How does it work?
Laser hair removal uses a concept called selective photothermolysis. The matching of a wavelength and a pulse duration allows the laser to target a specific object at the surface of the skin without damaging surrounding tissues. In the context of laser hair removal, the target is the pigment in the hair.
During a laser hair removal session, the laser emits light energy. This light will target the pigment in the hair. Once the melanin has absorbed the energy, the latter travels down to the hair follicle. There, it turns into thermal energy and anchors itself to the follicle. The heat damages the follicle, preventing further hair growth.
Is it permanent?
Laser hair removal is a long-term hair growth reduction method. It can reduce hair growth by up to 90%. The results of a laser hair removal treatment will depend on each person as well as the area of the body treated. While laser hair removal is not considered a permanent hair removal method as per the FDA standards, a lot of patients do experience permanent hair removal.
Skin tone, hair type, hair color, genetics, hormone levels, etc will impact the results of a laser hair removal treatment. Hormonal areas such as the bikini or the face will require more sessions than non-hormonal areas like the legs. Some patients may need touch-up sessions after their initial laser treatment.
Hair growth may happen again in case of intense hormonal change, like the one produced by a pregnancy for example.
How long is a laser session?
The duration of a laser session will depend on the size of the area treated. Treating a small area like the underarms will only take ten minutes. On the other hand, an extra large area like the full legs will require a thirty minute session. A full body laser hair removal session will take up to two hours.
Does the procedure hurt?
Pain is a subject concept. Each individual has a different tolerance to pain. However, laser hair removal is not painful in the stricter sense of the term. Compared to waxing, laser hair removal does not hurt.
The sensation is somehow unpleasant and can be uncomfortable. However, it is very tolerable. Laser hair removal feels like rubber band snapping against the skin. It is also akin to pinching. Most patients compare it to pinching or mosquito bites.
Up to 24 to 48 hours after
A laser hair removal treatment leaves the skin sensitive and a bit irritated. Patients may experience redness. Thus, it is better to avoid any activity that may incur more skin irritation. Hot showers, saunas and exercising should be avoided for at least 24 hours after your first laser hair removal session. Patients should avoid deodorant, body lotion and fragrances. Applying aloe vera gel will help soothe the skin.
A week after
The week after a laser hair removal appointment, patients will notice some hair shedding. This is completely normal and shouldn’t be mistaken for regrowth. Patients must not wax, pluck or tweeze.
3 to 4 weeks after
The treated area will be smooth for about four to six weeks following the first laser hair removal session. After this timeframe, patients should notice little fine hairs growing again. Tweezing or waxing these hairs must be avoided. Indeed, they will be targeted during the next treatment, which should be done around this time.
Within 3 months
At this point patients should have already undergone two treatments. The legs, bikini area, chest, facial area, underarms and arms will see at least 50 per cent of the hair gone. The results will vary depending on the patient’s skin type but it’s safe to assume that they will see a great reduction in hair at this time.
Within 6 months
Patients should have completed their visits to the laser hair removal clinic after a year, or eight months depending on the area being treated. Now, their hair will be permanently gone.
Hormonal areas such as the face and bikini require more treatment time. This is because hair growth is triggered by hormones. Female patients can undergo bikini or Brazilian laser hair removal while on their period as long as they wear a tampon.
Pre and post-treatment care remains the same before and after every single session. Patients should also shave prior to their session and wash their skin off of lotions, creams and moisturizers. They should wear sunscreen at all times if exposed to the sun, both before and after their session.