Laser hair removal is a popular cosmetic treatment that involves using laser technology to remove unwanted hair from different parts of the body. Unlike traditional hair removal methods like waxing and shaving, laser hair removal provides long-lasting results and eliminates the need for constant maintenance. In this blog post, we will provide you with the ultimate guide to laser hair removal.
What methods of hair removal are there?
There are several methods of hair removal available, ranging from temporary to long-term solutions. Here are some of the most common methods of hair removal:
- Shaving: This is a temporary hair removal method that involves using a razor to cut the hair at the skin's surface. While it's quick and easy, the results only last for a day or two, and it can cause irritation and ingrown hairs.
- Waxing: Waxing involves applying hot wax to the skin and then pulling it off, along with the hair, using a strip of cloth. Waxing can provide longer-lasting results than shaving, but it can be painful and can cause skin irritation.
- Depilatory creams: Depilatory creams are products that dissolve the hair at the skin's surface. They can be a convenient and painless option, but the results only last for a few days, and they can cause skin irritation.
- Electrolysis: Electrolysis is a long-term hair removal method that involves inserting a tiny needle into each hair follicle and using an electric current to destroy the hair root. Electrolysis can be time-consuming and expensive, but it's effective on all hair types and skin colours.
- Laser hair removal: Laser hair removal is also a long-term hair removal method that uses a laser to target the hair follicles and prevent future hair growth. It can provide long-lasting results with faster treatment times.
What is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal works by using a concentrated beam of light to target the hair follicles. The light is absorbed by the pigment in the hair, which converts it into heat. This heat then damages the hair follicle, preventing future hair growth. The laser used in the procedure is designed to target the hair follicle and not harm the surrounding skin.
The laser used for hair removal emits a specific wavelength of light that can penetrate the skin and reach the hair follicle. The melanin in the hair follicle absorbs the light and converts it into heat, which destroys the hair follicle. The process is repeated for each hair follicle in the treatment area.
Laser hair removal works best on individuals with dark hair and light skin, as the contrast between the hair and skin allows the laser to target the hair follicle more effectively. However, advancements in laser technology have made it possible to treat a range of skin tones, although some may require more sessions to achieve the desired results.
Benefits of laser hair removal
- Long-lasting results: Unlike other temporary hair removal methods, laser hair removal can provide long-lasting results. After a series of treatments, people can experience up to 85-90% hair reduction.
- Precision: Laser hair removal can target specific areas of the body and remove unwanted hair without damaging the surrounding skin. This makes it a precise and effective method of hair removal.
- Speed: Laser hair removal can treat multiple hair follicles at once, making it a fast and efficient method of hair removal. Treatment times can vary depending on the area of the body being treated, but most sessions are relatively quick and can be completed during a lunch break.
- Convenience: This method can save time and money in the long run.
- Improved skin quality: Regular shaving and waxing can irritate the skin, causing redness, ingrown hairs, and other issues. Laser hair removal can improve the overall quality of the skin by stimulating collagen production.
- No Razor Rash: Laser hair removal eliminates the need for shaving, which can cause razor rash, ingrown hairs, and other skin irritations.
Overall, laser hair removal is a safe and effective method of hair removal that can provide long-lasting results with minimal discomfort. It's important to choose a qualified and experienced aesthetic practitioner to ensure safe and effective treatment.
How many laser hair removal sessions will you need?
The number of laser hair removal sessions you will need depends on several factors, including the treatment area, your hair growth cycle, and your skin and hair type. In general, most people require a course of at least 6-9 treatments to achieve effective results. However, some people may require more treatments depending on their individual needs.
During your consultation, your practitioner will evaluate your skin and hair type, assess the treatment area, and discuss your hair removal goals to develop a personalised treatment plan. Laser hair removal works when hair is in the active growth phase, which means that multiple treatments are needed to target hair at different stages of the growth cycle.
Typically, laser hair removal treatments are spaced 4-8 weeks apart to allow for the hair to enter the active growth phase. The number of sessions required can also vary depending on the thickness and density of the hair, as well as the individual's hormone levels.
After completing the initial treatment course, maintenance sessions may be recommended to maintain the results. With proper treatment, laser hair removal can provide long-lasting hair reduction and improved skin texture.
How to prepare for laser hair removal?
- Find a qualified and experienced practitioner: Laser hair removal should only be performed by a qualified and experienced technician. Look for a reputable clinic or salon that uses FDA-approved laser hair removal equipment.
- Avoid sun exposure: Exposure to the sun can make laser hair removal less effective and increase the risk of adverse reactions. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher if you go outside.
- Avoid other hair removal methods: Stop using other hair removal methods, such as waxing, plucking, and electrolysis. These methods can disturb the hair follicle and make laser hair removal less effective.
- Shave the treatment area: Shave the treatment area one day before your laser hair removal appointment. This ensures that the laser targets the hair follicle and not the hair above the skin's surface.
- Avoid certain medications: Some medications can make the skin more sensitive to light and increase the risk of complications from laser hair removal. If you start taking new medication/supplements, let your practitioner know prior to the treatment.
- Cleanse and moisturize the skin: Cleanse the treatment area thoroughly before your appointment and avoid using any lotions, creams, or perfumes on the skin.
