Long-pulsed Alexandrite, Diode and Nd:YAG lasers, as well as intense pulsed light sources, are state-of-the art devices that effectively remove unwanted facial and body hair. The two decades have brought tremendous advances in laser hair removal technology. After laser hair removal, you will have less hair, finer hair and lighter colored hair in the treated site.
How Do These Lasers/Light Sources Work?
These lasers and light sources produce bright beams of light that are preferentially absorbed by melanin (the pigment in hair), and causes thermal (heat) damage to the hair shaft and follicle without damaging surrounding tissue. The hair follicle is damaged or occasionally destroyed and the dark terminal (adult) hair is either permanently removed or replaced with a vellus (fine, light colored) hair.
What Are The Advantages of Laser Hair Removal?
Traditional hair removal techniques, such as waxing, shaving, and plucking provide only temporary relief. Electrolysis, which may damage hair permanently, involves inserting a needle into each follicle and applying electric current, making it a painful, slow, and tedious process for hair removal. Only small areas can be treated during a single visit with electrolysis, and many treatments over a period of months to years are required to achieve a satisfactory result. In addition, pitted scarring is not uncommon. The lasers and light sources used by our staff are safe, effective, and convenient and allow larger areas to be treated during a single visit, with improvement noticeable after only one treatment. Repeat treatments are required to achieve the best possible result.
What Does It Feel Like?
You will experience mild to moderate discomfort best described as warm quick snaps. The devices that we most commonly use have a cooling spray which makes the treatment much more comfortable. Most patients tolerate the procedure without any anesthesia. However, if larger or sensitive areas are to be treated, a topical anesthetic cream is applied one hour before the treatment.
How Will I Look and Care for the Treated Area?
Immediately after the procedure, the treated area may appear slightly swollen and pink in color and will feel like a mild sunburn. This reaction subsides within minutes to hours. Cool compresses and a topical corticosteroid cream (which we provide) will hasten the disappearance of these symptoms.
Is Laser Hair Removal Safe for All Skin Colors?
Laser hair removal used to be restricted to individuals with dark hair and fair skin. Now darker skinned individuals and even those with a tan can be treated safely and effectively with the use of certain devices. It may take more number of treatments in skin of color patients, however results are outstanding. Laser hair removal does not work effectively on red, gray, or blonde hair.
Is Hair Removal Permanent?
The results of laser hair removal are excellent. Several factors determine the effectiveness of these lasers for hair removal including hair color, hair thickness, body site, and skin color. Almost all hair types in all skin colors attain delayed hair re-growth for periods as long as six months after a single treatment. Permanent reduction in hair growth is achieved in nearly 80% of individuals treated, and the best results are achieved after multiple treatments. It may take 8-10 treatments to attain lasting effects.
How Many Treatments Will I Need to Attain Satisfactory Hair Removal?
Because hair goes through different phases and these devices most effectively damage hair that is in the active growth phase, multiple treatments are usually necessary. Although patients will notice a significant difference after a single treatment, most patients will require eight to ten treatments to a specific area (depending on the area treated). The hair on the arms, legs, underarms, and the bikini area tends to be easier to remove, while facial hair, especially of the lip and chin, can be a bit more resistant to treatment. Treatments are performed approximately every 4-8 weeks.
What Are The Possible Side Effects?
There are rarely any permanent side effects with laser hair removal when done properly by our superbly trained nursing staff. Skin lightening (hypopigmentation) is rare, but darkening (hyperpigmentation) may occur, especially in patients with darker skin tones. These changes in color usually tend to gradually fade away, but may be permanent. Lasers specifically designed to remove hair in dark-skinned individuals greatly diminish this risk. There is a small chance of scarring (less than one percent), appearing as either thickened or depressed areas. To minimize the chances of these possible risks, it is important to follow all pre- and post-operative instructions carefully.
We have several lasers and light sources available that afford us the flexibility to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs. The ultimate benefit is that our patients achieve longer lasting results in a safe and effective clinical setting.