What You Should Know?
Laser hair removal is the use of a laser beam to remove unwanted hair. A laser beam is used to focus intense heat on the individual hair follicle, causing damage which inhibits future hair growth. Laser hair removal is commonly used on the legs, armpits, upper lip, chin, and bikini line. However, the treatment can be carried out on nearly any area of the body. Usually, it takes several treatments before you can enjoy an extended hair-free period, and periodic maintenance treatments may be needed as well.
Note that laser hair removal is not a guaranteed permanent solution. Your hair may grow back because some hair follicles may be resistant to the laser treatment or your body may be going through hormonal changes such as a pregnancy or menopause, which can trigger new hair growth. However, the new growth is likely to be finer and lighter in color.
As with any procedure, laser hair removal can have side effects. The most common are:
- Skin irritation. Irritation, crusting or scabbing may occur temporarily after laser hair removal.
- Pigment changes. Laser hair removal may darken or lighten the affected skin temporarily. If an incorrect laser setting is used, those who have darker skin may experience skin lightening.
Before you start the treatment, consult a doctor or specialist who will:
- Review your medical history, including medication use
- Discuss the potential health risks of laser hair removal
- Discuss the general pros and cons of having laser hair removal
- Outline a plan of treatment and its costs
- Take photos for future assessments and reviews
Before your treatment:
- Don’t expose the area to direct sunlight, use sunbeds or apply tanning products. A tan can increase the risk of side effects, e.g. blistering and discoloration. If you just got a tan, either from sun exposure or tanning products, wait until the tan fades completely before undergoing treatment.
- Don’t pluck, wax, and or have electrolysis treatment. These hair removal methods can disturb the hair follicle and interfere with laser hair removal. Shaving is recommended, since it preserves the hair shaft and follicle, and might even improve results.
Methods for the treatment will vary from location to location, but here are some general steps that will take place during the procedure:
- Before each laser treatment, you’ll be fitted with special goggles to protect your eyes from the laser beam and a lubricating gel will be applied to the area to help the laser glide smoothly over the area.
- During the procedure, a hand-held laser instrument will be used on your skin along with a cooling device that will protect your skin. When the laser is activated, the laser beam will pass through your skin to the follicles where the hair grows. The intense heat delivered from the laser beam damages the hair follicles, which inhibits hair growth. Treating a small area, such as the upper lip, may take only a few minutes. However, a larger area, such as the back, may take several hours.
- After the procedure, you may notice redness and swelling for the first few hours. A stinging sensation may linger for a day or two. While your skin is healing, wash it gently with soap and water. Avoid scratching or scrubbing the affected skin. It is also important to avoid direct sunlight exposure for at least one week after treatment. It is recommended to use sunscreen whenever you are in direct sunlight.
Results will vary from person to person but, for optimal results, the specialist will normally recommend six treatments that are spaced 6-8 weeks apart.
At-Home Laser Hair Removal Kits: