Laser hair removal is an increasingly common cosmetic procedure 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 light-skinned people with dark hairs, although newer technologies have made the procedure safer for patients with darker skin and more effective for lighter hair.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
During a laser hair removal treatment, a small beam of high-heat laser light is used to target areas of unwanted hair growth. The energy from the laser damages the hair follicle, preventing or delaying further hair growth. The laser works by targeting the melanin (or pigment) in hairs, which is why the treatment works best on darker hair. Unfortunately, it can be more difficult for those with darker skin types who naturally have more melanin. The technology, however, is constantly improving to work more effectively on all types of hair and certain skin tones. The laser heat follows the hair from the follicle down the shaft and ends at the root, hopefully destroying the bulb, so the hair doesn’t grow back.
During the treatment, you and your clinician will wear specially-coated goggles to protect your eyes. The area to be treated must be clean and free of lotions, deodorant or other topical products. Occasionally, in large areas, the provider may map out the treatment area in quadrants with a skin pencil to help ensure no areas are missed. Then, a thin layer of ultrasound gel is applied to the skin to improve effectiveness and help provide a cooling layer between the laser and the skin. The clinician chooses a particular protocol on the machine to match your skin and hair type. Next, they will do some test pulses in the area to make sure they’re using the proper settings and to let you feel an example of the pulse.
Finally, the clinician will begin the treatment — it consists of several pulses of heated light that are often described as a hot rubber band snapping against your skin. The pulse is quick, and the sensation goes away almost immediately after its delivered. Treatments can last anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, depending on the area.
How Permanent Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal has never been a permanent solution for unwanted hair, but it gets pretty close. There will always be some follicles or bulbs lying dormant under the skin that can emerge during different times of life, particularly during phases that are hormone-related, such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Certain hormone disorders, such as Metabolic Syndrome, can also undermine the effectiveness or permanency of hair removal. Rest assured, even in stubborn cases, the treatments dramatically reduce hair growth, and patients often report a 95% or more reduction in hair.
In our experience, most people find the treatments so effective that they can completely stop regular shaving or using other hair removal methods. In cases where some growth continues, the hair is infrequent and minimal. People have also been known to do a touch-up or maintenance laser treatment once or twice a year if they have some patches that are being stubborn. The procedure is extremely popular — in 2018 alone, 385,000 laser hair removal procedures were performed in the U.S.
How Many Sessions of Laser Hair Removal Do You Need?
Initially, laser hair removal requires a series of six to eight treatments. These are typically performed about four weeks apart, depending on the area. Even the strongest laser hair device will require a series of treatments due to the nature of hair growth. At any point in time, only about 20% of the hair follicles on a person’s body are in the growth phase. So, after only one treatment, 80% or more of the hair follicles will remain. The purpose of regular interval treatments over several months is to have the best chance of success.
How Painful Is Laser Hair Removal?
Even though laser hair removal works through the use of small high-heat lasers that target the hair follicles, you generally won’t feel the heat. Immediately after the treatment, you may experience some redness and irritation, similar to a mild sunburn. Some providers use ice or numbing creams to help reduce any discomfort.
The level of pain and discomfort can depend on the individual, as well as the treatment area. Discomfort may be greater on sensitive areas and for those with sensitive skin. Any irritation or discomfort should be gone after about 24 hours.
What Should I Expect After My First Laser Hair Removal Session?
After your first laser hair removal treatment, you can expect some mild redness and slight discomfort or sensitivity in that area for up to an hour. The skin may also appear to have goosebumps as the hair follicles swell a little. This is totally normal and means the treatment is working as it should. There is no downtime, and you can resume normal activities as soon as you want. The only exception is to avoid UV light exposure — through the entire series of laser hair removal, it’s essential to avoid direct sun or tanning bed exposure, as both could cause serious side effects, such as burns and pigmentation.
The treated hair may look like it’s still growing for about two weeks after the initial treatment. However, afterward, many of the hairs will start falling out or just not grow in. After the first few treatments, the hair may look patchy with denser and lighter areas. With subsequent treatments, the patchiness will be gone, and the hair will become less noticeable.
Does Rejuvenation Clinic Offer Full-Body Laser Removal?
Many different areas of the body can be treated with laser hair removal therapy. Areas with darker, coarser hair are easiest to treat, including the face, underarms, back, legs and bikini line. Areas with lighter, fine hairs or “peach fuzz” can be more difficult to target with laser treatments. A full-body treatments is possible — however, it would typically be done in stages, and priority would be given to areas you’d like to target first. Generally, our patients and the clinician would be able to tolerate one hour of laser time at a session. To perform full body laser hair removal in one session could take hours.
We can help create a customized treatment that’s perfect for your goals and budget. For the best total body laser skin care in the area, Rejuvenation Clinic has you covered.
Can I Shave or Tweeze Before Laser Hair Removal?
It’s generally recommended that you not pluck, tweeze or wax the skin for one month before starting your treatments. However, shaving or trimming the hairs is okay. The light from the laser needs to target a follicle, and if you pluck out a hair, it is pulled out from underneath the skin. Even with a close shave, the hair is still at the surface of the skin, and the treatment can work effectively.
Can I Shave or Tweeze After Laser Hair Removal?
After your first laser hair removal treatment, you should continue to avoid tweezing and waxing until your treatments are complete. However, shaving is permitted. The hair should become more sparse as the treatments progress, but occasionally, you may notice a few little bumps or ingrown hairs. A loofah or washcloth can be used to gently exfoliate the area and get rid of these bumps and hairs. You’ll also be asked to continue to avoid any sun or artificial UV exposure, as well as sunless tanners in the treatment area until all laser treatments are complete.
Laser Hair Removal at Rejuvenation Clinic of Sauk Prairie
Laser hair removal is a great way to get long-term hair reduction. We hear so many positive comments like, “This is the best money I’ve ever spent” and “I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner!” If you’re someone who struggles with dark, coarse hair in unwanted areas or you’re too busy to justify a daily, weekly or monthly hair removal routine or you constantly struggle with irritated ingrown hairs, you might be the perfect candidate for laser hair removal at Rejuvenation Clinic of Sauk Prairie. Our clinicians can guide you through the laser hair removal process and help you look and feel your best.
Laser hair removal at Rejuvenation Clinic of Sauk Prairie is the best option for near-permanent hair removal or reduction in Madison, WI, and the surrounding areas.
If you are interested in learning more about Laser Hair Removal treatments, please schedule a complimentary consultation at Rejuvenation Clinic of Sauk Prairie.