Laser hair removal is a convenient, noninvasive method for permanently reducing or removing unwanted facial or body hair. It leaves the skin looking smoother and silkier than waxing, electrolysis or razors and is a gentle technique that can treat larger areas effectively with minimal discomfort and with no downtime. Today, laser hair removal is one of the most common aesthetic procedures performed in the World.
When to Consider Laser Hair Removal
- If you have unwanted facial or body hair that makes you feel self-conscious or limits your ability to wear certain clothing
- If you have dark hair and light skin
- If you are looking for an alternative to waxing, electrolysis, shaving and bleaching
- Both large and small areas of the body are effectively treated
- May make skin color and complexion more uniform
- Most patients have permanent hair loss after an average of 3 to 8 sessions
- Multiple treatments are usually required to produce satisfactory results
- Patients with darker skin may not respond well due to inadequate discrepancy between skin and hair colors
- Blonde or gray/white hair is less responsive due to lack of ample pigment in the hair
These are the top three pros and cons to weigh when considering laser hair removal. If you want to focus on what is unique to you, please consult us.
Are you a good candidate for a laser hair removal?
The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider laser hair removal:
- You have unwanted facial or body hair that makes you feel self-conscious
- You are looking for an alternative to waxing, electrolysis, shaving and bleaching
- You have dark hair and light skin
Darker hairs will absorb more of the laser light and lighter skin allows more transmission of the laser light into the hair follicle. Age, ethnicity, medication, hormone levels and body area affect the length, coarseness and color of body hair, which in turn will influence the results of any cosmetic laser treatment.
- Laser hair removal is safe for all parts of the body, including the face, but a protective eye cover is usually used.
- Permanently removing or reducing hair on the legs can save time, money and aggravation on shaving and waxing.
Detailed Procedural Info
How is a laser hair removal procedure performed?
Before your laser hair removal treatment, protective eye shields will be placed over your eyes to prevent injury to your corneas or retinas. The hair that will be undergoing treatment will be trimmed to a few millimeters above the skin surface. To protect the outer layers of your skin, a cold gel or a special cooling device will be used. This will also make the treatment more effective by facilitating laser light penetration through the skin.
The most popular lasers for hair removal use a low-energy laser beam which will be adjusted to your skin color and to the color, thickness, and location of the hair that is to be removed. A test treatment will first be done by directing a test pulse light to the treatment area. A low-energy laser beam will pass through your skin and be absorbed by the pigment of a percentage of the active-growth hair follicles. This area will be observed to make sure that the settings are correct and to check for any adverse reactions to treatment.
If the test proves successful, the low-energy laser beam is then systematically directed spot-by-spot to the areas to be treated, instantly and permanently disabling the active-growth hair follicles with each treatment. Hair follicles in the dormant phase are not affected by the treatment.
When the procedure is completed, you may be given ice packs, cold water or anti-inflammatory creams or lotions to soothe the treated areas and diminish any discomfort.
Multiple sessions are required for optimal results. Usually three to eight are needed initially, but additional treatments at later dates should be expected, especially if you have endogenous hormone secreting states or exogenous hormone use.
Most surgeons recommend treatment intervals of four to eight weeks, depending on:
- Your gender, age, hair type, and hair growth pattern
- The body region being treated
- The laser or light-based device selected
What are my options?
There are a number of devices for laser hair removal. The most successful use a low-energy laser beam to disable the active growth hair follicles. The following variables affect laser or device hair removal:
- Skin color
- Hair color and thickness
- Area of the body treated
- Device type
- Wavelength and fluency used
- Spot size and pulse width
- Skin temperature and cooling
- Treatment timing
Your clinician may use one or a combination of the following devices, depending on your skin type, hair thickness and color, the size and location of the area being treated, and the treatment timing:
- Ruby laser
- Alexandrite laser
- Diode laser
- Nd:YAG laser
- Intense pulsed light devices
Alexandrite and pulsed light devices should not be used on darker skin types or tanned patients. Diode lasers and Nd:YAG lasers may be used for these skin types. After evaluating your particular skin color and hair characteristics, your clinician will choose the option that is best suited for your particular situation.