Imagine this: You haven't shaved in weeks. There's not one ingrown hair you have to dig out. You put on a bathing suit without a thought as to if you need to shave. Life is good.
This isn't just a fantasy, it can be your reality. With Laser Hair Removal, you can get rid of unwanted hair and the brutal process of waxing or shaving. Welcome to your guide on permanent hair reduction.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
LHR is a medical procedure that uses IPL (intense pulse light) to damage or destroy a hair follicle. During the procedure, the laser emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. The light energy is converted to heat, which damages the tube-shaped sacs within the skin (hair follicles) that produce hairs. This damage inhibits or delays future hair growth. (1) Laser Hair Removal effectively delays hair growth, but usually doesn't result in permanent hair removal due to changes in the body and hormones as we age.
Laser Hair Removal and Skin Types
LHR works best for those with light skin and dark hair due to the hairs ability to absorb light, but it can be used effectively for all skin types. To put simply, there is not enough pigment in lighter hair for it to absorb the light of the laser. If your hair cannot absorb enough light, then heat from the laser won't destroy the follicles.
Thanks to advanced laser technology, we can now use LHR for all skin types without darkening skin. A YAG laser allows the wavelength of the laser to penetrate deep within the skin, effectively bypassing the pigment in the skin.
What You Can Expect During a Procedure
LHR treatments may be slightly uncomfortable, but they're not painful. The discomfort from the intense heat is commonly described as a rubber band snapping against your skin, which I'd take over the pain of waxing any day. The cooling gel and built-in mechanisms of the machine alleviate pain, but there are some other things you can to do prepare for a laser hair removal procedure.
Take Ibuprofen 30 minutes to 1 hour before your session.
Shave the area to be treated the day prior.
Avoid alcohol the night prior.
Avoid antibiotics before your procedure, as they make your skin sensitive to light.
Avoid sun exposure before treatment.
The amount of time it will take to laser depends entirely on the area of treatment. Your upper-lip may take minutes but your legs can take close to an hour - it all depends on the size of the area.
How Many Sessions of LHR Do You Need?
Everyone's body is different. The number of treatments you will need depends on the area of concern, how fast your hair grows, and different biological factors. Typically, LHR requires 2-6 treatments to be effective. LHR targets growing hair follicles, and hair growth occurs in cycles. This is why you need more than one treatment, to constantly target new hair follicles. The Lotus advises 3-6 treatments spaced 6-8 weeks apart, then yearly for maintenance if needed.
Your hair will not fall out immediately, but over the course of the first few weeks after your first treatment, you may notice your hair starting to shed. You may be able to speed this process up by physically exfoliating the area with a rag or lufa. Results may vary, but most patient's LHR results last years, with many experiencing permanent hair reduction. If your hair grows back in the treated area, you'll notice how much more thin and scarce it is.
What to Expect Post-Procedure
Laser Hair Removal is cool because there is little to no downtime - you can get back to your daily activities immediately. If you experience any side effects, like irritation, redness, or swelling, you can apply ice to the area. It is VERY important that you follow the following post-treatment guidelines to avoid damaging your skin:
Avoid as much sunlight as possible.
Avoid tanning beds (always as they aren't good for your skin) for at least 6 weeks after your last treatment.
Make sure to use a broad spectrum SPF every day (every 4 hours as well). We have a blog on sunscreen if you'd like to know more about how to choose one.
Before and After Pictures
Make Unwanted Hair a Thing of the Past
Laser Hair Removal is an effective and safe treatment to get rid of unwanted hair. You may spend a good amount up-front, but it will save you money in the long run - plus it helps the environment by decreasing the amount of razors thrown away!
If you think it's time to free yourself from the burden of shaving, ingrown hairs, and waxing, give us a call or schedule a complimentary consultation with our amazing team. We offer laser hair treatments (starting mid-July) tailored to your skin, hair color, and body to make you feel and look your most beautiful.
(1) Laser hair removal - Mayo Clinic. (2022, May 4). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved June 28, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/laser-hair-removal/about/pac-20394555
Proffer, P. (2019, November 26). Laser Hair Removal 101: Everything You Need to Know. Proffer. Retrieved June 28, 2022, from https://www.drproffer.com/blog/laser-hair-removal-101-everything-you-need-to-know