Laser hair removal is a fast and effective treatment for removing unwanted hair on any part of the body. It is a safe technique for any part of the body, and most commonly used by women on upper lip, under arms, legs, chin, arms, and bikini area, and by men for chest, shoulders, back, and beard. It works by sending a focused (traditional laser) or intense pulsating beam of light (IPL) through each hair shaft into the follicle to destroy the root; this weakens the follicle, which causes the hair to eventually fall out and disable future growth.
There are a variety of laser hair removal devices available such as Diode, Alexandrite, LightSheer, and Nd:YAG, Gemini, elos Plus, etc. Considering factors such as skin and hair color, hair texture, and location and size of the area being treated, a laser hair removal specialist can determine which device is best suitable for you. Often, a combination of devices will be used to achieve the best results.
Laser hair removal is not a one-time solution for permanent hair removal. However, ongoing hair removal can be achieved by undergoing an initial series of sessions followed by periodic maintenance treatments.
Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair; however, advances in technology have made it possible for darker skin tones to achieve successful results with the right laser (Diode or Nd:YAG). Laser hair removal generally shows ineffective on people with white or blonde hair.
For people with dark skin tones there is a risk of hyperpigmentation and scaring, so it is necessary to seek treatment from a laser hair removal specialist who knows the safest and most effective technique for your skin color.
The level of discomfort caused by laser hair removal really depends on a person’s threshold for pain. Some claim the procedure is painless while others find it intolerable. In most cases, a topical anesthetic is applied to the surface area or a cooling device is used for skin protection and additional comfort; however, pain management is subjective to the provider, so best to inquire beforehand if you have a low tolerance for pain.
Depending on the laser, you and the technician are required to first wear protective eyewear. During laser hair removal treatment the laser device is moved across the targeted area, sending laser energy deep into each hair shaft to destroy hair by its root. This causes a snapping or burning sensation that can be compared to the snapping of a rubber band, quick match burn, or even a bee sting.
When treatment is finished ice-packs, anti-inflammatory cream, or cold compress may be applied to alleviate any discomfort, and sunscreen should be applied to areas of sun exposure.
A laser hair removal session takes 10 minutes to an hour depending on the surface area being treated.
Laser hair removal costs $200 – $1200 per session depending on surface area being treated.
Immediately after laser hair removal treatment the treated area often feels warm and may show redness and mild swelling that completely resolves within 2 days. You may return to your daily routine immediately after following treatment, being sure to avoid activities that cause sweating for 24 hours.
People with darker complexions may experience temporary blisters, and in rare cases, scarring or pigment discoloration may occur. If these symptoms occur, medical attention is necessary.
Results realized from laser hair removal are subjective per person according to age, ethnicity, hormone levels, and the color and texture of hair being treated. But while the degree of results varies, hair immediately appears scarcer and continues to shed within 1 to 3 weeks post treatment.
Since hair grows in cycles, laser hair removal can only treat a portion of the unwanted hair during each session; new hair appears during the next growth cycle and needs to be treated accordingly.
After an appropriate series of laser hair removal treatments the surface area is smoother with a large degree of permanent hair loss; hair that does resurface grows infrequently and appears significantly thinner than before. Ingrown hairs are now a non-issue!
Because hair grows in cycles and laser hair removal can only destroy follicles in an active growth cycle, multiple sessions are necessary to achieve ideal results.
How many sessions needed depends on a person’s particular hair growth pattern; the course of treatment to target all hair follicles ranges from 3 to 10 sessions spaced 4 to 8 weeks apart. The entire series often takes at least a year to complete and is best maintained by an annual touch-up treatment.
Laser hair removal should be administered by a board-certified dermatologist or licensed aesthetician who specializes in this procedure.
Some dedication is involved here if you want faster results…while in the midst of a long treatment series don’t pull out hair roots with waxing or plucking or you’ll have to wait another growth cycle to target them…6 weeks prior is the sweet spot.
Tanning, by sun or spray, darkens skin and impacts the effectiveness of treatment, so you may want to make this a winter endeavor.
There are non-medical centers that specialize only in laser hair removal and get excellent results…but if you’re someone who may need a medical-grade anesthetic, a cosmetic doctor is the way to go.
For the sensitive ladies…try to schedule appointments well before your cycle begins, because the pain intensifies the closer you get to that special day.
Disclaimer: As always, this information is provided to you for educational and/or informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an endorsement of any particular product, treatment, or procedure. This information is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment by a doctor or other qualified health care professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about any procedure or treatment, users should always consult their doctor or other qualified health care professional. Please visit our Terms of Service to view our full disclaimers.