Unwanted hair? Thinking about Laser Hair Removal? Here are 10 Things to know about the procedure!
1. Laser hair removal has been around as an FDA-approved treatment since the 1990s. Original lasers were not very effective, but technology has much improved since then!
2. Laser hair removal works best on fair skin with dark hair because the laser locates the hair follicle by targeting the dark pigment (melanin) in the follicles. For this reason, any type of tanning (incl. self tanners) is best avoided prior to treatment for the best results). Other skin tones and hair colors can also benefit, but it may not be as effective and typically requires many treatments.
3. The laser can be used on multiple areas of the face & body. The most popular treatments are on the legs, underarms, bikini line, chin & upper lip.
4. Hair in the area to be treated should not be plucked or waxed up to 3 weeks prior to the procedure in order to make sure that the hair is in the ideal growth cycle. You should, however, shave the night before to enhance the laser’s ability to target the hair follicle (vs. the hair itself)
5. During the procedure, a target beam of highly concentrated laser light is focused into the skin. The laser’s light targets the dark pigment located in the hair follicles & emits a specific amount of heat. This damages the hair follicle during its growth cycle, which significantly reduces or stops the follicle’s ability to grow hair. Check out the video of how it works here (http://www.aesthetic.lumenis.com/lsduet_how). The video features the LightSheer Duet, the laser we use here at Beverly Dermatology.
6. Multiple treatments are typically required. Why? Because the hair follicle is most sensitive to the laser in the growth phase. Since hair grows in phases and one follicle may be in a different stage than another, multiple treatments are needed in order to effectively target all of the hair follicles in a given area. It can take as few as 2-3 treatments, but the standard is 6-8 treatments.
7. Each treatment offers about a 10-25% reduction in hair growth. This percentage varies due to skin color, hair color, and area treated (areas with thinner skin, such as the armpits or bikini line, respond better to the laser [=greater overall hair reduction per treatment] than thicker skinned areas, such as the back and chin).
8. 4-6 weeks between treatments is recommended.
9. The treatment is not usually painful. There can be some discomfort, but patients note that it is less painful than waxing. If your skin is very sensitive, a topical anesthetic may be used.
10. After the treatment, some patients experience redness or bumps. This is temporary and resolves quickly, lasting only a few hours or up to about 3 days.
For More Information on Laser Hair Removal:
Beverly Dermatology – Laser Hair Removal http://www.beverlyskin.com/services/laser-hair-removal
American Society for Dermatologic Surgery – Laser Hair Removal Information https://www.asds.net/LaserHairRemovalInformation.aspx
American Academy of Dermatology - Laser Hair Removal http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/cosmetic-treatments/laser-hair-removal