Laser Hair Removal
What Laser Hair Removal is
By definition, laser hair removal is a procedure that uses laser light to remove unwanted hair. The laser light passes through your skin to remove the hair. The laser effects the dark pigment in hair, this dark pigment is also known as melanin. The laser hits the hair follicle in which the hair growth originates and the extreme heat of the laser destroys the hair follicle as soon as it touches it.
Majority of the time the first laser hair removal procedure only slows the growth of the hair, but after a few treatments the hair will be gone for an extended period of time.
Why Laser Hair Removal Is Done
People want to get laser hair removal to remove unwanted hair. Laser hair removal can remove hair from any part of the body. The most frequent locations on the body that laser hair removal is done include the legs, armpits, upper lip, chin and bikini line.
Although laser hair removal does not guarantee permanent hair removal, it does extend the hair-free period longer than shaving would. The hair-free period can last anywhere from several months to years. With multiple treatments, long-term hair removal is possible.
The tone of your skin and the color of your hair are the most
important factors for laser hair removal to be successful. People who
have dark hair and light skin will be able to remove their hair using
laser hair removal, this also applies to people with darker toned skin.
Laser hair removal will not work for people who have blond, light brown,
or blond hair.
To reduce your risks of having side effects chose a doctor who is certified in dermatology. You and you doctor should meet before the laser hair removal procedure is done to decide what your treatment plan will be. Do not go to a spa, salon or clinic that allows non-medical personnel to perform the procedure.
Laser hair removal complications are rare if you go to a qualified physician to get the procedure done. It is very rare to bleed during your laser treatment or get an infection resulting from the procedure.
Here are a few of the side effects of laser hair removal:
- Incomplete hair removal or regrowth- Some hair may be resistant to the laser treatment or may regrow after treatment.
- Hyper-pigmentation (the darkening of the skin)- this sometimes happens to those who are of a lighter skin tone, and is not permanent.
- Hypo-pigmentation (the lightening of skin)- this occasionally occurs with those who have a darker skin tone. Laser hair removal works best with those who have light skin, but is also effective with those who have darker skin tones.
- Blistering and scars- this is a rare side-effect
- Crusting or scabbing- this would be a temporary side effect
- Changes in hair texture- the new hair that grows in after a laser hair removal procedure may be finer and lighter in color than the previous hair that was there, but this can be removed with additional laser hair removal procedures.
What you can expect during the laser hair removal procedure
A doctor or trained nurse presses a hand-held laser instrument to your skin. Depending on the type of laser, a cooling device on the tip or a cool gel is used to protect the skin.
Do not wax or pluck your hair for three weeks before treatments.
When the doctor activates the laser, the laser light passes through your skin's surface to tiny sacs (hair follicles) where hair growth originates. The intense heat damages the hair follicle, which inhibits hair growth. It takes several treatments to provide an extended hair-free period.
During the laser hair removal procedure you are required to wear goggles to protect your eyes from being exposed to the laser light. After the laser is turned on you will feel a stinging sensation, a lot of times a topical local anesthetic is applied to the area before the procedure begins to reduce your discomfort. You may smell your singed hair, which is normal
The length of time that the laser hair removal procedure takes depends on the size of the area that is being treated. A smaller area, such as the upper lip, may take only a few minutes, while a larger area, such as the back, may take a few hours.
After the procedure is done you will not need medications or bandages. You may see some redness and swelling in the area that the procedure was done on. During the first 24 to 48 hours a stinging sensations may or may not occur. In some cases a crusting on your skin may appear, in this case you should keep the area moist with Vaseline.
For the first 24 hours after your procedure you should avoid exercise because sweat increases irritation caused by the laser. You should avoid sun exposure for several weeks after the procedure, and after this period be sure to apply a sunscreen before you go outside. Avoid tanning booths, because the ultraviolet light will damage your skin. Do not pick at your skin in the treated area, and do not scrub the treated area, you should wash it gently with soap and water.
The Price of Laser Hair Removal
Sometimes a person's medical insurance company will cover the cost of laser hair removal, but majority of the time health insurance will not cover this procedure.The cost of laser hair removal depends on the number and size of the areas treated, and the time required for the procedure.
Laser Hair Removal Results
Studies show that for suitable candidates,people who have light skin with dark hair, laser hair removal can reduce the hair count by 20 percent to 90 percent. Results vary from person to person because some people respond better to treatment than others do.
The more laser hair removal procedures you have done will prolong the length of being hair-free, but hair regrowth is always a possibility. Expect to undergo between six to eight treatments, spaced about six to eight weeks apart to achieve great reduction of hair and a slower hair regrowth. After this period of time you will most likely undergo periodic treatments to maintain your hair-free state.