Laser Hair Removal
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Everyone has different reasons for wanting laser hair removal. Some people prefer the appearance of always having smooth skin. Other people are concerned about removing hair in embarrassing areas. Others cannot easily reach the areas where the hair grows (e.g. men and their backs).
For some it is the financial incentive of not having to pay for waxing or razors. Finally, for many, there is the joy of just having one less chore to worry about, leaving more time to devote to other things. A shortcut is a wonderful thing!
What Makes Laser Hair Removal Different?
There are a number of different ways to remove hair; waxing, depilatories, plucking, shaving, and threading are some of these methods. The one thing they all have in common is that the hair removal is temporary. The hair is going to grow back and you often have to wait for the stubble phase in order to remove those hairs again.
One method of long-term reduction is electrolysis, which treats a single hair at a time, making it an expensive, time consuming, and painful treatment. Laser hair removal provides a long-term growth delay and permanent hair reduction, which is fast, affordable, effective, and much less uncomfortable.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
A concentrated beam of light produced by the laser is aimed at hair. The light is absorbed by the pigment, which damages the follicle enough to retard future growth. The important part is matching a specific wavelength of light and pulse duration to have the maximum effect on the targeted hair follicle with minimal effect on surrounding tissue and skin.
The hair follicle is targeted due to the higher concentration of melanin, which is what gives your hair and skin its color. By heating the melanin within the follicle, the follicle is damaged which prevents new hairs from growing.
Who Can Be Treated With Laser Hair Removal?
There are two types of melanin in hair; Eumelanin, which gives hair brown or black color, and Pheomelanin, which gives hair blonde or red color. Unfortunately the light produced by the laser is only absorbed by dark material, so blonde or red hair cannot be treated.
Also, it is important to have the skin as pale as possible, as the light is absorbed with much more speed and intensity by darker skin, regardless if the color is naturally-occurring or artificially induced. This means people with pale skin and dark hair have the best results with Laser Hair Removal. Patients with darker skin can be treated, although it may take more sessions and the settings may have to stay at a lower setting.
How Many Treatments Will Be Required?
Everyone is unique so it can be difficult to promise that a certain amount of treatments will give optimal results. The area being treated, the initial density of the hair, the color of both the hair and skin, and hormone level can all contribute to number of treatments needed. Often, patients with lighter colored skin will require 3-6 treatments, depending on the density of hair.
Patients with darker colored skin may require 6-8 treatments. The treatments should be spaced approximately 6-8 weeks apart to achieve optimal results. Treatments sooner than 6 weeks are not as effective because it takes hair 6 weeks to enter the growth cycle (anagen phase). At this point you will have the maximum amount of growing hairs to be treated.
How Long Does Laser Hair Removal Treatments Take?
The amount of time a session of Laser Hair Removal takes depends on the area to be treated. Some areas such as bikini line, upper lip, chin, or underarms, can take a few minutes. Other areas such as legs, arms, or backs can take 30 minutes to an hour.
Adding applied numbing medication before treatment can add about 15 minutes or more to the session time as it takes time for the medication to absorb and be effective.
What Areas Can Be Treated With Laser Hair Removal?
Just about every area of the body can be treated. If you have hair growing somewhere and you rather not on your body, let us know and we can take care of that for you. Some of the most popular areas for women are the; Brazilian Bikini, Underarms, and face. Often the legs and abdomen are added. Men often laser their backs, shoulders, neck, and chest and abdominal areas.
What Does Laser Hair Removal Feel Like?
Laser Hair Removal is typically a very tolerable procedure. Most people rate it a 3 or 4 on a pain scale of 10 and describe it similar to a rubber band snapping against the skin.
The amount of discomfort often depends on the area treated. We apply topical numbing medication prior to the treatment in addition to using a chilled tip which reduces discomfort. Although there may be a slight burning sensation after the treatment, usually the pain is over when the treatment is completed.
How Long Will The Results From Laser Hair Removal Last?
There are a number of different factors that can impact the length of the results. One factor is changes in hormone levels that can cause dormant hair follicles to become active. Areas such as underarms may need a yearly or an every-other-year treatment.
Bikini areas may require a treatment after a couple years. We cannot promise that everyone will achieve any level of permanent hair reduction; however, on average most patients can expect to achieve a 75%-90% permanent reduction in the number of hairs following a full course of treatment.
There Are So Many Different Places Offering Laser Hair Removal, Where Should I Go?
Many MediSpas and physician offices advertise laser hair removal. Laser hair removal is a procedure and its results are closely linked to the qualifications of the physician and nurse performing the procedure.
Look for physicians trained in treating the potential complications of laser hair removal, such as plastic surgeons and dermatologists. Jenn, our RN, under supervision of Dr. Samimi, has many years of experience in safely performing laser hair removal.
Which Laser Is Best For Me?
At RevivaMed, we use the Lightsheer XC Diode Laser. This laser is specifically and only used for hair removal and is considered the “gold standard” in laser hair removal.
Is There Anything I Should Do Before My Laser Hair Removal Treatment?
There are a few things you can do to ensure you get the best results from your Laser Hair Removal treatment:
- Do not pluck, wax, use a depilatory or undergo electrolysis in the areas you wish to have treated for 6 weeks prior to laser hair removal. This removes the hair from the follicle making the treatment ineffective.
- Do not tan the areas to be treated for 4 weeks prior to treatment. The light from the laser is absorbed by melanin. The darker your skin is the more risk you are for burns or hyperpigmentation.
- Avoid using self-tanning products for 2 weeks prior to treatment. Again, it is important for your skin to be as pale as possible to limit the risk for burns and hyperpigmentation.
- Shave the area one to two days prior to laser treatment.
Can I Return To Work & Normal Activities Immediately After Treatment?
Yes, you can return to work and normal activities immediately. You may feel like have mild sunburn for 24 hours or more. Slight redness and swelling surrounding the hair follicles is normal and is actually an indicator of a good clinical response.
It is important to clean the area twice a day to encourage the hair to shed from the hair follicle. Avoid sun exposure and apply sunscreen for 6 weeks over the treated area. It would be best to shave the area with regular Head and Shoulders Shampoo, as it is less irritating than shave gels and helps prevent ingrown hairs. If you experience itching, use Hydrocortisone cream with aloe twice a day on the area. It helps to soothe the skin.