Laser hair removal at About Face Anti-Aging Institute is a treatment that utilizes a concentrated beam of light (called a laser) to eliminate unwanted hair.
During laser hair removal, a laser emits a light absorbed by the hair’s pigment (melanin). Light energy is then transformed into heat, which breaks the tube-shaped sacs within the skin (called hair follicles) that produce hairs. This damage inhibits or delays future hair growth.
Although laser hair removal efficiently slows hair growth for long periods, it usually does not result in permanent hair removal. Multiple laser hair removal treatments are needed for total hair removal & maintenance treatments might be required. Laser hair removal is most useful for people with light skin & dark hair, but it can be successfully used on all skin types as long as the hair color is darker than the skin.
Why it’s done?
Laser hair removal is the process of remove unwanted hair with a laser. Common treatment locations include legs, armpits, upper lip, chin & the bikini line. People prefer laser hair removal because it is a relatively simple way to remove hair and avoid shaving and other painful hair removal methods. It is possible to handle unwanted hair in almost any area, except for the eyelid or encompassing area. Skin with tattoos should not be treated either.
Hair color & skin type influence the success of laser hair removal. The basic principle is that the hair’s pigment, but not the skin’s pigment, should absorb the light. The laser should hurt only the hair follicle while bypassing injury or any kind of damage to the skin. Therefore, a type of contrast between skin color & hair — light skin & dark hair — results in the best outcomes.
The risk of skin damage is more significant when there is little contrast between hair & skin color. Still, advances in laser technology have made laser hair removal an option for people who have darker skin. Laser hair removal is less beneficial for hair colors that do not absorb light well: gray, blond, red & white. However, laser treatment choices for light-colored hair continue to improve.
Side effects of this procedure vary with each skin type, treatment plan, hair color & adherence to pre-treatment & post-treatment care. The most prevalent side effects of laser hair removal comprise of:
- Skin irritation. Redness, swelling and temporary discomfort are possible after this treatment. Any signs & symptoms typically disappear within several hours.
- Pigment changes. Laser hair removal might darken the shade or lighten the affected area. These changes might be temporary or permanent. Skin lightening principally harms those who do not avoid sun exposure before or after this procedure & have darker skin.
Infrequently, laser hair removal can produce crusting, blistering, scarring, or other skin texture variations. Other rare side effects include graying treated hair or excessive hair growth around treated areas, and significantly darker skin.
Laser hair removal is not advised for eyelids, eyebrows, or encompassing areas due to the probability of severe eye injury.
How to prepare
If you want to undergo laser hair removal, choose a practitioner who is board-certified in a specialized cosmetic or dermatology niche & has expertise with laser hair removal on your skin type, such as Mr. Jeff Garberich at About Face Anti-Aging Institute. Be careful at spas, salons, or other places that allow unqualified staff to do laser hair removal.
Before this procedure, schedule a consultation with your practitioner to decide if this is a suitable treatment option for you. He will likely do the following:
- Review your medical history, including medication use, history of skin disorders or scarring & past hair removal procedures.
- Discuss risks, benefits & expectations, including what laser hair removal can & can’t do for you.
- Take photos to be used for before-&-after assessments & long-term reviews.
At the consultation, ask about the treatment plan & related costs. Laser hair removal is usually an out-of-pocket expense.
The expert will also give specific instructions to prepare for the procedure. These might include:
- Stay out of the sun. The advice for avoiding sun exposure before & after treatment is to be adhered to. The sun’s rays will cause your skin to be pigmented and make it harder for the laser to detect the hair. Apply broad-spectrum, SPF30 sunscreen when going outdoors.
- Avoiding other hair removal methods. Waxing, plucking & electrolysis can disorder/damage the hair follicle & hence must be avoided at least 4 weeks before the treatment.
- Avoid blood-thinning medications. Ask your doctor about what medicines, such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs, to avoid before the procedure.
- Shaving treatment area. Trimming & shaving is recommended the day before laser treatment. It removes hair above the skin, but it leaves the hair shaft intact below the surface. This allows the laser to target the hair follicles instead of the longer hairs.
What you can expect
Laser hair removal typically includes 2 to 6 procedures. The time between these treatments will differ depending on the location. In areas where hair grows quickly, such as the upper lip, the treatment might be repeated in 4 to 8 weeks. In slow hair growth areas, such as the back, the treatment might be every 12 to 16 weeks.
For every treatment, you will wear specialized goggles to shield your eyes from the laser beam. The practitioner might shave the site once again if needed. He might also apply a topical anesthetic to your skin to decrease any kind of discomfort during treatment.
During the procedure
A hand-held laser tool will be held against your skin. Depending on the type of laser, a cooling device on the tip of the tool or a cold gel might be used to protect your skin & lessen the risk of side effects.
When the laser is initiated, the beam will move directly through your skin to the hair follicles. The extreme heat from the laser beam destroys the hair follicles, which hinders hair growth. You might feel some discomfort. You will likely feel cold from the cooling device or gel. Treating a petite area, like the upper lip, might take only a short while. Treating a larger size, such as the back, might take more than an hour.
After the procedure
You might see redness & swelling for the first few hours after this treatment.
To decrease any discomfort, press ice to the treated area. If you have a skin reaction immediately after laser hair removal, the practitioner might apply a steroid cream to the affected area.
After laser hair removal & between scheduled treatments, avoid sunlight & don’t use a tanning bed for six weeks or as directed. Use a broad-spectrum SPF30 sunscreen daily.
Lasered hair does not fall out immediately, but you will shed them over days to weeks. This may look like continued hair growth, but they are not. The following treatments are required because hair growth & loss typically occur in a cycle & laser treatment acts best with hair follicles in the new-growth stage.
Results vary significantly & are difficult to predict. Most people experience hair removal that lasts several months or it might last for years. But laser hair removal does not promise permanent hair removal. When hair regrows, it’s usually thinner & lighter in color. You might require maintenance after laser treatments for long-term hair reduction.