Unwanted hair growth is a common issue for many people. Those tired of shaving, waxing, tweezing, or plucking can benefit from laser hair removal. The heat from the laser destroys pigment in the hair and prevents or delays future hair growth. The hair that does regrow is usually finer and lighter in color.
Laser hair removal is a procedure that uses light energy to remove unwanted hair. It is a safe, effective, and relatively painless way to eliminate unwanted hair. It is not a permanent solution and will need touch-up sessions yearly to keep the hair from growing back, but it can significantly reduce the amount of hair on most patients’ bodies. The procedure is best for people with dark hair and light skin who are tired of shaving, waxing, or plucking their unwanted hair.
Before the laser treatment, the practitioner cleans the area of the body that is being treated and may apply numbing cream to the skin, depending on the patient’s comfort level. Patients wear specially designed goggles to protect their eyes from the laser’s beam of light. The medical specialist then focuses the laser’s beam of light on the desired area of the skin. The pulses of light that are delivered by the laser are not painful, but they do cause a slight sensation. The procedure usually takes between a few minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the area being treated.
Patients should avoid plucking or waxing hairs prior to the procedure because they will temporarily remove the hair follicle, which is the target for the laser. It is also important to not tan or use any sun-lightening products on the skin before treatment as this can prevent the laser’s ability to properly treat the skin. In addition, the laser’s effectiveness can be negatively impacted by blood-thinning medications.
During the treatment, the patient will feel a sensation similar to a rubber band snapping against their skin as the laser’s light is being absorbed by the hair follicle. Some people can experience a little more discomfort than others, but the sensation typically goes away after a few treatments.
The results from the treatment can vary, as the laser’s efficacy depends on the contrast between the pigment of the hair and the color of the skin. For example, white or grey hair does not respond well to laser treatment because it lacks the pigment necessary for the laser to successfully treat the hair follicle. The laser can only target hair follicles that contain melanin.
How long will the procedure take?
Laser Hair Removal can be performed on most areas of the body that have excess hair growth. It can be especially effective on the face, neck, shoulders, upper lip and back. For most patients, two to six treatment sessions are required to achieve optimal results. Each treatment lasts approximately one hour. A topical anesthetic is typically applied to reduce any discomfort during the procedure.
Before a treatment session, we ask that you trim or shave the area to be treated to remove any excess hair that might prevent the laser light from targeting the hair follicles. You’ll be asked to wear protective goggles to shield your eyes from the laser beam during the procedure.
During the procedure, the technician will move the laser over the desired location of unwanted hair. The machine will then pulse laser light into the skin and destroy the follicle. As the laser destroys the follicle, it prevents it from producing future hair growth. The hair that has been destroyed will gradually fall out. This shedding process can take days to weeks to complete. Some people may have more regrowth after their treatment, but the new hair that does grow tends to be finer and lighter in color than the previous hair.
A small amount of redness or swelling may occur after a laser hair removal treatment, but these side effects typically resolve on their own within a few hours. For the first month after a treatment session, you’ll be encouraged to use moisturizers and sunscreen on sun-exposed areas. Using the proper skincare products will help prevent skin pigmentation issues in the area that has been treated.
The procedure is safe and effective for most people. However, it is not appropriate for pregnant women or those who have a skin condition called porphyrins. It is important to tell your doctor if you have these conditions before undergoing this procedure. It is also important to avoid sun exposure and tanning after a laser hair removal treatment. This is because the sun can trigger unwanted pigmentation changes in the skin and cause an irregular appearance.
What are the side effects?
For laser hair removal to be effective, hair follicles must be destroyed. The light energy from the laser penetrates the skin and damages the follicles, so they stop producing hair. The damage to the follicles can sometimes result in redness and swelling. The redness usually goes away after a few hours. To reduce the discomfort, numbing cream or lotion can be applied to the skin before the treatment begins. Most people find this procedure much less painful than waxing, plucking or shaving.
The only serious side effects associated with this procedure are blistering or scarring, which can happen if the treatment is done by an unqualified practitioner. You should always choose a doctor, dermatologist or other qualified practitioner who is on a register to show they meet certain standards of training and skill.
Some people find that their hair grows back after laser treatments. However, the hair that regrows is usually finer and lighter, making it less noticeable. Some people will need multiple sessions to achieve a more permanent solution.
It’s important to avoid sun exposure after a laser hair removal session, because the sun can cause the treated area to become darker. It’s also a good idea to use an SPF sun cream on the treated skin, particularly between sessions.
You should also avoid tweezing or waxing the treated area, as this can affect the results of your laser treatment. If you do have to tweeze or wax, it’s recommended that you wait at least six weeks before your next appointment.
A few days after your laser hair removal treatment, you may experience crusting of the skin, which is the result of pus, blood or dried sebum mixing with bacterial debris from the hair follicles. It’s not dangerous, but it can be uncomfortable and you should clean the affected skin regularly to prevent infection.
Laser hair removal is safe and effective for most people, but it doesn’t work on all types of skin complexions or hair colours. It’s usually most successful on those with dark hair and light skin, but it can work well for people with blond or reddish hair too.
What is the cost?
Many people are tired of shaving, plucking or waxing their hair. These methods can be time-consuming and cause razor burn or ingrown hairs. Laser hair removal can permanently remove unwanted hair, and is an excellent alternative to these other options. However, the initial cost of laser hair removal can be a deterrent for some people. Here is some information to help you determine if this treatment is right for you.
The average plastic surgeon’s fee for laser hair removal was $389 in 2020. This includes the office visit, topical anesthetic to numb pain, and laser treatment. It is important to find a highly rated, licensed technician with experience and knowledge of laser hair removal. This will ensure you get the best results and avoid any complications.
When you choose a provider, ask to see photos of previous clients and their results. You should also ask about any training or certifications the practitioner has. You should always do your research before having any procedure performed.
During the treatment, the laser emits light energy that minimizes skin damage and discomfort. This is especially true with newer laser technology that has safety cooling tips to protect your skin and prevent burning. Most people compare the sensation to a rubber band snapping against the skin. You will need to shave the area before your treatment and avoid sun exposure or tanning before and after the session.
Most people will require multiple treatments over a four to six week period to achieve desired results. This is because the laser only targets pigment in the hair follicle, so it can’t target all of the active hair follicles at one time. This is why it is recommended that you treat your entire body in multiple sessions rather than focusing on just one area at a time.
Once all of the active hair follicles are targeted and damaged, they will no longer grow. In fact, studies have shown that laser hair removal can actually permanently inhibit the growth of unwanted hair. So, while laser treatment is more expensive than shaving or waxing, it is a good investment to keep you from having to deal with unwanted hair for the rest of your life.