Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light to remove unwanted hair. During laser hair removal, a laser emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. The light energy is converted to heat, which causes damage to the hair follicles, ultimately inhibiting future hair growth. While typically thought of as a permanent method of hair removal, this technique only delays hair growth for long periods.
Laser Hair Removal
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
Before laser hair removal, most individuals have tried a myriad of other treatments to remove unwanted hair from their face and body. Many people have gotten waxed, had threading, or tried electrolysis, but for reasons ranging from cost, to time commitment, the masses are turning to laser hair removal for long term treatment to reduce hair growth. Due to the selective absorption of photons of laser light, typically individuals with a combination of darker, coarser hair and light complexions have the most success with laser hair removal treatments. However, there are select lasers that have shown limited results for individuals with dark hair and dark complexions. During treatment, patients are required to wear special protective goggles to shield the eyes from the laser beam. The area may be shaved if there is extensive hair growth. Before the session begins a topical anesthetic may be applied to the skin to reduce any discomfort during treatment. When the procedure begins the practitioner will press a hand-held laser instrument to the skin. Depending on the type of laser, a cooling device on the tip of the instrument or a cooling gel might be utilized to not only protect the skin but reduce the risk of burns and irritations. Duration of a session will depend on the size of the area being treated, from as little as 10 minutes up to one hour. Number of treatments will depend on the area being treated, the characteristics of the hair, and the tolerance of the individual to the discomfort of treatment and adherence to aftercare instructions.
The goal of laser hair removal is to reduce hair growth on the face and body.
What to Expect
Laser hair removal is a procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light to remove unwanted hair. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after laser hair removal.
- Avoid sun exposure
- Avoid tanning lotions
- Tanned skin may require a bleaching cream
- Avoid other hair removal methods for 4 weeks
- Avoiding blood-thinning medications
- Trimming and shaving is recommended the day before treatment
- Protective goggles worn to shield the eyes
- Topical anesthetic applied
- A hand-held laser instrument is pressed to the skin
- Duration of a session will depend on the size of the area
- Number of treatments will depend on the area, hair characteristics and pain tolerance
Redness and swelling for the first few hours after laser hair removal is normal. To reduce any discomfort, apply ice to the treated area. If a skin reaction is present immediately after laser hair removal, the doctor might apply a steroid cream to the affected area.
The ideal candidate for laser hair removal has unwanted hair on their face and body, and has a light complexion with darker hair color.
Not Recommended For
Laser hair removal is not recommended for light-colored hair or fine hair of any color. While not recommended for candidates with darker skin tones, the long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser with a cooling tip can be safe when used by an experienced practitioner.
Side effects from laser hair removal may include swelling, redness, and scarring. Permanent scarring or changes in skin color are rare as well as blisters but are more likely in people with darker complexions.