Laser hair removal has become one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in the United States. A variety of lasers and light sources have been developed that may be used in laser hair removal. The procedure was originally developed to be performed on dark hairs on light skin although newer technologies have made the procedure safer for patients with darker skin and more effective for lighter hair.
How It Works
Laser hair removal utilizes beams of highly concentrated light to selectively penetrate into the hair follicles, be absorbed by the pigment and destroy the hair within that hair follicle. Hair growth occurs in cycles with effective hair reduction only being achieved during the active growth phase. Hair reduction is considered permanent when a significant amount of hair does not return for a period of time longer than the complete growth cycle. After a series of treatments (usually around 6-8*), most of the unwanted hair is removed. However, if hair does regrow it is usually finer and lighter than before. Some people will see very long-term hair removal results which may last for many years. Others may require maintenance treatments over time to maintain their degree of hair loss. It is difficult to determine in advance who will require how many treatments and how long the hair will remain removed.
Prior to Treatment
Prior to having laser hair removal, you will meet with the clinician to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. The laser and light source will be set with parameters which take into consideration your skin color, the hair color, the thickness of the hair, the location of the hair and the amount of energy needed for the treatment to be performed. You will be asked about sun/UV light exposure and artificial tanning creams to the area. Laser hair removal cannot be performed on skin exposed to these at the time of treatment. It is best not to pluck or wax the desired area for one month prior to starting treatments to obtain the best results. Most patients will trim the hair with a scissor or razor to hide hair growth and to make the treatments more comfortable.
The area to be treated will be cleansed and prepped by placing a thin layer of ultrasound gel on top. This will provide a cool barrier as well as allow the light to penetrate better into your skin for best results. You and the clinician will wear a special pair of goggles for eye protection. The clinician will then give a pulse of light on the skin and observe the area for several minutes to determine if the best parameters were used. They will continue to pulse the light over the entire area to be treated. Many people describe the pulse sensation as a “hot rubber band” snap and quite tolerable. When the procedure is finished, it is common for the area treated to have some redness and some accentuation of the hair follicles themselves, similar to goose-bumps. This is normal and should disappear over the next few minutes but can last up to 12-24 hours for some patients.
After the treatment, you may feel a little warm in the area. Some patients like to have a cool gel pack, towel, or ice to apply. Occasionally aloe vera gels or anti-inflammatory creams such as hydrocortisone can be applied if the area is particularly sensitive. You will be asked to avoid sun/UV exposure and artificial tanning creams to the area for the remainder of the treatments. If this does happen, the clinician will evaluate the skin and determine whether the treatment can be performed safely or needs to be rescheduled. As the hair is starting to “grow out” some people may notice a few ingrown hairs or bumps. A loofah sponge or washcloth can help remove these stuck hairs. You will be scheduled for another treatment 4-6 weeks later and the procedure will be repeated until hair growth has been significantly reduced or eliminated.
If you are interested in learning more about Laser Hair Removal treatments, please follow our link below or schedule a complimentary consultation at Rejuvenation Clinic!
*Results vary by Individual.