Understanding What Tanning Does To Our Skin
It’s important to understand what happens to our skin before learning the effects of having active melanin and being treated with laser. When a person tans, it is their top layer of skin, the epidermis, where your cells change in pigment. When we expose ourselves to a lot of UVB rays our body produces melanin, the pigment that is the reason why you tan. When we are thereafter exposed to UVA rays the body goes into a “protection mode” and darkens. It is a way of protecting itself against too much light.
When a tan starts to fade this is because new cells have been generated and are slowly pushing the old cells up and away from your skin.
What is Laser Doing To My Skin?
At The New York Laser Clinic, we use a medical grade, gold standard machine called Candela which is an extremely high performing, results driven device that ensures our clients are getting the best out of all their hair removal treatments. It’s important to understand that laser works by targeting & heating up melanin (brown pigment). Our aim by using certain, bespoke settings for you is to ensure that the laser is treating the melanin in your hair follicle and not damaging any melanin on the skin’s surface. If there is a lot of melanin in one area it can make it harder for the laser to distinguish between the two.
Are There Any Risks?
If the laser does find it hard to distinguish between the hair follicle and the skin, there is a small risk of pigmentation. Pigmentation will fade given time dependent on the individual. We ask clients to wait 4-6 weeks after tanning prior to coming into the clinic.
After having a laser hair removal treatment, the skin is more sensitive and more susceptible to burning and pigmentations, so we advise clients to wait a minimum of 2 weeks before tanning.
How Can These Risks Be Prevented?
Always wear a high SPF, at NYLC we recommend Heliocares factor 50 which comes in an array of different products.
Use aloe vera gel after your laser treatment. At NYLC we apply cool aloe vera gel straight after treating the areas which helps to calm and soothe the skin. We recommend you purchase our stocked aloe vera and use this for several days post-treatment. As an extra tip keep it in the fridge and apply!
Be honest with Consultant if preparing to go on holiday, or tanning. At NYLC we are happy to make a bespoke treatment plan for you and help you plan when to have your treatments.
Don’t put fake tan on before your laser hair removal appointment as this obviously darkens your skin and, although is an artificial tan, can have the same impact with the laser machine in making it hard to differentiate between the skin and hair.
Always wait 2 weeks after having your laser treatment before going in the Sun to prevent risk of pigmentation.
Wait 4-6 weeks post Sun exposure before having your laser treatment and note that if your skin is still darker then your last session you will need to have a patch test again.