Laser hair removal is a procedure that permanently reduces unwanted hair growth. It works by using light energy to heat up and destroy dark melanin in the hair follicles.
Most men and women need a series of six to eight treatments spaced four to eight weeks apart for optimal results. Many patients are hair free for months or years, and when the hair does grow back, it tends to be thinner and lighter in color.
Unwanted hair growth is an inconvenient and time-consuming problem for many people. Shaving, plucking and waxing can be tedious and even painful, especially in sensitive areas. Fortunately, laser hair removal can provide long-lasting and effective results. Laser hair removal works by using heat from a laser to remove unwanted hair, permanently disable hair-producing cells in the skin and prevent future growth of hair. During the procedure, you’ll wear protective eyewear. The area will be shaved and prepped, and an assistant may apply a cooling gel to reduce discomfort.
During the treatment, your doctor will use a handheld device to deliver quick pulses of light to each individual hair follicle. You’ll feel a series of minor stings or “zaps” that last for seconds and can be mistaken for the snapping of a rubber band. Your doctor might also use an ice pack to cool the skin or a topical anesthetic. The length of the procedure varies according to the size of the area being treated.
The laser’s light energy is absorbed by dark pigment, melanin, in the hair follicle and causes damage to it. Lighter hair or tanned skin, however, has more melanin and will not absorb as much of the laser’s light energy. As a result, it is less likely to respond to laser treatment.
When choosing someone to perform your laser treatment, make sure they have proper training and experience. Ask your doctor about their credentials and whether they’re registered on a list that demonstrates they meet set standards for skill and insurance. Also, check online reviews to see what other patients have experienced during their laser treatments. Lastly, don’t forget to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to any treated areas between sessions. Doing so can help reduce the risk of redness and swelling caused by the laser’s heat. It can also decrease the likelihood of side effects like hyper- or hypopigmentation.
Laser hair removal is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments for both men and women. It is relatively painless, though it can be uncomfortable for some individuals. Before the treatment begins, a technician applies a numbing cream. This is usually a triple anesthetic cream that is made at a compounding pharmacy.
The anesthetic is absorbed into the skin and becomes effective within seconds. The technician will then press a handheld device against the skin and trigger the laser. This can cause a sensation like rubber bands snapping against the skin. Each pulse of the laser takes a fraction of a second and can treat multiple hairs at the same time. Small areas can be treated in less than a minute, while large areas may take up to an hour or more.
During the procedure, you will be given protective eyewear to wear. The practitioner will also apply a cold gel or air spray to the area to protect your skin from the heat of the laser.
Most people report that laser hair removal is no more painful than waxing, and many describe it as less painful. The discomfort is usually limited to sensitive areas, such as the underarms or bikini line.
While most laser hair removal is considered to be permanent, it’s important to note that some people may experience new growth. This is typically due to hormonal fluctuations and can be easily corrected with a touch-up session.
The results from laser hair removal are long-lasting and far more efficient than shaving, tweezing, or plucking. You’ll save money in the long run on razors, shaving cream, and waxing, too!
It’s important to remember that laser hair removal is a medical procedure and should only be performed by an experienced practitioner. It’s also generally considered to be a cosmetic procedure, so private insurance does not cover it. However, if you’re seeking laser hair removal to treat an underlying health condition, your insurance company may approve your claim. Talk to your provider for more information.
Before treatment begins, the practitioner will have cleaned and shaved the area to be treated. They’ll also put on special goggles to protect your eyes and apply a numbing gel to the skin if necessary. Once the numbing has taken effect, the practitioner will press the laser’s hand-held device against the skin and start firing pulses of light. Most people describe the sensation as a rubber band snapping against the skin. Depending on the size of the area being treated, the process can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.
The treatment is very effective at killing or damaging hair follicles, and if it does destroy a hair follicle, that hair won’t grow back. However, it is difficult to kill or damage every single hair follicle. This means that hair will sometimes regrow, but it typically grows in a lighter and less noticeable way than before. Most patients find that they need a series of six to eight laser treatments for optimal results.
During your treatment, you’ll need to avoid tanning or sunbathing, and you’ll need to use a good quality sunscreen every day. The sun’s rays can affect how well laser treatments work, and they may cause the treated skin to burn or swell.
Before you undergo your procedure, it’s a good idea to research the clinic or person who will perform it. Look for a doctor who is on a register that shows they meet set standards for training, skill and insurance. You should also check the person’s credentials to make sure they have plenty of experience with laser treatments. You should never go to a clinic that doesn’t have these credentials. It’s also a good idea to check online reviews to see what other people have said about the salon or the practitioner.
You’ll want to be careful with the treated area after your laser hair removal treatment. A few simple care protocols can help you avoid pain, swelling and other side effects and get the best results from your treatment.
Wet a washcloth or paper towel with cool water and apply it to the skin over the treated area for several minutes at a time to reduce temporary pain and swelling after your procedure. If necessary, your physician may also prescribe a steroid cream to help relieve discomfort and promote healing. You should also avoid hot showers and baths; instead, use tepid or lukewarm water. Avoid sun exposure as well, or at least wear a high-SPF sunscreen with broad spectrum coverage after your laser hair removal treatments.
Your skin will need time to recover after your laser hair removal treatment. Redness, swelling and small bumps are common but should fade quickly for most people. If they don’t, talk to your dermatologist or laser specialist for advice.
It’s also important to avoid other hair removal methods after your treatment. Waxing and plucking can damage the treated area. If you need to shave, do so as gently as possible to avoid irritating the skin.
Once the skin heals, it’s important to exfoliate the treated area regularly for the next four weeks. This will speed up the rate of hair shedding and help you achieve your desired outcome from the laser hair removal procedure.
You’ll need to come back for laser hair removal treatments several times to get long-lasting results. Most men and women require a series of six to eight treatments spaced about four to eight weeks apart.
Keep in mind that laser hair removal works only on pigmented hair follicles. Patients with white or grey hair do not have enough melanin to be treated effectively with a laser, so they must resort to other hair removal methods like electrolysis for permanent hair reduction. The good news is that if your hair does regrow, it will be finer and lighter in color than before your laser treatment.