What is Laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light to remove hair from unwanted areas.
During laser hair removal, the doctor will use a laser which emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair called melanin. The light energy is converted to heat, which damages the hair follicles that produce hairs. This damage will typically inhibits or delays future hair growth.
What will happen before I receive laser hair removal treatment?
Before laser hair removal, the doctor will determine if this is an appropriate treatment option for you including the following:
- Review your medical history, medication review, history of skin disorders and past hair removal attempts
- Discuss risks, benefits and set expectations
- Take photos to be used as before-and-after assessments
The doctor will also offer specific instructions to prepare for your laser hair removal treatment this includes:
- Staying out of the sun. Avoiding sun exposure before and after treatment. Whenever you go out, apply a broad-spectrum.
- Avoiding other hair removal procedures. Plucking, waxing and electrolysis can disturb the hair follicle and should be avoided before treatment.
- Avoiding blood-thinners. medications such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs should be avoided before the procedure.
- Shaving treatment area. Trimming and shaving is recommended the day before laser treatment. It removes hair above the skin that can result in surface skin damage from burnt hairs, but it leaves the hair shaft intact below the surface.
What can I expect the day I receive laser hair removal treatment?
During the procedure
The doctor will press a hand-held laser instrument to your skin. Depending on the type of laser, a cooling device on the tip of the instrument or a cool gel might be used to protect your skin and lessen the risk of side effects.
When the doctor activates the laser, the laser beam will pass through your skin to the hair follicles. The intense heat from the laser beam damages the hair follicles, which inhibits hair growth. You might feel discomfort, such as a warm pinprick, and you’ll likely feel a sensation of cold from the cooling device or gel.
Treating a small area, such as the upper lip, might take only a few minutes. Treating a larger area, such as the back, might take more than an hour.
After the procedure
You might notice redness and swelling for the first few hours after laser hair removal.
To reduce any discomfort, apply ice to the treated area. If you have a skin reaction immediately after laser hair removal, the doctor might apply a steroid cream to the affected area.
After laser hair removal and between scheduled treatments, avoid sunlight and don’t use a tanning bed for six weeks or as directed by your doctor. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily.
When will I see results after my Laser hair removal treatment?
Hairs do not fall out immediately, but you will shed them over a period of days to weeks. This may look like continued hair growth. The repeated treatments are usually necessary because hair growth and loss naturally occur in a cycle, and laser treatment works best with hair follicles in the new-growth stage.
You will not have downtime or a recovery period. Some patients’ skin turns pink or red. The skin can swell a bit. These side effects are similar to having a sunburn or windburn for a day or two. During this time, some patients feel uncomfortable returning to work or being in public.
Most patients need a series of treatments to see results. To treat signs of aging, our dermatologist may treat a patient weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Most patients receive between 5 and 16 treatments.
After a series of treatments, patients usually say they have smoother skin and a more-radiant complexion.