How laser hair removal works
How laser hair removal works?
Hair. We want lots of it, thick and lustrous on our heads, but we certainly could do with its absence everywhere else on our body, couldn't we?
Regular hair removal is such a tedious upkeep! While waxing every month or so is never a good time, shaving seems just as annoying when the new prickly hair starts to grow within a few days of having shaved.
So if you're looking for a more permanent solution to your unwanted hair woes, laser hair removal offers you exactly that! Let's tell you all about it.
Laser Hair Removal provides smooth and hairless skin with lasting effects. It achieves this by using a cosmetic laser that fires a concentrated beam of light directed at the pigment in your hair follicles, killing the follicle at its root and preventing it from growing back.
How it works
The color pigment in our skin and hair follicles is called melanin. Not only does it give color, but it also absorbs radiation, not allowing it to penetrate deeper into the skin. May it be the dangerous UV radiation from the sun or the radiation emitted from a tiny cosmetic laser.
The principle it works on is referred to as ‘selective photothermolysis’. The settings of the laser are adjusted to both your skin and hair color so that the wavelength of the light emitted from the laser beam matches that of the pigment in your hair. That is why the treatment works best on those with light skin (low melanin) and dark hair (higher melanin); the melanin in the hair drawing the radiation away from the skin.
Here is the explanation about is laser hair removal permanent forever:
Do's and Don'ts
- Shave the area you wish to get laser, preferably a day before.
- Don't wax or use other hair removal methods like plucking or electrolysis anytime before a laser hair removal treatment session.
- Stay away from the sun, tanning beds, spray tans, tanning lotion, and chlorine water from at least a month before the treatment. You can't receive the treatment if you're sunburned or even tanned, in order to avoid side effects like skin lightening.
- Don't use scrubs, glycolic acid, and retinol creams from 2 days before treatment, and chemical peels from 2 weeks before.
- Start using face mists and additional moisturizers if you find your skin getting drier.
- Discuss your medical history, the risks and benefits of treatment, and your expectations from it with your physician beforehand.
- Use sunscreen (SPF 30) religiously post-treatment.
- Do not wax or pluck your hair even after the treatment, because pulling out hair follicles after laser hair removal hinders the process. Shaving is allowed.
- Avoid perfumes and deodorants for 24-48 hours after treatment.
- The heat from the laser stays in your skin for a day, so no gym or saunas in order to avoid creating a warm environment for the bacteria to breed in and give you spots.
- Opt for lukewarm showers instead of hot showers in the first week after treatment.
- Don't use scrubs, glycolic acid, and retinol creams even after treatment for 2 days, and chemical peels for 2 weeks.
What does each treatment entail
- Test patch:
Pigment problems, discoloration, and scarring can occur in some skin types with cosmetic laser treatments; that's why it's important to conduct a small test patch first to make sure that your skin is accepting of the treatment.
This depends on the area you want to be lasered. Depending on that, your treatment session can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Underarms and bikini lines require a shorter duration compared to areas like legs or back.
- Eye protection:
Your physician will always provide you with eye protection to avoid the effects of radiation around the eyes.
- Treatment area:
You can get any part of your body lasered, except for around the eyes. Only remember that a full body laser removal cannot be attempted all at once, because there's only a certain amount of cosmetic laser light that your body should absorb in each session.
- Skin and hair type:
Laser hair removal is most effective on individuals with dark hair and light skin. Darker skin tones and lighter shades of hair are more challenging to treat, but not impossible. This can be achieved by using multiple lasers - Alexandrite laser is most effective for light to the medium toned skin, while Nd: YAG lasers work best for darkened skin.
While the treatment isn't exactly relaxing, the pain feels like someone is snapping you with a rubber band every time the laser fires. Most lasers also have a cooling mechanism to help with the pain.
Laser hair removal is an absolutely safe and effective treatment when performed under the supervision of a board-certified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon.
Well, laser hair removal is certainly not inexpensive, and the price depends on the area to be treated. Opt for a laser hair removal practice that offers individual treatments and not pre-treatment packages, so that you're spending from session to session, depending on how your hair is adapting to the treatment.
When will I see results?
You will discover smooth, hairless skin after the first treatment itself, but you need multiple such treatments for the effects to become permanent.
So while the hair may grow back as before after the first session, you will begin to notice a dramatic drop in the growth of your unwanted hair follicles after the three-month mark and notice even more different after that.
You will see fewer and fewer hair return after progressive treatments, so finishing the entire series of treatment sessions is crucial to attaining the highest degree of permanent hair reduction.
Why are multiple treatment sessions required?
Hair grows in different stages: anagen (active stage), catagen (transitional), and telogen (resting stage). The laser hair removal treatment only treats the hair growing in the active stage.
At any given time, the hair on your body is growing in different stages, so there will be some overlap in the hair that will be treated by the laser. That's why the part of your body that you wish to make hair-free needs to be lasered several times over the course of several months to be able to target every unwanted hair in its active stage.
How many sessions are required?
The number of sessions required to depend on several factors, which include:
- Skin type
- Hair type
- Amount of hair in the treatment area
- Hair texture
- A natural thickness of your hair
- And hormone levels, since they can influence hair growth over time.
On an average, 6-8 sessions are required, four to six weeks apart. This time frame allows the dead hair shafts to fall out on their own.
The interval between each session is usually increased progressively as fewer hairs make an appearance each time. The treatment is most effective when personalized to each individual.
Patience and Consistency
You have to be consistent if you wish to see results so that each hair follicle has the chance to be zapped in its active stage. Do not be tardy in scheduling and keeping up with your appointments, as advised by your physician.
In most cases, 50% hair reduction is noticed at the three treatment mark and about 70-80% of hair regrowth reduction after 4-6 treatment sessions.
Also, because the treatment encourages hair to grow straight, it helps to reduce ingrowth of hair and irritation to the skin as well, in addition to hair reduction and smoothening of skin.
While laser hair removal does not guarantee 100% removal, most people report a 90% reduction in hair growth after the full course of treatment. Besides, the few hairs which do manage to survive, are feeble and unnoticeable. So the patience pays off!
HairMD Clinic provides customized laser hair removal treatment for each individual, conducted under the guidance and supervision of a board-certified dermatologist, and using the latest types of equipment.
So now you don't have to worry about the constant upkeep for hair removal; instead, enjoy silky smooth skin all year round!