Light-based technology that utilizes pulses of light energy to gently penetrate the skin and specifically target, disable and destroy unwanted hair follicles. This non-invasive treatment is a comfortable and easy treatment for the age-old problem of unwanted body hair.
The hair cycle is composed of three growth phases. Anagen, the growing phase, is what the hair removal laser treats. Telogen, the resting phase, and catagen, the transition phase, are NOT treated by the laser. Every area of your body has different percentages of hair in these three phases. For example, bikini line hair has a higher percentage of hair in the Anagen phase compared to the upper lip. Thus, the bikini line usually requires fewer treatments compared to the upper lip. Most patients typically have four to eight treatments over time. The more treatments you have over time, the less hair you will have!
What other non-laser & light-based treatments are available?
Waxing, shaving, and the use of depilatory creams are well-established methods for hair reduction, albeit temporary. Electrolysis is the traditional tried and tested method for permanent hair reduction. However, it is often very time-consuming, painful, and not without complications. With rapid technology development, the most popular and effective method for hair reduction is the use of lasers or intense pulsed light, which are designed to damage and destroy many hairs at once, delivered in a brief period of time with reduced side effects. People are interested in laser or light hair reduction because the end results are consistent and predictable within a reasonable time frame that fits their lifestyle.
What areas can be treated?
Laser hair reduction offers patients a safe, fast, and effective alternative for dealing with unwanted hair. It is safe enough to be used on any part of the body (e.g., face, neck, underarms, bikini line, legs, and arms).
An active tan from the sun or tanning beds is not appropriate for treating with laser. Tanned skin has a lot of pigment or melanin that may also absorb the laser light energy intended for the hair follicles. It is recommended that a person does not have sun exposure in the area to be treated for a period of 3 weeks prior to treatment with laser. Self-tanners must be faded from the skin for at least a week to 10 days prior to treatment. Discuss with your clinician the possibility of tanning during your series so that a safe regimen can be created.
How long will it take to recover?
Your healing time will depend upon your actual treatment. In most cases, there is virtually no downtime, and you may resume daily activity immediately. You may experience some redness after the procedure. Your clinician will answer questions about temporary changes in your skin color and how it may be camouflaged.
How many treatments will I need?
As previously mentioned, hair grows in 3 different stages. Hair can only be affected by light energy when it is in its Anagen stage. Additionally, hair located on different body parts has different growth cycles and percentages of Anagen hair at any one given time. Due to this physiology, a series of treatments must be given over a period of time, usually 4-8 weeks apart to address the growth cycle of the hair.
Your eyes will be protected with safety shields or glasses. You may briefly feel a warm or "rubber band snap" sensation as the light is absorbed by the targeted areas. Your procedure may take a few minutes to half an hour depending on the size of the area to be treated and the type of procedure performed. The procedure is gentle, noninvasive, and safe. Generally, there is no need for a topical anesthetic, but your clinician may choose to use it on more sensitive areas. Your clinician will discuss all your options with you.
What should I expect after the treatment?
You may experience some localized redness in the area that was treated which should resolve within a few hours. Results depend on your skin condition, the number and consistency of treatments, and the area treated. Your clinician will provide you with complete information about the post-treatment care and results.
What aftercare do I need?
It is important to follow your clinician's instructions. You may be given some skin care products and instructions on how to use them. If you must go outdoors, it is recommended that you cover your treated skin and use sunblock of SPF 30.