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The Breakdown of Laser Hair Removal: Does it Work?

The Breakdown of Laser Hair Removal: Does it Work?

Does it work? Absolutely! Laser hair removal is one of the most common cosmetic procedures in the US. It is also one of the cheapest, least invasive, and safest permanent cosmetic procedures available, and has been available commercially since the mid 1990s. This procedure is offered by thousands of plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and even day spas. There are even FDA approved home use devices which can be purchased for a few hundred dollars online.

How Does it Work?

Laser hair removal works by shooting a beam of light at the roots of the hair. The dark pigment of the hair absorbs the heat, much like dark colored clothing on a hot summer day. The heat travels down the shaft of the hair follicle, damaging the root. After an average of three to six different treatments, with an average wait time of three to eight weeks in between sessions, this damage can cause a permanent cessation of growth. The more pigment in the hair follicle, the more effective this will be. This means that dark, coarse hair on light colored skin is the most quickly eliminated, but a high quality laser hair removal facility will have a variety of different lasers which can effectively remove hair from many different textures and skin tones. For example, darker skinned patients a long pulsed laser with a cooling tip can be safely used to reduce and eliminate body hair.

Is the Hair Completely Eliminated Permanently?

No, not entirely. The coarseness and the color of your body hair will vary all over your body. Different hair follicles will also be in different stages of growth, which will also affect the laser's ability to damage the root. Laser hair removal will target dark, pigmented hair much more efficiently than it will fine, dewey hair. Dark brown or black hair which is in an active growth stage will be targeted the most effectively. This is why it takes multiple appointments to cause noticeable, permanent hair reduction. It takes between six and nine sessions to reduce hair by approximately 90 percent. Different stages in life also promote different patterns of hair growth. You may find that as you age, you will grow hair in areas outside of the treatment areas that you never had before. In this case, it is easy to return and repeat treatments. 

There is currently no laser technology which can permanently remove 100 percent of unwanted body hair, a full laser hair treatment can turn your daily shaving routine into a monthly job. Not only are number of hairs reduced significantly, coarseness is reduced, as is the time it takes to regrow. Laser Hair Removal has gained a popular following because of their speed and efficiency.

What Can Be Treated?

Most common treatment areas include the legs, both upper and lower, underarms, chin, upper lip, and bikini line. It is possible to treat nearly any area on the body except the skin immediately surrounding the eyes and eyelid. Depending on the size of the area, some may take significantly longer, and require more or fewer treatment sessions.

Treatment will be most successful on brown and black hair. Current technology is less effective on white, grey, red or blond hair because of the differing levels and types of pigment contained in the hair.

How Does it Compare With Other Hair Removal Methods?

On average, women spend 72 days of their life shaving their legs, which translates into 1,728 hours, and can cost an average of $23,000 in shaving supplies.  While the upfront costs of laser hair removal is greater, the long term savings in both time and money is substantial. Waxing unwanted body hair may save time compared to shaving, but it is another costly activity that must be maintained over the course of a lifetime. Electrolysis is another permanent option, which if used properly can be used to remove 100% of body hair. However, laser hair removal is approximately 60 times faster, far less painful and more reliable.

Does it Hurt?

It depends on what method you chose. While home devices utilize the same technology as clinics, they deliver a much greater sting for a fraction of the effectiveness. Some describe the sensation of laser hair removal as similar to a snapping rubber band. Others report little to no pain at all. Whatever pain you do feel will be lessened after each consecutive session as your body hair levels are reduced, and will be significantly less than the pain experienced from plucking or waxing. Most clinics will also provide a numbing cream approximately thirty minutes before treatment, which will help to reduce any pain experienced even further.

Preparation for Treatment

Because laser hair removal works by targeting the roots of the hair, avoid waxing or plucking for at least six weeks beforehand. Also limit your sun exposure, as sun damage can reduce the effectiveness of the treatment, and increase risks of complication

What To Do After Treatment

Because the skin will be mildly irritated, you may experience increased redness and itching. Allow your skin to heal quickly by avoiding scratching. Within the days after treatment, hair from the treated area will start to fall out. Permit this process to proceed naturally, do not manipulate or tweeze them to speed the process, a this can lead to an otherwise avoidable infection. 

Risks

Risks associated with laser hair removal are almost zero. Your skin will most likely have a higher level of sensitivity in the days following treatment, similar to a sun burn. You may also experience some itching. This is your skin's reaction to the temporary irritation of the lasers, and will fade very quickly. You may also experience temporary changes in skin pigmentation, which is most common in those with darker skin complexion. Very rarely, burns may occur to the skin rather than the hair follicle. Most of these burns are very mild, and are caused by inexperienced laser administration. You can drastically reduce the chance of burns by receiving your treatment from a highly qualified facility.

If you are looking for Laser Hair removal contact us and learn more about our laser services!

Sources:

  1. http://www.docshop.com/education/dermatology/laser-hair-removal/risks
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/11/average-time-spent-shaving-legs_n_3063127.html
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_hair_removal