while I’m having laser hair removal?

We all love a sunny holiday, follow this guidance to be able to do both. 

  • Try and plan your laser sessions out in your calendar before booking your holiday. Avoid booking a holiday right before your next session is due. Try to book two weeks after your last session- you’ll then be hair free on holiday and have more time to lose your tan, win win! 
  • It is safe to have sun 2 weeks after laser when using sun protection so book accordingly
  • If you can, try and book your holiday after your 6th session, at this point you will have lost a large amount of hair and may be on longer intervals (8-12 weeks rather than 4-6 weeks), therefore, there is less impact on your results while you're waiting for your tan to fade.
  • Avoid tanning on the lasered areas - for example wear shorts on the beach and around the pool if you are having bikini line laser hair removal
  • If you are lasering larger body areas, take cover ups and use factor 50 sun block, try and sit under a parasol or in the shade as much as possible. Minimising your tan means you will have a shorter gap before you can start again
  • Wear UV Clothing
  • Purchase a zinc based sun creams for a physical protection, this stops UV light reaching the melanocytes.
  • It might not be ideal but fake tanning on holiday and staying out of the sun can be a substitute whilst you are having laser

Can I go on the sunbed whilst having laser hair removal?

It’s really not ideal as it increases your risk of burning from the laser dramatically. If you are only treating small areas, such as the navel or bikini line, then you can purchase clothing that is UV resistant. It may be possible to use these to protect small areas and continue to use sun beds. It is important to speak to your practitioner to discuss whether this could be an option for you and also so that they can look out for any signs of tanning. Treatment cannot be conducted on tanned skin. You need to wait 4-6 weeks and may need another skin test.