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Laser Hair Removal FAQs

Laser Hair Removal FAQs

Laser Hair Removal/Reduction

Permanent hair reduction is achieved through the use of a laser that selectively targets hair follicles. Laser hair reduction offers patients a safe, fast and effective alternative for dealing with unwanted hair. The laser used in hair removal targets the melanin (color) in the hair follicle, damaging the follicle and removing the hair. Laser hair reduction is safe enough to be used on all body parts, including the face, back, underarms, bikini line, legs and arms. Waxing, shaving and the use of depilatory creams are well-established methods for hair removal, although temporary. Electrolysis is the traditional tried and tested method for permanent hair reduction, but is often very time-consuming and inefficient. Today, the most popular and most effective method for hair reduction is the use of lasers which have been specifically designed to damage and destroy many hairs in a short time and with little chance of complications. People are interested in laser hair reduction because it involves new and efficient technology and because its effects are permanent in over 80% of its subjects.

How does the Laser work?

The laser emits a specialized light that is passed through the skin and preferentially absorbed by its target - unwanted hair. By heating with infrared energy, the bulb of the hair is destroyed. Unlike other processes, the laser beam treats many hairs at once making treatment of large areas practical. You will experience a safe, fast, effective and gentle procedure.

Can all hair colors be treated?

Unfortunately, because the process of laser hair removal is one that targets pigment, lighter and/or finer hairs cannot always be treated effectively. During your consultation, your hair color will be assessed to evaluate whether or not laser hair reduction is right for you.

Can all skin colors be treated?

All skin types I through VI can be treated. Skin Type I is very fair, always burns and never tans (usually blonde hair and blue eyes). Skin Type VI never burns (black skin, black hair).

Do I need a skin test before Laser Hair Removal/Reduction?

No skin testing is required prior to treatment.

How long do the results last?

On average, each laser procedure will be associated with some permanent hair loss. So, in most cases hair removal can only be achieved after several procedures. The number of procedures will depend on each patient's individual response to laser procedures, skin color, hair color and the amount of hair to be removed. You may need to be treated anywhere from 3 to 10 times at 5 to 8 week intervals. There are three phases of hair growth – anagen, catagen and telogen. Only hairs in the active growth phase, anagen, can be successfully treated. The goal may not be total hair removal. Many patients are happy with a reasonable degree of hair reduction. Also, remember that the hair that remains is often lighter in color and thinner than the hair prior to laser procedure. As with other procedures for unwanted hair, there is no guarantee that laser hair removal procedures will be permanent.

What happens during the procedure?

The procedure time will depend upon the area to be treated. A system for cooling your skin will be used to ensure a comfortable procedure. Let us know if you have very sensitive skin. For some patients the professional may choose to treat a small area before performing a full procedure. This gives the patient an idea of how the procedure will feel and the length of time it will take to obtain the desired result, as well as ensuring a safe procedure.

Are there any common side effects?

Some redness and slight swelling may be present in the area that has been treated; however, this should subside within a few hours. If any prolonged redness or swelling occurs, consult your professional. There is a low risk of pigmentary changes. Occasionally, patients can develop a blistering reaction. If this happens, call us immediately. If you have any concerns, please discuss them with your professional prior to your procedure.

Can Pseudofolliculitis be treated?

Pseudofolliculitis is a type of chronic acne disorder caused by ingrown coarse or curly hairs. This disorder usually affects darker skin types. Laser hair reduction is very effective and is the preferred method of treatment.

What to do before your procedure

These recommendations can make the difference between a good result and a fantastic one. If you choose not to adhere to these guidelines, we may not be able to treat you or you may incur additional costs.

All patients interested in Laser Hair Reduction must have a consultation with our laser technician prior to being treated. Based on the Fitzpatrick skin type (amount of pigment), hair color and texture, an appropriate procedure schedule will be determined.

Patients taking Accutane should stop for at least one year prior to procedure.

Patients using hydroquinone or Retin-AÆ on the area to be treated should discontinue use for 3 to 5 days prior to procedure.

Patients who are having a procedure done to the upper lip with a history of Herpes simplex outbreaks should be treated with an antiviral prescription for five days before your procedure.

Patients must discontinue waxing, tweezing and the use of chemical depilatories six weeks prior to your procedure. Shaving is the only acceptable method of depilation while undergoing treatment for unwanted hair.

All patients should avoid sun exposure, tanning beds and tanning creams for two to three weeks prior to your procedure and throughout the course of their procedure program. Sunless tanning lotions must also be avoided for two to three weeks prior to your procedure. However, if sun exposure is not avoidable, procedure sessions need to be increased since procedures on sun-exposed skin will require lower settings to protect the epidermis. Recent sun exposure may result in cancellation of the procedure.

Patients should shave the area to be treated the day of the procedure whenever possible. If it is not possible, the laser technician can shave the area for an additional charge.
On the day of your procedure, plan on wearing clothing that will allow easy access to the area being treated.

What to do after your procedure

Follow all post-procedure instructions.

Generally, some redness will remain for approximately five to seven days. For some patients recovery time will be less while other patients will have prolonged redness.

Keep the treated area clean and cool.

Use at least SPF 30 sunscreen on the treated area when outdoors.

Do not shave the treated area for one week following the procedure.

Can tanned skin be treated?

Tanned skin can be treated safely, however, because the target for the laser is pigment (color), the energy used must be reduced which will result in a longer reduction process (more procedures). In addition, your professional must always be informed if you have been tanning or exposed to the sun within the last three weeks and she or he will adjust your procedure regimen accordingly to give you the safest, most effective experience.

Does the procedure hurt?

Most patients describe laser hair removal as feeling "prickly," or like the light snap of a rubber band against the skin. Afterwards, it might feel like a sunburn. Each patient has his or her own level of skin sensitivity and pain threshold. Different areas on the body are also more sensitive than others.

Laser Hair Removal Consultation

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