Langley Laser Hair Removal is one of the most popular minimally invasive cosmetic treatments. It reduces or eliminates unwanted body hair and can save time spent on shaving, waxing, and plucking.
Your doctor will press a laser instrument against your skin. You might feel a pinprick and a cooling sensation from the instrument tip. Avoid tanning or using sunless skin bleaching cream before the treatment.
A laser light beam is set at a specific wavelength targeted only by the melanin in hair follicles, avoiding the skin’s pigment. The beam then heats the follicle and destroys it. This prevents the follicle from producing more hair and results in smooth, hair-free skin. However, some types of hair and skin complexions produce better results than others.
Before laser treatment, you should trim or shave the area to be treated. Shaving removes surface hair that could cause the skin to burn during the procedure and reduces the number of hairs that will be targeted by the laser.
During the treatment, a doctor will press the laser instrument against your skin. You might feel a slight prick and a cooling sensation from a gel that goes on the tip of the laser. You may also smell smoke and feel the hair burning away. The laser treatment can take as little as a few minutes or up to an hour for large areas, such as the back.
Most people require a series of laser treatments. This is because hair growth and loss occurs in a cycle. When you are first undergoing laser treatment, your hairs are in the anagen phase, or the growing stage. After a few treatments, most of your hair will be in the catagen phase or the resting stage. The few hairs that are still in the anagen phase will grow much slower than before.
How Long Does It Take?
The duration of your laser hair removal treatment depends on the area being treated. During your complimentary consultation, we’ll discuss the areas you want to target and come up with a treatment plan that best suits your needs.
Before the procedure begins, a medical specialist will clean the treatment area and apply numbing gel to reduce any discomfort from the laser pulses. You’ll also wear protective goggles to ensure the laser doesn’t damage your eyes. Once the numbing gel takes effect, the medical specialist will focus a beam of light on the treatment area. The light penetrates the skin and heats up the pigment in the hair follicle, which destroys it and prevents it from growing new hair.
As the laser does its work, you may feel a slight stinging sensation or the area might be a little red. This will usually fade within a few hours. It’s important to avoid sun exposure on the treatment area until it’s completely healed, which can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
It might take between four and six treatments for you to achieve permanent results. This is because the laser only kills a hair when it’s in its growth phase, and the rest of your hair might still be in its resting or shedding phases. This is why touch up sessions are often required to maintain your desired result.
Does It Work on All Skin Types?
Laser hair removal was one of the top five nonsurgical cosmetic procedures performed in 2016. It’s a permanent solution for reducing unwanted body hair. It can also help alleviate skin problems caused by hair growth, such as folliculitis and discoloration. It also helps reduce the time spent on shaving, waxing and plucking stray hairs.
The technology behind laser hair removal works best for people with light skin and dark hair, since the pigment contrast makes it easier for the laser to target the hair follicle and destroy it. However, newer devices and treatment options are allowing people with darker skin types to benefit from this procedure.
It’s important to choose an experienced and properly qualified medical professional for your laser hair removal sessions. Ask about their qualifications and make sure they’re registered with a professional body to ensure they meet set standards of training, skill and insurance coverage. It’s also a good idea to avoid tanning beds and sunlamps before and after your treatments.
Before the procedure, your aesthetician will apply a numbing cream to the area you want treated. Then they’ll use a handheld device to press down on your skin and trigger the laser. Each pulse of light feels like an elastic band snapping against the surface of your skin, and the whole process can take anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour depending on the area you’re treating. After the session, your skin may be red with a rash and might feel itchy, but these effects typically last just a few days.
What Are the Side Effects?
Laser hair removal targets the follicles of your unwanted hairs and damages them enough to inhibit future growth. That is why people prefer it over painful methods like waxing, tweezing and shaving. However, the skin around the follicles can sometimes become red and irritated after a treatment session. A topical anesthetic is occasionally used to minimize the discomfort.
A patient’s skin might also feel prickly or tight, similar to that of a freshly waxed or plucked area. This reaction is temporary and should subside after a few hours. Taking a cool bath or applying an ice pack can help to speed up recovery. In rare cases, the afflicted region may develop a skin crust that should be left alone to avoid exposing new skin or causing bleeding or scabbing.
Other less common side effects can include pigment changes (skin darkening or lightening), herpes outbreaks, blistering and scarring. These are not usually a problem when the procedure is performed by an experienced and board-certified practitioner who knows your specific skin type and color.
Powerful lasers are involved in this procedure, so there is a risk of eye injury. Both the practitioner and the patient should wear protective eyewear during laser hair removal. The technique also poses infection risks in the same way as other cosmetic hair removal methods, so it’s important to follow your dermatologist’s pre- and post-treatment instructions.
How Many Sessions Do I Need?
The number of laser hair removal sessions needed varies depending on the area of the body being treated, and each person’s unique hair growth cycle. A full course of treatments is typically recommended for the best results.
Shaving the area prior to treatment does not affect your treatment, but it is important to avoid waxing, plucking and threading to allow the laser to target the root of the hair. It is also recommended to shave the day of your treatment. This is to prevent the build-up of surface hair that could increase the heat felt during treatment.
Each hair follicle has a cycle and only a small percentage of these are active at any given time, therefore, laser can only treat the active follicles during a laser session. This is why it takes multiple sessions to see good, long-lasting results.
After your initial full course of laser hair removal treatment, your practitioner will assess the treated area to ensure that you have achieved optimum results. Once this has been determined, you will be able to move onto maintenance top-ups that are required every 3-12 months, depending on your individual hair cycles.
Laser hair removal can save you a lot of time, money and effort in the long run as you will be free from shaving, waxing or using depilatory creams to remove unwanted hair. It’s an investment, but you’ll soon reap the benefits of smooth, silky skin with a permanent reduction in unwanted hair.
Will the Hair Grow Back?
Generally, hair does not grow back after laser treatment. However, there are some instances when it might appear that the hair is growing back. This is a result of the hair being in its telogen phase. The telogen phase is the resting stage of the hair growth cycle.
This is why it’s important to stick to the recommended laser treatment timeframes (four weeks for the face and six to eight weeks for the body). If much longer gaps in between sessions are allowed then the hairs will have moved into their anagen phase and may not be treated by the laser.
Laser treatments work best on people with light skin and dark hair as the contrast between the pigments makes it easier for the laser to find the hair and destroy the follicle. It might not be as effective on people with darker skin or lighter hair, but this is because the hairs are not as easy to see and will require a bit more skill to target correctly.
It’s also important not to pluck, wax or shave the hairs in between laser treatments as this will interfere with the process. It’s also a good idea to avoid sun exposure or use a quality sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. In addition, it’s not a good idea to take any medications that affect the blood supply or make your skin sensitive to light, as these could reduce the effectiveness of the laser treatment.