What to Know About
Laser hair removal is one of the latest innovations in the exciting field of laser technology. The use of lasers has revolutionized the way many unwanted cosmetic issues can be addressed and treated.
Laser technology has been used safely and effectively for many years. Other hair removal methods, such as waxing, plucking, and shaving only offer temporary relief. Until now, electrolysis has been the only more permanent alternative. However, electrolysis treatments can take years, be painful and are limited to treating small areas.
How Does Laser Therapy Work?
The intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth. Laser hair reduction is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair because the laser beam targets the pigment (melanin) in the hair. However, advances in technology have made laser hair removal an option for people who have darker skin.
How Do I Know If I’m a Good Candidate?
Laser hair removal works best on people who have dark hair and light skin. The laser’s light is looking for a difference in color (melanin or pigment) between the skin and the hair. People with light hair and fair skin are not good candidates, neither are people with dark hair and dark skin.
A qualified physician can easily evaluate if you are a good candidate and tell you what you can expect for results.
Is It Permanent?
Laser hair removal is a permanent hair reduction method. After each treatment a vast percentage of the hair follicles are permanently disabled. The results vary from individual to individual, but there is minimum hair regrowth after a series of treatments has been completed.
What Happens During the Treatment?
Protective eyewear is always worn to protect the eyes from the laser’s intense light. A light coolant spray is used to cool the outer layers of the skin before each pulse of light for increased comfort. Because of the cooling device, most people experience minimal discomfort. However, pain tolerance varies from person to person, and a topical anesthetic can be applied in advance of the procedure. After the treatment, the area may be pink or red for a few hours, but it can sometimes last for several days.
Are There Any Risks?
When the laser procedure is performed correctly by a trained operator and the patient selection process is appropriate, there should not be any complications beyond the possibility of an allergic reaction, ingrown hair, or temporary redness. However, under certain conditions scarring can occur.
Will I Need More Than One Treatment?
Yes. Hair grows in a cyclical pattern, and at any given time, the follicles in the treatment area can be in different phases of this cycle. To be effective, laser energy must be applied during a specific phase of growth, and multiple treatments will be needed to ensure each follicle is treated during that phase. Most patients benefit from a series of six treatment sessions spaced out over several weeks.
Preparing for Your Appointment
- Avoid waxing or tweezing the hair in the treated area for one month prior to laser treatment for best results. Shaving is recommended within one week to 24 hours prior to treatment.
- Tan skin reduces effectiveness of laser treatment
- If treating the face, avoid retinol products and prescription retinoids, such as Retin-A (Tretinoin), Renova, Differin, or Tazorac one week prior
If you are ready for permanent hair removal, set up an appointment with your dermatologist today.