What You Should Know About Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a quick and relatively painless procedure that can eliminate the need for shaving, tweezing, or waxing. However, the results of laser hair removal are not permanent. Hair can regrow after a few months or years, although it tends to be finer and lighter in color than before.
Laser hair removal uses laser beams to heat and damage the hair follicles that produce unwanted hair. This causes the hair follicles to shrink and shut down, and over time, it stops them from making new hair. Hair growth is usually permanently reduced, although achieving this can take a few sessions.
Before the procedure begins, the doctor will clean the area of your skin that will be treated. If it will be sensitive, a numbing gel may be applied. You’ll also wear protective eyewear. You should avoid sun exposure before and after the treatment. This includes avoiding tanning beds and using sunscreen with a high SPF value.
The doctor will press a hand-held laser instrument to your skin. It might have a cooling device or a cool gel on the tip of the laser to protect your skin and reduce any discomfort. You’ll feel a series of sensations that might resemble a rubber band snapping against your skin or a warm pinprick. The doctor will continue to apply the laser to your skin until all the hair follicles have been damaged.
It’s important to find a doctor who has extensive experience with laser hair removal treatments. Untrained technicians can leave burns or scars on the skin. It’s also important to avoid salons or spas that don’t have strict licensing requirements. The doctor should be board-certified in an aesthetic specialty like dermatology or plastic surgery and have specific laser certification, Dr. Maiman says.
Before your appointment, you should shave the area that will be treated. You should also limit waxing, tweezing and plucking in the area for six weeks before your treatment. You should also shave the area before each laser session. Avoid sunless tanning products, as they can make the skin dark and prevent the laser from effectively targeting the hair follicles.
How Long Does It Take?
The amount of time that it takes to complete laser hair removal depends on the area being treated. Generally, a treatment for the face will be completed within about 30 minutes while one for the legs might take up to an hour. During the laser treatment, you will need to wear goggles to protect your eyes from the laser light. You may also have numbing gel applied to the area before the procedure, which can help reduce any discomfort you might feel during the treatment.
Once the laser treatment has been completed, your skin might be red and swollen. It might even have a stinging feeling, like you’ve been snapped by a rubber band. However, this only lasts for a few hours and can be relieved with the use of cold compresses or moisturizers. You might also notice that the area is shedding, which can make it look as though new growth is occurring, but this is actually your hair follicles shedding their unwanted hair and not growing back.
While most people will see a noticeable reduction in hair after the first session, it will take several sessions to achieve permanent results. It’s important that you choose an experienced practitioner who is on a register and meets set standards in training, skill, and insurance.
Once you have finished the treatment sessions, you might not need to worry about your hair growing back, but it is important to remember that some hair follicles are prone to going into a resting phase after an extended period of time, so they might start to grow again at a later date. You can still get permanent results by undergoing laser hair removal again at this point, though it might not be as effective as the original treatments.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Laser hair removal is one of the safest and most popular nonsurgical procedures performed. But it’s important that your doctor assess your medical history, skin type, and goals before starting treatment. It’s also important to avoid waxing or plucking the area for a few weeks prior to your appointment. These techniques interfere with the laser’s ability to target the follicle and can lead to inconsistent results.
A doctor will use a handheld device to move the laser over your treatment area. The laser emits a pulse of light that heats up the hair and disables it from growing more hair. The color and thickness of the hair, area treated, and type of laser used all influence the effectiveness of the treatment. Most patients experience a significant reduction in unwanted hair growth after only a few treatments, with some experiencing permanent hair removal.
The discomfort during laser treatment is minimal. The sensation has been compared to a rubber band snapping against the skin or a sunburn-like stinging. A cool compress can help reduce the pain. After the treatment, you may notice that your skin looks red and swollen. This can be reduced by using a cold compress and avoiding direct sunlight for six weeks, as well as following your doctor’s instructions.
It’s also important to stay out of the sun or use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher before and after your laser treatment. Natural and artificial tans can also make your skin less responsive to the procedure, as can some blood-thinning medications. You should also avoid waxing, tweezing, or plucking the area before your appointment. If you do, your hairs might be more difficult to treat and you might need more sessions or maintenance treatments.
What Can I Expect?
After the initial treatment session, it is normal to experience redness and swelling in the treated area. This is a result of the laser energy being delivered to the skin, and typically fades within 24 hours. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone or aloe vera gel can help reduce any discomfort. It is also important to shave the area to be treated before your appointment, as this will help prevent thermal damage to the skin. Shaving the area also allows for the laser to more accurately target the hair follicles.
You may notice a reduction in the appearance of hair growth one to three weeks after your first treatment. However, it is important to remember that this hair is shedding and not new growth. It is also a good idea to avoid plucking or waxing the area until you complete your entire course of laser treatments.
Once you have completed your full course of six to eight treatment sessions, you should see a significant reduction in the amount of hair that is growing in the treatment area. However, it is also recommended to receive maintenance top-ups every six months or so to catch any stray hairs that may be trying to grow in the area.
Although rare, there are some serious side effects that can occur from Laser Hair Removal, such as blistering or scarring. You can minimize your risk of these complications by following some simple rules before and after the procedure: Avoid sun exposure unless you are wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. You should also avoid bleaching, waxing or tweezing the area. It is also recommended to wear loose, comfortable clothing after a laser hair removal session, as friction between the skin and your clothes can cause irritation.
How Much Will It Cost?
It is important to know that laser hair removal costs may vary based on the area you would like to have treated and your skin and hair color. You can ask a local specialist for pricing information or use a cost comparison tool online. It is also wise to consider the amount of money you currently spend on shaving, waxing, and other hair removal methods to help determine if you can save money over time with laser treatment.
During a laser hair removal session, you will wear special goggles to protect your eyes. Your technician will then apply a cooling gel to the surface of the skin before applying the laser light. The laser heats up the pigment and destroys the hair follicle, preventing it from growing more hair. The procedure is often described as a warm pinprick, and it can be less painful than regular shaving or waxing.
Many people will require multiple treatment sessions to achieve their desired results. These will typically be scheduled in four to six week intervals. This is because of the way that hair grows and the way that different types of hair respond to the laser.
When considering laser treatment it is essential to find a licensed practitioner with experience treating your specific skin type and hair color. Check that they are on a register that proves they meet the set standards for training, skill, and insurance. This will ensure you are receiving a safe and effective treatment that delivers the best possible results. If you have any questions or concerns about the laser treatment or side effects after it has been completed, talk to your practitioner or contact your GP for advice.