Laser hair removal is on everybody's lips these days. For good reason. It is one of the two long-term hair reduction methods out there. And it is the cheapest of the two. Laser hair removal gets everybody talking. It is a procedure that is more and more common. Laser hair removal business flourish, people are increasingly willing to make the investment, trust in the procedure improves as well. Yet, laser hair removal is still the victim of many misconceptions that keeps spreading like fire. That is why we are here today to clarify some laser hair removal facts.
10 Laser Hair Removal Facts You Need To Know About
As a matter of facts, if you are considering laser hair removal, it pays to study up. Even though not considered a medical procedure but a cosmetic procedure, it still has more implications that regular hair removal methods. Let's place a little reminder here while we are at it. Even though waxing and shaving both sound easier, they are not as convenient and efficient in the long-term than laser hair removal. We already know all too well that waxing can have negative side effects.
1. Laser hair removal is not painful
This is probably the biggest misconception about laser hair removal circulating around. Maybe because other hair removal methods such as electrolysis and waxing are painful. Thus, by association laser hair removal would be too? You can relax, we guarantee that it is not! Laser hair removal is actually very tolerable and some will describe the treatment as pain-free. It is possible that some patients experience discomfort. As a matter of fact, the sensation felt during laser hair removal is that of pinching.
At Infinity Laser Spa, we only use diode laser hair removal machine with ice technology. The model we use is a V-Frost Diode 808 Laser Hair Removal machine by Vertex Lasers. Ice technology allows to cool down the skin so that the laser does not heat it up too much and the client is comfortable at all times. The sensation felt during a laser hair removal session is usually described as a combination of pinching and heat.
2. It works on all skin tones
Another big misconceptions that our laser hair removal facts will debunk for you. Laser hair removal uses a beam of light that will target pigments in the hair in order to get to the follicle. Strong damage on the latter will stop any further hair growth. The laser can target the pigment in the hair mostly because of the contract between skin and hair. As a matter of fact, ideal candidates for laser hair removal have fair skin and dark hair. Thus, a patient with a dark skin and dark hair would not present that contrast. As a consequence, for a long time, people of color were not advise to undergo laser hair removal.
Indeed, due to this lack of contrast, the laser could target the melanin in the skin, which meant dark skin were more prone to burning and scaring. However, modern technology changed all that. New machines using Nd:YAG laser have a wavelength that are both safe and efficient on dark skin. Indeed, such wavelengths are not absorbed by the melanin in the skin as they go straight into the dermis. Thus, laser hair removal works on all skin complexions and tones.
3. The treatment may not work on light hair
Laser hair removal works on all skin complexions. New technologies have allowed people with light skin, dark skin and everyone in between to enjoy all the many advantages laser hair removal procures. However, if this applies to skin tone, it does not when it comes to hair color. Indeed, the laser produces a beam of light that target the pigment in the hair. To work, their must be melanin. If there is no melanin, no pigment, then the hair will not absorb the heat and will not transfer it to the follicle.
Blond and grey hair are weak in pigments. White hair lack them altogether. As a consequence, laser hair removal may not work at all on very light hair. The laser would simply not be able to get to the hair follicle. Even though fair haired patients may not be able to treat areas where the hair is very light, they can still undergo laser hair removal on other areas where the hair tends to be darker. Such is the case for the underarms and the bikini or mankini for example.
4. You need to get off some medications
Although laser hair removal is not a painful process, there still may be some pain associated depending on each patient's personal level of pain tolerance, some medication may also get in the mix. Some medications will increase photo-sensitivity while some other topical. Photosensitive drugs contain chemical compounds with photo-reactive agents that cause them to react to UV light. On the other hand, oral medications can have a negative effect on your results.
Antibiotics are a good example of photosensitive drugs. You need to wait ten to fifteen days after the last day of your treatment before going for a session. Photosensitive medication includes antibiotics, retinoids, antidepressants, allergy medication, cholesterol medication, and others (check the list here). If a patient is on a Roaccutane treatment (or anything with isotretinoin), they have to wait at least six months before doing their treatment as the combination of both may lead to prolonged healing and scarring.
5. You have to be patient
Laser hair removal is a commitment. You will have to come for a session every six weeks or so. This is mostly due to the hair growth cycle, which is unique to each individual as well as each hair on a person's body. Laser hair removal can only target hair in the anagen phase of growth, since it is when the hair connects to the follicle. Unfortunately, only 20% of all your hair are in that stage at any point in time. As a consequence, the laser will only be able to target up to 20% of your hair during each session.
