How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser hair removal is a long-term hair reduction method that uses selective photothermolysis. The laser gun will match a specific wavelength to a determined pulse duration meant to target an object at the surface of the skin. Such technique will not damage surrounding skin tissues.
Despite the increased use of lasers, to date, few guidelines exist in terms of how to approach laser hair removal. Specifically, one must understand the mechanism of hair growth and how lasers work to target the hair follicle.
Your laser technician will map out and mark the area you want to be treated and provide you with goggles while also wearing their own.The laser gun will produce a beam of light that will target the pigments in the hair. Once the energy is in the hair, it will travel all the way through to the follicle, under the dermis.There, the energy will turn into thermal energy. The heat is what will damage the hair follicle, thus preventing any further growth.
What the thermal energy actually does is cauterizing the blood vessels that feed the hair follicles on the targeted area. Once the follicle no longer gets its fuel, it dies. Only a permanently damaged hair follicle will allow for permanent hair removal. Indeed, if the follicle manages to regenerate, it will produce new hair.
Can You Be On Antibiotics While Getting Laser Hair Removal Treatments?
With our increasing reliance on antibiotics, cold and flu tablets and mood regulators, being on medication isn’t all that uncommon. If Laser Hair Removal was incompatible with a wide range of drugs, then the benefits of the treatment would be inaccessible to many.
Luckily, Laser Hair Removal is only affected by a small pool of medications; those drugs which are considered ‘photosensitive.’
If you’re on a type of medication which you know is not photosensitive, you will be able to continue your Laser treatment sessions without risk of drug-induced side effects. However, if you are uncertain whether the medication you are taking is considered photosensitive, it is recommended you speak to your GP before commencing treatments
No matter how irrelevant the condition may be, make sure to always disclose any medical conditions you may have. There might be a contraindication that would put you at risk when getting laser hair removal sessions done. Safety first!
The medication you are taking may or may not have an impact on our ability to treat you and the effectiveness of laser hair removal. Medication that affects hormones can cause the need for more laser hair removal sessions since hair is affected by a change in hormone levels. Also, there are some dangerous medications that can leave your skin sensitive to the laser and cause burns. Always disclose all medications you are taking.
You’re going to come in for multiple sessions spaced out at least 4 weeks apart. If you have a change in medication or start taking a new medication make sure to let us know!
Some medications, including many antibiotics, can increase your sensitivity to the heat and light of the laser.
In the vast majority of cases, Laser Hair Removal will not be affected by medication. Most common medications such as cold and flu medications, antibiotics and mood regulators, do not evoke negative side effects from Laser Hair Removal. Please advise the staff if you are taking any antibiotics. Treatments can usually be performed 2 weeks AFTER completion of an antibiotic.
Medications That May Interact with Laser Treatments
Whether it's antibiotics, mood stabilizers, acne medication or something else entirely, it's not uncommon to be taking some kind of medication. Which is probably why questions about getting laser hair removal while on medication are pretty common.
Below is a brief list of some of the known types of medications that may alter the way your body reacts to light which includes IPL & Laser. It is of utmost importance that you consult with your prescribing physician if you are at all concerned about the medication you are taking.
Common medications that may cause photosensitivity include but are not limited to:
- Anticancer drugs
- Antipsychotic drugs
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Risks of Laser Hair Removal While on Medication
Laser Hair Removal is an extremely safe hair removal method and, usually, side effects are mild and uncommon. For patients not on medication, these may include light discomfort accompanied by some redness and swelling.
For patients on photosensitive medications such as Roaccutane and Retin-A, however, side effects are both more serious and more specific. The risks of Laser Hair Removal while on these types of medication may include:
- Phototoxic reactions: hyperpigmentation resembling extreme sunburn;
- Photoallergic reactions: both more serious and less common than a phototoxic reactions, patients will experience more permanent side effects as molecular changes cause the immune system to attack the drug as it would a dangerous foreign body.
These more serious side effects are uniquely brought on by photosensitive medications; they are not a risk to recipients of Laser Hair Removal who are not on medications containing photoreactive agents.
How long after antibiotics can you have laser hair removal?
Please advise the staff if you are taking any antibiotics. Treatments can usually be performed 2 weeks AFTER completion of an antibiotic. Hair grows in cycles, so we will schedule you at every 6 weeks for the first few sessions then start spacing it out from 8-12 weeks, the reason we do this is because you will notice your hair will begin to grow slower and slower as the hair follicles become weaker, and if there is nothing growing, there is nothing to laser.