Everything You Need to Know About Laser Hair Removal

Learn everything you need to know about laser hair removal: how it works, its benefits & risks & other long-term options.

Everything You Need to Know About Laser Hair Removal

If you're not satisfied with shaving, waxing, or waxing to remove unwanted hair, laser hair removal may be an option worth considering. Lasers are useful for removing unwanted hair from the face, leg, chin, back, arm, armpits, bikini line, and other areas. Lasers can selectively target dark and rough hairs while leaving the surrounding skin intact. But how does laser hair removal work? During a treatment session, bright flashes of light are emitted onto unwanted hair.

Light energy is converted to heat, which damages the tube-like sacs inside the skin (hair follicles) that produce hairs. This damage inhibits or delays future hair growth. Light penetrates through the skin and is selectively directed to melanin in the hair follicles. Pigment absorbs light energy, effectively destroying hair.

Depending on the size of the handpiece being used, several hairs can be treated simultaneously. Most patients have permanent hair loss after an average of three to seven sessions. Laser hair removal is more than just “removing” unwanted hair. It is a medical procedure that requires training to perform it and carries potential risks. Before having laser hair removal, you should thoroughly check the credentials of the doctor or technician performing the procedure. If you plan to undergo laser hair removal, you should limit hair removal, waxing and electrolysis for six weeks prior to treatment.

This is because the laser targets the roots of the hair, which are temporarily removed with wax or by waxing. You should also avoid sun exposure for six weeks before and after treatment. Sun exposure makes laser hair removal less effective and increases the likelihood of complications after treatment. Depending on the laser or light source being used, you and the technician should use appropriate eye protection. It will also be necessary to protect the outer layers of the skin with a cold gel or a special cooling device.

This will help the laser light penetrate the skin. When the procedure is complete, you may be given ice packs, anti-inflammatory creams or lotions, or cold water to relieve any discomfort. You can schedule your next treatment four to six weeks later. You will receive treatments until your hair stops growing. For a day or two afterwards, the treated area of skin will look and feel like it has been sunburned.

Cold packs and moisturizers can help. If your face was treated, you can wear makeup the next day, unless your skin blisters. During the following month, treated hair will fall out. Use sunscreen for the next month to help prevent temporary changes in the color of treated skin. Blisters are rare, but are more likely in people with darker complexions.

Other possible side effects include swelling, redness, and scarring. Permanent scarring or changes in skin color are rare. Scrubs, glycolic acid, and retinol creams should be avoided 2 days before and after treatment. I also started using facial mists and added additional moisturizers to my regimen as my skin dried. It is recommended that for a period of 2 weeks before and after the laser, you avoid chemical peels and similarly wait 1 to 2 weeks before using the fake tan. Laser hair removal works by heating hair follicles to prevent new hairs from growing. This puts the hair follicles in a dormant state for a long period of time, much longer than with shaving and waxing.

When the hairs grow back, they will be lighter, thinner and less numerous. Fortunately, the lasers I used on me had a cooling mechanism (basically a blast of cold air that was constantly running right where the laser was pointing) that really helped me. Other long-term hair removal options that you can talk to a dermatologist about include electrolysis and needle epilators. Most women seek treatment to remove hair from their armpits, bikini lines and legs, while men are more interested in treating hair on their back and neck. Laser hair removal has become one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed in the United States. When hair removal lasers were initially introduced, the procedure was originally intended for patients with fair skin and dark hairs. From waxing to threading and shaving to tweezers but laser hair removal is one of the few options that offers a more permanent approach to removing body hair (if you want it too). If you don't want to pay the costs of medical procedures that aren't really permanent anyway there are numerous at-home hair removal options. Next you'll discover clear facts and uncover all your myths about lasers from the laser that triggers hair growth (rarely) to having to avoid sun exposure (always).Although the procedure is often touted as a form of “permanent hair removal” laser treatment only reduces the amount of unwanted hair in a given area.

Even if some hairs are not removed lightening their color can reduce the appearance of hair on the skin.

Sandra Prybylski
Sandra Prybylski

Typical internet trailblazer. Evil internet ninja. Avid beer buff. Hardcore beer evangelist. Typical pizza fanatic.

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