Laser hair removal has been around for more than twenty years, but has only become commercially available since 1995. Today’s laser hair removal treatment makes use of advanced laser technology and sophisticated treatment devices to target hair follicles for hair removal. Generally speaking, laser hair removal methods have 70% effectiveness with results maintaining a long-term, stable reduction in the number of hairs regrowing after a treatment regime.
Laser hair removal has become popular because of its speed and efficacy, however many people still have questions regarding what it actually does. This guide provides you with all the things you need to know about Laser Hair Removal including pro tips before, during, and after the treatment.
Unwanted body hair is a problem for many. Traditional methods of removing hair like tweezing, shaving or using depilatory cream are ineffective as a long term hair removal solution. Additionally, electrolysis can offer a permanent solution, but it is slow, quite painful and may produce scarring. So how does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal seems very technical but the science behind it is actually simple. The procedure uses laser technology to target and destroy hair follicles that are about to enter the active phase of hair growth.
This treatment is distinct from Intense Pulse Light (IPL), which uses a broad spectrum of high- intensity light that emits light at multiple wavelengths. While both IPL and laser hair removal target hair follicles, the laser emits only one specific wavelength of light.
Like other treatments, laser hair removal has its own sets of pros and cons. It is important to understand these advantages and disadvantages for an informed choice before getting the treatment.
Practically, anyone can get laser hair removal. It is a generally safe procedure that produces real results. However, there may be some cases where treatment is not advisable.
Laser hair removal is perfect for those with light skin types or people with dark, coarse hair as it can easily be detected by the laser device. Darker skin types may find it difficult to target the hair follicles. The same can be said of people with blonde, red and other lighter hair colors. Hair removal lasers should not be used over tattoos.
People with acne, eczema and other related skin problems must consult a dermatologist first before getting laser hair removal. In some cases, it may cause acne and pimples to get worse. On the other hand, those with eczema can greatly benefit from the treatment as compared to shaving and waxing.
Laser treatment hair removal is also inadvisable to those who have photosensitive skin. Common causes of skin photosensitivity include acne treatments, antidepressants, and antihistamines. Some topical drugs and creams can also cause some skin side effects when they interact with a laser. Make sure to inform your doctor about the medications you are taking before undergoing the treatment.
In Australia, just like anywhere else, the cost of laser hair removal greatly depends on the size of the area that needs to be treated.
The device used, the technology, and the reputation of the clinic from which you will get the service will also influence the cost. More advanced technologies and devices may, of course, cost you more. However, this is often justified by the experience and the final result of the treatments.
To ensure your safety and to make sure that you are getting the most out of the treatment, it is recommended to observe the following prior to your first laser hair removal session.
Immediately after the treatment, you may still feel a bit of discomfort accompanied by redness, but this will easily go away. You may use a soothing cream to ease the discomfort.
After the treatment, you will be advised to avoid sun exposure, as well as the application of certain creams and skin products.
Results may not instantly show on the first session but they gradually become noticeable as the sessions progress. Sessions are scheduled four to ten week apart, depending on the area. During that time, prolonged exposure to sunlight should be avoided, as well as some forms of topical medications and creams.
Hair may start to fall out 5-14 days after the treatment. Do not pull them. Use a washcloth for removing hair. You can also shave, but avoid doing anything that involves pulling hair from their follicles. Laser hair removal is not a permanent solution to unwanted hair. After the treatments, some hair may grow back but they are expected to reduce growth after several sessions.
Succeeding sessions are usually scheduled six weeks after the other and sessions stop when your hair stops growing, typically after around five to seven sessions.
In spite of being around for quite a while, laser hair removal procedures are not immune to misconceptions and myths. These fictional takes on the treatment can affect the expectations of someone who is yet to get it.
Here are some of the most common myths behind laser hair removal and the truth behind them:
1. It causes wrinkles and accelerates aging eventually.
No. The treatment does not lead to skin infections and skin problems. The only side effects such as redness in the treated area which eventually goes away shortly after treatment.
2. It causes skin cancer.
No. The laser only targets the hair follicles. There is no evidence that supports skin cancer developing after getting treatment. Laser light is NOT like X-rays and doesn’t have the potential to alter DNA.
3. It causes acne.
Just like the myth on wrinkles, there is no evidence to suggest that laser hair removal can cause acne, however excessive use of occlusive creams may clog the pores, so always check what you’re using on your skin with your doctor.
4. It is not safe in the abdominal area of women because it can affect fertility.
Only the hair follicles are targeted during the treatment so it has nothing to do with and will not affect the fertility of women. It is safe to be used in any part of the body. The laser light does not penetrate to any internal organs.
5. It is not recommended during pregnancy.
Pregnant women can still get the advantage of this hair removal procedure without endangering the fetus or affecting the pregnancy, however the skin of pregnant women is prone to developing pigmentation in certain areas and if this is an area where hair is needing treatment, it may be better to wait until this settles.
6. It damages skin and can cause skin darkening, hyper-pigmentation, and scarring.
These risks are only present if the one administering the treatment is not trained to do it or the patient has sun exposure, fake tan, etc or other undisclosed conditions or medicines. Aside from certain levels of discomfort, the only side effect is skin redness which goes away easily.
Things to Keep in Mind
Laser hair removal is a generally safe and effective procedure. However, the experience and the success greatly depends on where you get the treatment. This means that you have to be careful in choosing the clinic you will get the procedure from. Do away with clinics that offer suspiciously low prices.
Choose a clinic that has the reputation of providing quality, safe, and excellent service. Ask recommendations from your family or friends. You can also search the internet for the best clinics that offer the service in your area. Do not forget to read reviews and feedbacks from their past clients.