By following these steps, you can help ensure safe and effective laser hair removal treatment and achieve the best possible results.
What to expect during a laser hair removal treatment?
- Consultation: Before your treatment, you will meet with your practitioner for a consultation to discuss your medical history, skin type, and hair removal goals. Once you are happy with your consultation, your practitioner will book a patch test to determine the appropriate laser settings for your skin and hair type. You need to wait 5-7 days following the patch test to make sure that you have no adverse reaction. If you have no reactions, we can start your first session.
- Laser treatment: During the procedure, your practitioner will use a handheld laser device to target the hair follicles. The laser emits a concentrated beam of light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle, damaging it and preventing future hair growth.
- Sensations: You may feel a snapping or tingling sensation during the treatment. Depending on your pain tolerance, your practitioner may adjust the laser settings to reduce discomfort. Some places may use a Cryo Cooling machine to calm your skin quickly and make the treatment less uncomfortable.
- Duration: The duration of the treatment will depend on the size of the treatment area. Smaller areas, such as the upper lip or underarms, may take only a few minutes, while larger areas, such as the legs or back, may take about an hour.
- Post-treatment: After the treatment, your technician will apply cooling to the treated area to reduce redness and swelling. You may experience some mild discomfort or irritation, but this should subside within a few hours.
- Follow-up treatments: Laser hair removal typically requires multiple sessions to achieve the desired results. Your practitioner will recommend a treatment plan based on your hair growth cycle, typically spaced 4-8 weeks apart.
Overall, laser hair removal is a relatively quick procedure that can provide long-lasting hair reduction. It's important to choose a qualified and experienced practitioner to ensure safe and effective treatment. Following the recommended treatment plan can help you achieve the best possible results.
How to care for your skin after laser hair removal?
After laser hair removal, it is important to take care of your skin to ensure that it heals properly and to reduce the risk of complications. Here are some tips for caring for your skin after laser hair removal:
Avoid direct sun exposure: It is important to avoid direct sun exposure to the treated area. If you need to go outside, wear protective clothing or use sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher.
Keep the area clean and dry: It is important to keep the treated area clean and dry to prevent infection. Avoid swimming, soaking in a hot tub or taking a hot bath for at least 24-48 hours after the treatment.
Avoid tight clothing: Wearing tight clothing can cause friction and irritation to the treated area. Wear loose-fitting clothing to allow the skin to breathe and heal.
Avoid exfoliating: Avoid using scrubs or exfoliants on the treated area for at least 1 week after the treatment, as this can irritate the skin.
Apply a soothing cream or gel: Apply a soothing cream or gel to the treated area to help reduce redness, inflammation and discomfort. Aloe vera gel or cream can be used for this purpose.
Follow your practitioner’s post-treatment instructions. They will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for your skin after the laser hair removal treatment.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your skin heals properly after laser hair removal and reduce the risk of complications.
What are the risks and side effects of laser hair removal?
Like any medical procedure, laser hair removal has potential risks and side effects. Some of the most common ones include:
- Skin irritation: Redness, swelling, and itching are common side effects that can occur after laser hair removal. This typically resolves within a few hours to a few days.
- Pigment changes: Laser hair removal can cause temporary darkening or lightening in skin colour. This is more likely to occur in individuals with darker skin tones or tanned/fake-tanned skin.
- Scarring: Although rare, laser hair removal can cause scarring in the treated area.
- Burns: Lasers can sometimes cause burns on the skin, particularly if you have a tan/fake tan or the laser is set to high intensity.
- Eye injury: If the laser is used near the eyes, there is a risk of eye injury. Eye protection should always be used during treatment to prevent this.
- Hair regrowth: Laser hair removal is not permanent, and some individuals may experience hair regrowth in the treated area and may need maintenance sessions.
It's important to note that these risks and side effects are typically rare and can be minimized by choosing an experienced and qualified practitioner and following proper aftercare instructions.
Types of laser hair removal machine
- Diode Laser: This is one of the most commonly used types of laser hair removal machine. Diode lasers use a longer wavelength of light that can be used for most skin tones.
- Alexandrite Laser: This type of laser uses a shorter wavelength of light and has the highest absorption of melanin. Therefore, the Alexandrite laser is often called a gold standard for hair removal treatment.
- Nd:YAG Laser: This laser is effective for treating dark skin. Nd:YAG lasers use a longer wavelength of light that can penetrate deeply into the skin without damaging the surrounding tissue.
- IPL (Intense Pulsed Light): While not technically a laser, IPL machines use broad-spectrum light to target the hair follicle. IPL machines are often less precise than lasers. However, they are generally more affordable than laser machines.
Each type of laser hair removal machine has its own advantages and disadvantages. The type of machine that is best for you will depend on your skin type, hair type, and the area of the body being treated. It's important to choose a qualified and experienced practitioner who can help you choose the best machine for your individual needs.
Laser hair removal is a safe and effective way to remove unwanted hair from different parts of the body. It provides long-lasting results and eliminates the need for constant maintenance. If you are interested in laser hair removal, consult with a qualified practitioner to determine if you are a good candidate for the treatment.