Laser Hair Removal
If you’re not happy with shaving, tweezing or waxing unwanted hair, laser hair removal is an effective cosmetic service to consider. It’s one of the most common procedures in the United States and has attained positive responses since the mid-1990s. Here’s how laser hair removal works and what you can expect during an appointment.
What is Laser Hair Removal?
While shaving, tweezing and waxing removes hair on the skin’s surface, laser hair removal targets what’s underneath (hair follicles). The laser’s light transforms to heat as it passes through the skin and absorbs into the hair’s pigment within the follicle. The energy from the light “kills” the follicle at the root, which stops hair from growing back.
How Do I Prep for an Appointment?
In the days leading up to an appointment, avoid plucking and waxing. Regular shaving is fine because it preserves the hair shaft and follicle. Shaving is generally recommended before a laser hair removal appointment to ensure the laser doesn’t target any hair above the skin. It’s also a good practice to stay out of the sun because UV exposure increases the risk of laser hair removal side effects such as skin lightening.
What Happens During a Procedure?
A hair removal session involves moving a laser instrument against the skin, which is then activated and penetrates to where hair follicle growth begins. The follicles are essentially “killed” or damaged at their roots, which prevents future growth. The only type of discomfort felt during the process is a prickly sensation as the laser moves across the skin. Each session can last as little as fifteen minutes or as long as a couple of hours depending on which parts of the body are being treated.
Are There Any Side Effects After a Session?
Patients may notice redness or swelling in the treated areas for a couple of hours. Apply ice to the treated areas to soothe any discomfort. If the skin has a stronger reaction to the procedure, a steroid cream may be applied. It’s also important to avoid sun exposure and the use of tanning beds until the skin has completely healed.
What are the Long-Term Results?
Complete hair removal lasts six to twelve months before a touch-up session is needed. However due to hormonal changes, “inactive” hair follicles can sometimes start producing new hairs when least expected. The more routine patients are with their laser hair removal treatments, the weaker the hair follicles become and the longer it takes for hair to regrow.
Does laser hair removal treatment sound right for you? Do you have additional questions about the procedure? Contact our office to make an appointment with our board-certified dermatologist. We’ve been providing laser hair removal treatments for more than fifteen years and are available to discuss the best treatment solution for you.