Laser hair removal remains a fairly new technology. Research on the topic does exist but not that much. That is one reason why we do not know of the effects of laser on a fetus and strongly do not advise to undergo laser hair removal while pregnant. Just in general, laser hair removal may seem risky to some. However, in an effort to be transparent and inform our customers about the procedure, we did some digging. Indeed, we interviewed laser specialists at Infinity Laser Spa in order to find out whether laser hair removal is safe and what are its potential side effects.
1. How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal is a procedure that uses a beam of light to remove unwanted hair. During the procedure, the laser device will produce a light that the hair pigment will absorb. This pigment is melanin. The technique makes sure that the light will target specifically the hair follicle. The hair follicles are tube-shaped sacks that produce the hair. This damage to the hair follicle will reduce or prevent future growth. Laser hair removal can help reduce hair growth by up to 90%. Because it targets the hair follicle under the skin, the laser does not damage the skin.
2. How to do laser hair removal right?
Customer satisfaction is what matters most to us. We want to make sure you get the best experience and satisfying results. We will take all necessary precautions to maximize the results of each laser hair removal session. One of our experienced laser technician will walk you through the whole procedure, the before and after care and answer all the questions you may have.
At Infinity Laser Spa, we use diode laser technology thus insuring that we can treat all skin tones and complexions. The technician will set the laser intensity according to the patiente's skin tone and sensitivity. Each client being different, laser hair removal will have a different feel and results for everybody. All the settings on laser machines are set according to a patient's skin tone and skin sensitivity. Of course, there are some factors to take into account.
Know that your hair growth cycle may affect the results of your laser hair removal. If your hair is not in the anagen phase, the procedure will not have the expected results. Laser hair removal is not efficient when the hair is on the last two phases of the growth stage: catagen and tolegen. However, 20% off your hair will be in the anagen phase at any point in time guaranteeing that the laser treats at least 18% of hair during each session. The hair growth cycle is essentially the reason why you need several sessions and sometimes even touch ups.
The second factor to take into account is pain. The first seconds of the treatment are painless. However, as the laser heats up, you will start to feel the heat. Although the sensation is not what we can call painful, it is not pleasant either. You should still be able to go through it without much difficulty. If it is too hot or painful, notify the technician at once to change the settings of the machine. A sensation in the treatment is the feeling of being pinched. This happens as the laser targets the hair follicle. Again, the sensation should be bearable. If not, tell your technician. Communication is key to the process and the best way to have safe laser hair removal.
3. Does laser hair removal have downtime?
Laser hair removal is a safe procedure that is fairly gentle to the skin. As explained at the beginning of this post, the laser does not target the skin but the hair follicle underneath the skin. Thus, the laser will not damage the skin. That is why there is no downtime. If you have a very sensitive skin, you may experience some mild redness, which should go away within thirty minutes. Do not forget to apply sunscreen or some strong SPF after your treatment, especially if you will be in the sun.
4. What are the risks of laser hair removal?
Provided that the treatment is done right and that the patient follows the advice the technician gave them, laser hair removal is a safe procedure. However, in some rare cases, some people may notice discoloration or changes in skin pigment. This can happen when the aftercare routine is not strictly followed, i.e. the patient exposes themselves to direct sun. This is a side effect that darker skin are more prone to. Remember to limit exposure to the sun as much as possible after a session and to apply a strong SPF.
The risks of burns and blistering also does exist. Once again, this is more common with darker skins and complexions, which have more melanin. Indeed, since it is melanin that absorbs the beam of light, it is possible that the laser focuses on melanin around the hair follicle. However, when the settings of the laser are right and there is good communication between the patient and the technician, chances of burning are thin. Unshaven hair might also increase burn likeliness.
And finally, another side effect of laser hair removal, although very uncommon: excessive hair growth. There is no medical explanation as to why this can happen.
5. How to make laser hair removal even safer?
Laser hair removal is safe. Especially if you follow all the instructions the technician gave you. However, in order to minimize the likelihood of negative side effects, there are a few precautions patient can take.
-Reduce exposure to direct sun and make sure you apply a strong SPF before you leave your home.
-Avoid hair and skin bleaching on the treated areas. Do not wax nor pluck when you see regrowth as this will hinder the process during your next session.
-Avoid tanning of all kinds: tanning lotions, spray tan, tanning beds, as the laser targets pigments.
-Do not undergo laser hair removal while being on antibiotics, retinocal or any other photosensitive medications. Tell your technician beforehand whether you've been on any medication to decide whether you should wait a bit longer before your next session.
In conclusion, laser hair removal is a safe procedure if performed by professionals and when patients perform the appropriate aftercare.