Furthermore, the hair will not magically fall off or disappear after your first session. It will takes two to three weeks after your first treatment to see a difference as the follicle that was damaged slowly ejects the hair out. Avoid shaving until ten days after each session to let the hair get out smoothly. You will see more results as you progress in your treatment. You will also have to be quite regular in your appointment.
6. You have to stop tanning
The best time to start laser hair removal is the beginning of fall for a very simple reason: your chances to expose your body to the sun are drastically reduced. Fall also marks the end of summer holidays, when everybody gets back to work and ditch their swimsuit for a business casual attire. Thus, the tan you got a few months before will fade on its own. And that's what you need. Tan changes your skin tone, which could mess up with the laser settings and efficiency. It also increased the photosensitivity of your skin.
Beyond tan which takes two weeks to come off, too much exposure to the sun may give you sunburns, which should not get in the mix with laser hair removal. That is why you should avoid direct sunlight at least two weeks before your session but also two weeks after. Whether you are in the sun or not make sure to apply a very strong UV sunblock with SPF 30 at least. Similarly, stay away from tanning beds, self-tanners and any other tanning creams or methods.
7. You must shave prior to your appointment
We have written a complete article as per why it is essential that each patient shaves before each of their laser hair removal session. Yet, let's drop a little reminder here. It is after all one of the mist important laser hair removal facts. It is not the hair that the laser targets, but the hair pigment. Said pigment is present in the whole length of the hair up from the tip down to the root which connects to the follicle. The laser aims to damage the follicle enough with heat to prevent any further growth.
If the hair is not clean-shaven, the pulse of light will heat the whole hair. The beam is likely to burn the hair as well as the skin around it. Furthermore, a long hair would absorb too much heat and less of it will be transferred down to the follicle. As a result, long hair reduces the effectiveness of the procedure. Remember that even though laser hair removal is more affordable than before, it is still your wallet that will have to put up with some extra sessions.
8. You cannot pluck or wax
Laser hair removal may be combined with shaving in between sessions. However, it cannot be done alongside other hair removal methods, especially if those remove the hair from the shaft entirely. Both waxing and plucking will remove the whole hair, from tip to root. Thus, there will be nothing connected to the follicle to transfer the heat. Furthermore, there will be nothing to target altogether.
Plucking and waxing as well as bleaching impede the process of laser hair removal. Bleaching removes the pigment for the hair. As you now know, laser hair removal is not effective on hair without melanin. If you wish to remove your hair in between sessions, go the shaving route. The hair is cute flat at the surface of the skin and the root is still attached to the follicle, with enough hair under the skin to be targeted by the laser.
9. Laser hair removal as more benefits
Waxing and shaving have a lot of well-known negative side effects that will make you say stop. However, razor cuts and ingrown hair probably are the biggest two of those side effects known to women. Waxing will remove the hair in the opposite side to growth. The hair grows back weaker and can potentially curl, staying trapped under the skin. There is also just one tiny step between ingrown hair and infection.
Laser hair removal can really help prevent ingrown hair. Since it damages the follicle to prevent hair growth, it also reduces ingrown hair. They can't be in there is no hair. Waxing and shaving can also really irritate the skin, so beyond smooth skin, laser hair removal reduces irritation to the skin. It looks like all the problems you faced with other hair removal methods are solved with laser hair removal.
10. You can't go to the gym afterwards
Last but not least of our 10 laser hair removal facts is one that may please a lot of patients. The gym is great, but not going to the gym is also great. Do not celebrate to quick however, as this recommendation applies for the twenty-four hours after your session only. The reason is because the heat from the laser stays in your skin for twenty-four hours. Thus, you need to avoid any activities that may bring extra heat to your skin, such as working out, hot showers, etc. If you do not, you run the risk of creating a lovely warm environment for bacteria to multiply and give you spots.
That's 10 laser hair removal facts you needed to know about before booking your first appointment. Laser hair removal democratizes and is more affordable. Yet, it still requires some research prior to taking a decision. If you are hesitant and still need answers to your questions, you can also book a free consultation with a laser technician. They will be able to answer all your questions and recommend a course of action for your treatment.