Whether you’re looking for a new way to manage your hair or a less painful removal process, you may be considering laser hair removal. This method of removing unwanted hair is growing in popularity, and for good reason. It’s safe, fast, effective and long-lasting, with results that can last up to a year or more. Laser hair removal isn’t cheap, it involves multiple treatments spread out over several months and there are potential side effects like redness, swelling and blistering that may not appeal to everyone. On the other hand, it’s virtually painless and can be very beneficial for those who don’t want to deal with shaving or waxing every few days.
How does it work?
Laser hair removal works by targeting the root cause of unwanted hair growth. Specifically, laser targets follicles (tiny oil-producing bumps on your skin that can produce hair) in order to be more effective at removing unwanted hair. Laser can use either light or heat to destroy the follicles, while some lasers also work to prevent new follicles from forming in the first place.
Laser treatment works best on darker hair colors because it can penetrate deeper into the skin and is less likely to leave a noticeable line along the hairline.
Laser treatments take anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on the specific device used and the number of treatments required.
During a laser treatment, technicians typically apply a topical anesthetic cream or gel to numb the area before delivering a series of pulses of laser energy. The lasers typically target light-sensitive areas like the face, neck, and upper chest while leaving other areas untouched.
The length and density of your unwanted hair can also affect how effective a laser treatment is. For example, if you have sparse facial hair, you may not need as many treatments. Conversely, if you have thick, coarse facial hair that is resistant to light-based treatments like IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) or Fraxel, you may need more frequent sessions with intense laser therapy.
Are you a good candidate for laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal works best on people with dark skin and dark hair. It’s less effective on people with light skin and light hair, who may require more treatments before seeing results. It’s also not recommended for people with dark skin or light hair, or very light skin. You should also avoid laser hair removal if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or have a weakened immune system, as it can increase your risk for infection. If you are not sure if laser hair removal is right for you, you can always consult a professional for advice. Alternatively, you can use an online hair removal guide to determine if you are a good candidate. These often ask questions about your hair color, skin tone and hair density.
Before You Begin: Know What to Expect
Before you start laser hair removal, you’ll want to get in touch with your dermatologist and create a good plan. This may include blood work, an allergy test, a mole check and instructions on how to properly care for your skin before and after your treatment. Before your first laser hair removal session, you’ll want to exfoliate your skin with a gentle scrub, avoid waxing or using hot tubs and make sure to use a skin cream with SPF. You’ll also want to avoid tanning beds or getting any tattoos or piercings in the weeks leading up to your treatment.
Tips to Help You Stay Comfortable During Treatment
If you’re still interested in laser hair removal, it can be helpful to know that most of the discomfort associated with treatment comes from the initial removal of the hairs. After that, there isn’t really any pain. Some suggest using an ice pack before treatment to help soothe your skin and provide some relief. You may also want to take an ibuprofen an hour or two before your appointment to help reduce any swelling and discomfort that may occur while the hairs are being removed. It’s also a good idea to stretch the skin around the area that will be treated to make sure the laser has a smooth surface to work with.
Important Tips Before Your appointment
Most importantly, make sure you are coming to your appointment ready to commit. Laser hair removal isn’t a quick process; it can take anywhere from six to 12 months to complete. And even then, you may need a few follow-up sessions to ensure you have the results you’re looking for. You’ll also want to set aside time for multiple appointments. On average, you should plan for four to eight sessions for each area you want to treat. It’s also important to keep in mind that laser hair removal doesn’t work for everyone. It’s possible that you’ll need to try a few different machines before finding one that works for you.