Laser Hair Removal
If you’re not happy with shaving, tweezing, or waxing to remove unwanted hair, laser hair removal may be an option worth considering. Laser hair removal machines use beams of highly concentrated light to destroy hair follicles.
Benefits of Laser Hair Removal
Lasers are useful for removing unwanted hair from the face, legs, arms, underarms, bikini line, and other areas of the body.
Other than being almost completely painless, other benefits of laser hair removal include:
Precision. Lasers can selectively target dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.
Speed. Each pulse of the laser takes a fraction of a second and can treat many hairs at the same time. The laser can treat an area approximately the size of a quarter every second. Small areas such as the upper lip can be treated in less than a few minutes, and large areas, such as the back or legs, may take up to an hour.
Predictability. Most patients have significant (approximately 90%) hair reduction after having eight to ten sessions of laser hair removal.
How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is more than just ”zapping” unwanted hair. It is a medical procedure that requires training to perform and carries potential risks.
If you are planning on undergoing laser hair removal, do not tweeze, wax, bleach or use depilatories for 3 weeks before treatment and discontinue completely between laser hair removal treatments. This is because the laser targets the hairs’ roots, which are temporarily removed by waxing and plucking.
You should also avoid prolonged sun exposure before and after treatment. Sun exposure makes laser hair removal less effective and can make complications after treatment more likely to occur.
The night or morning prior to your laser treatment session, you must shave or may use a facial trimmer for the areas that are undergoing laser hair removal treatment.
What to Expect During Laser Hair Removal
The laser hair removal machine will be adjusted according to the color, thickness, and location of your hair being treated as well as your skin color by a qualified nurse or physician. You and the nurse or physician will need to wear appropriate eye protection during treatment. It will also be necessary to protect the outer layers of your skin by applying ultrasound gel to the areas being treated, which will also help the laser light penetrate the skin.
Laser hair removal treatments are usually scheduled anywhere between three to six weeks apart, depending on the area being treated and how many treatments you’ve had. You’ll continue to get treatments until the hair stops growing.
What to Expect After Laser Hair Removal
After Treatment you MUST apply an SPF 30 (minimum) sun block on areas exposed to the sun.
A mild sunburn like sensation is expected, this usually lasts 2-24 hours but can persist up to 72 hours. Mild swelling and/or redness may accompany this, but usually resolves in 2-3 days.
Handle your treatment area gently and avoid shaving for at least 24 hours from time of treatment. Also avoid hot water and strenuous actives for the next 24 hours after treatment.
Protect your treatment areas from direct exposure to sun or artificial sunlight for 3 weeks after and use sunscreen with total block protection. Tanning after treatment sessions may results in skin discolorations.
Apply Aloe Vera or hydrocortisone cream to treatment areas to ease temporary discomfort ice packs may also be used if swelling occurs.
Makeup may be applied immediately after facial treatments unless blistering or crusts develop. Since the skin is sensitive during this period, take special care while removing makeup to avoid damaging the skin and risking infections.
If a blister develops, contact your provider.
Appearance of hair growth or stubble will continue for 7-30 days post-treatment. This is not new hair growth, but the treated hairs being expelled from the skin.
In patients with facial hirsutism who have been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome and presenting ovarian hyperandrogenism, there is a risk of paradoxical effect resulting from the activation of dormant hair follicles in untreated areas close to hirsute-treated areas.