Though it’s been around for years, laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure that is still shrouded in mystery for some. For those who are intrigued by such a permanent solution to unwanted hair, we’ve created the following list of essential facts about laser hair removal.
1) How Does it Work?
The procedure works by targeting hair follicles, which lie just below the skin’s surface. Light from the laser is absorbed by the pigment of the follicle causing damage. The damage from the laser’s light is intense enough to keep the follicle from growing hair in the future.
2) What are the Risks Involved?
The procedure is generally considered safe, but there are a few possible side effects including blistering, discoloration, redness, and scarring.
3) Does it Hurt?
It’s only natural to think that a laser beam intense enough to permanently damage hair follicles may also hurt when it’s aimed at your skin. Although there is some pain involved with the process, it is thankfully quite minimal. The laser’s sensation has been likened to that of a light pinch or a rubber band snapping against the surface of your skin. While it feels unpleasant, the pain is not intolerable and can be mitigated with local anesthetic.
4) What Type of Hair Responds Best?
Since the laser targets the pigments in hair follicles, dark hair responds best to the procedure. The catch is that dark hair tends to be coarser and thicker, which is a hair type that can prove somewhat resistant to the procedure. The end result is that although thick hair responds well to the treatment, it may take longer than usual for those with this hair type to see results.
5) How Many Sessions are Required?
Many people undergoing the treatment would like it to work completely on the first session, this however is not typically the case. The length of treatment is correlated with the area on the body being treated. Most areas require six to eight treatments for full removal.
6) Which Areas Can you Treat?
The procedure can work well on any part of the body that has hair. There are, however, some areas that respond better to treatment than others. These include the areas around your underarm, chin, bikini line, and lips.
7) How do you Prep for an Appointment?
The lasers from the procedure can irritate skin that has been overexposed to the sun, so it is recommended that you stay inside as much as possible at least four weeks beforehand. For this reason, many people schedule their sessions during the winter.
You’ll also be required to shave before you go in for a session, although you shouldn’t wax since hair follicles must still be present for the procedure to be effective.
Any medication that causes your skin to be more sensitive to the sun should be halted prior to the treatment. This includes medications with retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids.
8) What do you do After an Appointment?
Self-care after the procedure is similar to before. Sunlight should be avoided and sunscreen should be used liberally. Waxing or plucking of hair should be avoided as well. You should also discontinue the use of skin irritants such as performs, deodorants, and hot showers.
There are many considerations when deciding if laser hair removal is right for you. The preceding information should give you a better grasp on how the process works and should answer some of the more common questions associated with this popular cosmetic procedure.