Still Shaving? Throw away the Razor – Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is used for removing unwanted:
- facial hair
- hair in the armpits and bikini line
- ears – coarse hair
Laser hair removal has become very effective in the past decade. It is the preferred method of hair removal. It’s the alternative to waxing, plucking, shaving, and electrolysis. Also, prices are pretty reasonable in most communities. The easiest person to treat for laser hair removal has darker hair on lighter skin. The Nd:YAG laser does a good job with dark hair on dark skin.
It still does not work well for white or grey hair, fine blond hair, or women with hormonal problems such as polycystic ovaries disease.
How does laser eradicate hair?
The laser emits a specific beam of light at a wavelength that is targeted at melanin in the hair and/or at the follicle growth center known as the hair bulb. Melanin gives color to our hair and skin. The laser beam passes through the skin and is absorbed by the melanin in the hair follicle.
The ideal candidate for laser hair removal has hair that is darker than his or her skin color. If the skin and hair color are too similar, it may not be effective.
Darker skin needs “long-wave” hair-removal lasers like the YAG laser. They are safer if you have darker skin because they won’t “burn” the skin trying to get rid of the hair.
Is more than one treatment needed?
At any given time, a percentage of hairs are in the “resting” stage, rather than in the anagen growth stage. The laser will not be effective on the resting hairs, which is why five or six treatments are necessary in each area to achieve the best results.
More treatments can be done in about four to six weeks as soon as further hair growth is noticeable. Due to the variation in the number of hairs in the resting phase, certain parts of the body will respond more rapidly whereas others might take much longer to show effects. For example, the face usually responds more slowly than the bikini area.
No laser clinic should claim that all of the hairs will be permanently eradicated. Most patients will need a touch-up 1-4 times a year to maintain the improvement. More treatments may be needed if you have any history of irregular periods, polycystic ovary disease, gray or white hairs, or a family history of excessive hair.
About 5 percent of patients are resistant to any type of hair removal laser. It is very important to have a realistic expectation regarding individual results of hair removal.
Do I need to prepare for anything prior to treatment?
- No tanning. Tanning of any type changes the laser settings and is the most common cause of blistering after laser hair removal. Do not use self-tanners one to two weeks before a treatment.
- No waxing, plucking, electrolysis, bleaching or depilatories should be performed at least two weeks prior to treatment. Do not dye the hair to be treated. The hair must be present, a short stubble, and with its natural hair color in order to be treated effectively.
- Shaving is okay up until a few days prior to your treatment.
- All moisturizers and makeup should be removed prior to treatment.
- Inform your provider prior to laser treatment if you are taking any medications.
Is laser hair removal more difficult or challenging for some people?
- If you have hormonal abnormalities like irregular periods or polycystic ovaries
- If your hair is blonde, light red or white
- If it’s hard for you to make the time for an initial series of five or six monthly appointments
- If you have darker hair and darker skin, go to a center that has lasers specifically designed for you, such as the Nd:Yag
- If you insist on tanning while having treatments
Are there any side effects?
- Discomfort: Some people feel discomfort during the treatment. There may be a temporary burning sensation. When cold air is used along with the laser, the experience is much more comfortable.
- Blistering: There is always a slight possibility of developing a crust or blister. This is superficial and generally does not result in scarring and is treated like a sunburn or any other superficial blister.
- Hypopigmentation or Hyperpigmentation: The treated area will probably heal without any pigment changes; however, there is always a chance that darker or lighter areas may occur. These are usually temporary and will fade within 1-6 months. A UVA/UVB Sunblock of 50 SPF should be used after laser treatments to protect the skin. Sun exposure must be avoided if a darker spot occurs, as that may increase hyperpigmentation. It is rare that a change is permanent.
- Scarring is very rare and it is important to follow all the post- treatment instructions carefully.
- Some pinkness or minor swelling may occur immediately after treatment, especially on the face. This not harmful and temporary.
- Sensitive Skin: Skin that has been treated should be cared for gently for several days. It should not be rubbed.
- Bruising is rare: It will generally clear up within 4-10 days.
For further questions or a complementary consultation, please contact Paula Brady, Paramedical Aesthetician and Certified Laser Specialist at Spa Medica, LLC in Monument, CO 719-487-SKIN (7546).