No more painful shaving, waxing, or plucking! Laser hair removal is now the most popular method chosen by dermatologists for eliminating unwanted body and facial hair. Laser hair removal treatments are quick, with little or no discomfort. And the results…………absolutely amazing! Imagine smooth, silky skin with no shadow, no stubble, no razor burns or cuts.
HOW DOES LASER HAIR REMOVAL WORK?
A laser focuses light energy of a specific wavelength into a narrow beam just a few millimeters in diameter. The selection of laser light wavelength for laser hair removal is important for achieving optimal results and avoiding skin damage. At the proper wavelength and energy, the laser light penetrates the skin disabling the hair follicle without damaging the surrounding tissue. Hair follicles that are in an active growth phase and with sufficient pigmentation will be destroyed by the absorbed laser energy.
IS LASER HAIR REMOVAL PERMANENT?
The lasers used by Brighter Smiles Med Spa and Laser Center have been cleared by the FDA for permanent hair reduction. You will notice a reduction in hair growth following each laser treatment. After a series of treatments, you will likely see little or no hair growth. However, no hair removal laser can claim to permanently remove hair. Hormonal changes brought on by such events as pregnancy or menopause can produce new hair growth. Also, certain medications can cause new hair growth. Occasional touch up laser treatments may be necessary to remove new hair growth that may appear over time.
HOW PAINFUL IS IT?
Laser hair removal is less painful than other methods of hair removal such as electrolysis, waxing, shaving and tweezing. Our Candela lasers use a patented cryogenic spray system that cools the skin immediately before each laser pulse. The cooling mist significantly reduces the sensitivity of the skin to the laser pulse and prevents excessive heating of the skin surface. Those with dark, coarse or dense hair will feel the laser energy more than those with light and thin hair. Clients generally find the laser treatments to be easily tolerated.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE NEEDED?
Usually six to ten laser treatments will be required for the best laser hair removal results. Some people may require more than ten treatments on certain body areas. Skin color, hair color, hair texture, hair thickness, skin thickness, follicle depth, and the area being treated are some of the many factors that determine how readily the hair will be removed. Dark hair is easier to remove than light hair. Gray and white hair without pigment at the follicle cannot be removed by any laser.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
The most common side-effect of laser hair removal is the temporary darkening (hyper-pigmentation) or lightening (hypo-pigmentation) of skin color. These risks can be greatly minimized by avoiding prolonged sun exposure or the tanning booth for one week prior and one week following a laser hair removal procedure. Sunscreen (SPF30 or better) should be applied every two hours to the laser treated area whenever outdoors. We will discuss risks, side-effects, and post-treatment care during your laser hair removal consultation.
AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE?
Laser hair removal cannot be administered if you are pregnant or currently taking certain medications that increase the photo-sensitivity of your skin. Certain medical conditions will require the approval of your treating physician before starting laser hair removal treatments.
WHY CHOOSE LASER HAIR REMOVAL?
Laser hair removal can remove unwanted hair, be it from a condition that causes excess hair growth or just the desire for a new look. Most individuals will require a series of treatments over time which will result in the removal of the unwanted hair. Most of the lasers and light sources are FDA cleared for permanent hair reduction, which means reduction over time. Some individuals will see very long term hair removal which may last for many years. Others may require maintenance treatments over time to maintain their degree of hair loss. It is truly impossible to determine in advance who will require how many treatments and how long the hair will remain gone. As stated above, laser hair removal works best in those with dark hairs on lighter skin, however newer technologies and newer lasers and light sources have made the procedure safe and effective in those with darker skin and those individuals of color.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE PROCEDURE
Before the procedure, we will usually review the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. This is the time for the doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the procedure. Patients also should:
- Avoid sunbathing, tanning beds, waxing, chemical peels or collagen injections for two weeks prior to the procedure.
- Avoid perfumes, deodorants or any potential irritants in the treatment area before and after treatment.
- Avoid aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements due to increased risk of bleeding.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER THE PROCEDURE
Following treatment, patients should expect:
- Redness and swelling of the hair follicle, which is a normal occurrence.
- Pain and discomfort, which can be easily treated with over-the-counter pain medicines.
- To be given a prescription for a topical antiseptic cream to be applied after treatment.
- To avoid direct sun exposure for at least one week following all laser hair removal procedures.
As with any treatment, there are risks associated with it, though they are minimized in the hands of a qualified ASDS dermatologist. These include:
- Skin pigmentation problems