How Long Should I Stay out of the Sun After Laser Hair Removal?

Hello, I received my first laser hair removal treatment for my underarms using the Alexandrite Candela GentleLase laser. The doctor advised me to avoid sun and to use sun block. I plan on using t-shirts with longer sleeves to cover up, but since it is summer how long do you think one has to wait before it is considered "safe" to have sun exposure.

Doctor Answers 6

Laser hair removal and sun protection

You don't want to get tanned or have sun exposure for a good six months minimum after laser hair removal if you are prone to getting hyperpigmentation as a response to trauma (acne, burns, scratches, etc.). Also, if you have a tan, then you can't be treated with laser hair removal until the tan goes away otherwise there may be an increased risk of complications.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Sun protection following laser hair removal

The armpit is generally not exposed to sun light unless the arms are extended. Sun exposure following arm pit laser hair removal is not an issue.  In areas that are exposed, sun avoidance and/or sun block should be used for approximately 2 weeks (longer if you are a darker skin type that is prone to pigmentation).  Laser hair removal should be postponed following acute sun exposure for 2 weeks.  As a further precaution the fluency can be decreased (the parameters can be changed for a darker skin type.)

Robert Sleightholm, MD
Brampton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Avoid Sun before and after Laser Hair Removal

Following a laser hair removal procedure, you do need to avoid the sun for several weeks – otherwise you risk the chance of pigment problems in the treatment areas and other adverse events which you do not want. After the treatment, you are more prone to sunburns  so you need to be careful – shirts and cover-ups are key for this – and you need not be tanned for any of your sessions – as this is a no-no for laser hair removal and something we do not treat over – so no tans before laser hair removal either.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Sun Avoidance and Laser Hair Removal

After laser hair removal, it is usually recommended to avoid sun exposure for at least 7-10 days. This will reduce the chance of complications. Sun avoidance and sunblock use are recommended in general while doing laser hair removal treatments to minimize the risk of side effects such as burns and pigment changes because tanned skin can be more prone to complications with laser hair removal.

No sun exposure for at least two weeks after Laser Hair Removal

Tanning is not recommended for almost any laser treatment, but especially Laser Hair Removal. After the laser hair removal your skin is more sensitive and you can burn easily if you go tanning. When you tan before the laser treatment the chances of side effects such as hyper pigmentation and scarring are much higher. Using sun protection every day is very important and if you do tan you should wait a while until your tan fades before doing another treatment.

Laser hair removal and sunscreen

For most laser procedures, a good rule of thumb is very strong sun protection for 1 week after the procedure because your skin will be much more sensitive to irritation and photodamage.  We recommend keeping the treated area out of the sun and using sunscreens high in zinc oxide such as EltaMD.  Of course, tanning is always discouraged and liberal use of sun protection and sunscreen is ALWAYS encouraged.  The other reason to stay out of the sun is that laser hair removal requires multiple consecutive treatments, and if your skin becomes more tan between the treatments, you will increase your chances of complications like burning, or your provider may not even be able to perform your next treatment.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.