WHAT IS LASER HAIR REMOVAL?
Imagine not having to shave, tweeze, wax or endure the tedious process of electrolysis again. Now with laser hair removal, lasers can safely and effectively eliminate stubborn and annoying unwanted hair using True lasers. Special lasers for hair removal are noninvasive therapy devices designed to eliminate undesired hair from all parts of the body.
Although there are no guarantees, laser hair removal has become one of the most sought after methods for long-term and/or permanent hair reduction, worldwide, with most patients feeling extremely satisfied.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR LASER HAIR REMOVAL?
There isn’t a person among us who doesn’t have some areas of unwanted hair. For women, it could be the underarms, legs, the bikini line, even the upper lip or sideburns. For men, the back and shoulders are common targets, but some men even opt to decrease their beard hair.
Laser hair removal works best when there is a good degree of contrast between darker hair and lighter skin. When that is the case, the laser energy can easily differentiate between the hair and the skin, making it the most effective.
Still, our advanced lasers at Bay Area Laser Cosmetic Surgery Center can work on all skin tones and hair colors. When there is less contrast, we simply lower the energy in the pulses delivered.
HOW DOES LASER HAIR REMOVAL WORK?
Laser hair removal works by concentrating beam of light aimed at hair. The light is absorbed by the pigment, which damages the follicle enough to retard future growth.
While you may think of lasers as they are used in sci-fi movies, hair removal actually comes down to heat and the melanin in your hair. Melanin is what gives your hair its color (it also gives the skin color). When laser light energy pulses are directed onto an area of unwanted hair, the melanin absorbs the laser light energy, and it converts to heat. That heat then travels down the hair shaft into the follicle damaging or destroying the follicle and preventing it from producing hair.
IS THERE ANYTHING I NEED TO DO TO PREPARE FOR MY SESSION?
As mentioned above, laser hair removal works best when there is a high contrast between the color of the patient’s skin and his or her hair color. So, avoiding sun is important before your appointment. Here are some things to do to prepare:
- Avoid sun exposure — If you have a tan, you need to let it fade before coming in for your session. As a rule, we advise patients to not have any sun exposure on the areas with unwanted hair for 4-6 weeks prior to their session.
- Avoid plucking, waxing, and electrolysis — For the laser energy to get down into the follicle, the hair needs to be actively anchored in the follicle. Plucking, waxing, and electrolysis all disturb the follicle. Shaving is fine, as it doesn’t affect hair in the follicle.
- Clean your skin — The treatment areas need to be free from cosmetics, lotions, and creams. If you’ve applied deodorant and are having your underarms treated, we will remove it prior to your session.
- Certain skincare products — Certain anti-aging skincare products can cause irritation when interacting with the laser energy. These include alphahydroxy acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and others. We’ll discuss these with you and tell you want to avoid for a few days before and after your appointment.
IS LASER HAIR REMOVAL PAINFUL?
At Bay Area Laser Cosmetic, our hair removal lasers have a built-in cooling function, which instantly mitigates the heat of the pulse after delivery. Patients describe the feeling of each pulse of the laser energy as similar to that of a small rubber band being snapped against the skin, followed by a cooling sensation. Some areas are more sensitive than others, but when you compare it to shaving the area umpteen thousand times
HOW LONG DOES LASER HAIR REMOVAL LAST?
The FDA approval of lasers for hair removal is what it calls “permanent hair reduction.” This is because laser treatments can’t remove all the unwanted hair permanently due to a couple of reasons. First, lasers only damage hair in the anagen (growth) cycle. But hairs can also be in the catagen (transitional phase between growth and rest) or the telogen phase (rest). The catagen and telogen phases involve stopping nourishment to the hair, shedding it, and restarting a new hair shaft. That’s why lasers don’t affect hair in these phases; they’re already on their way out. The laser energy can’t get into the follicle to damage it. Every hair on the human body is independent and works alone. Considering that the human body has around five million hairs on it (men have a few hundred thousand more than women), those are a lot of hair follicles to hope to catch in the anagen phase for effective laser removal.
Second, damaged follicles can rebuild with hormonal changes. Plus, if a follicle is only partially damaged, it may heal and begin to regrow hair.
Bottom line, numerous studies show the degree of permanent hair reduction to be from 85 to 90 percent.
COMMON AREAS TREATED FOR HAIR REMOVAL
- Bikini line
HOW LONG DOES A HAIR REMOVAL SESSION TAKE?
Due to the fact that hair is only treatable in the “active” phase of the growth cycle, several treatments spaced six to eight weeks apart is usually necessary to obtain good hair reduction. Some of the hairs will be eliminated immediately, yet it may often take at least two weeks to really notice hair extrusion (hair detaching from the follicles).
The length of your session depends on the size of the area we are treating. For instance, your underarms or upper lip would take just a few minutes while your legs can take up to an hour. You should plan on between 10 minutes to one hour per session.
HOW MANY LASER HAIR REMOVAL SESSIONS WILL I NEED?
As mentioned above, where the hairs are in the growth cycle is critical to successful permanent removal. For hair to be affected by the laser energy, they must be in the growth phase. The problem is all of our roughly five million hairs on the human body operate independently or one another, moving through the different phases from growth to rest. The key is to catch as many unwanted hairs as possible in the growth phase. That’s why it takes a series of sessions to catch more and more hair in the growth phase.
At Bay Area Laser Cosmetic Surgery, we’ve found between 6 and 10 sessions achieve the degree of permanent hair reduction that pleases most patients.
“I’m very happy with all the procedures that I have had. Great atmosphere.” – Marie R.
HOW SOON CAN I SEE RESULTS?
In some cases, patients may need to wait two to eight weeks for all treated hair to fall out. Many patients have noted a 70 to 80 percent reduction after sticking with the treatment regimen.