Shaving. Waxing. Tweezing. These are the most common ways to remove unwanted facial and body hair. It’s a never-ending fight, which is evident in the fact that women use these methods weekly, if not daily. Although some people have no qualms about this chore, many others are looking for an easier, less time-consuming solution. Enter: laser hair removal.
Laser hair removal is a procedure that became commercially available in the mid-1990s and has been widely practiced in clinics ever since. Fully accepted and supported in the dermatology community, it’s a safe and efficient method that has many of our clients yearning to learn more. If you’re wondering whether laser hair removal right for you, here’s what you need to know.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
Unlike shaving, waxing, or tweezing, which removes hair already on the skin’s surface, laser hair removal targets what’s underneath the skin: hair follicles. The laser’s light converts to heat as it passes through the skin and is absorbed into the hair’s dark pigment (melanin) within the follicle. The energy from the laser light “kills” the follicle at its root, which prevents hair from growing back. Laser hair removal sessions can vary in length depending on which parts of the body you want treated. Once the first treatment is complete, you’ll likely need additional sessions to see full results.
Why So Many Appointments?
Laser treatment works best on hair follicles that are in their “active” growth phase. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure how many you’ll “catch” per laser session—especially since humans have anywhere from 50 to 300 follicles per square inch of skin! Coming back multiple times ensures the laser will catch all hair follicles during their growth cycles.
Does My Skin and Natural Hair Color Effect Results?
There are different types of lasers that can be used depending on your skin and natural hair color. Lasers that emit shorter pulses are ideal for fair and medium complexions with darker, coarser hair, while lasers with longer wavelength beams that penetrate skin deeper are best for olive-to-black-skinned patients. Natural blondes and redheads can use laser hair removal, but they do have lower levels of melanin meaning lasers won’t be as effective. This also goes for natural grey-haired patients, due to the lack of melanin.
Where Can I Get Laser Hair Removal on My Body?
Lasers work on almost any area where hair grows on the body. Backs and chests are the most common areas for men, while bikini lines and underarms are popular for women. Legs, arms, stomachs, chins, and unibrows are also very popular choices among patients.
What Kind of Long Term Results Can I Expect?
After finishing the necessary amount of sessions, complete hair removal will last six to twelve months before you’ll need a touch-up treatment. Sometimes “inactive” follicles can begin producing new hairs due to hormonal changes, and that’s why it’s important to come back for touch-up sessions. The more treatments you get, the sparser the hair regrowth and the weaker the hairs.
Is Laser Hair Removal Safe?
At Coastal Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center, we always recommend an initial consultation to ensure you’re a good candidate for laser hair removal and that you feel confident about the procedure. A few important factors to keep in mind is to never get laser treatment if you’re tanning, are sunburned, or have used a tanning product in the past four to eight weeks. Lasers function by picking up the difference between skin and hair colors, and darker tanned or sunburned skin can result in extra energy emitted from laser, potentially causing redness or burning.
Is it Time for Laser Hair Removal?
If you’ve read through the information above and feel this option is right for you – great! We would love for you to stop by our Wilmington, NC skin care center and talk to us about the procedure. We understand how frustrating it can be to shave or tweeze daily, so if you’re ready to give laser treatment a try, we’re here to guide you through the process. Contact us to schedule an appointment and let’s get started!