Laser hair removal is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures. There are various offices performing laser hair removal including spas, salons and physician offices. Every laser is not appropriate for all skin types. For example,some lasers cannot be used on tan skin and darker skin types. In some states laser use must be under the medical direction of a physician. This is to ensure that the appropriate laser is chosen for the proper skin type of the patient. Using the wrong laser can result in complications such as skin burns.
Plastic surgeons and dermatologists are the most common type of physicians that perform laser treatments that not only includes laser hair removal but other types of lasers to promote improvement in skin texture and appearance. In these offices, either a laser technician or often a nurse performs the laser treatment. These individuals have been trained in the proper technique and trained in laser safety.
Permanent Laser Hair Removal
A laser is a narrow beam of light of a specific wavelength. There are various types of lasers that are categorized by where the light falls in the wavelength spectrum. Laser hair removal has evolved over the years and there are various types of lasers that can be used on a variety of skin types. Hair goes through three growth phases, anagen, telogen, and catagen. The anagen phase is the growth phase of the hair follicle. The hair has to be in a growth phase to absorb the laser light. The depth of the hair follicle and anagen phase differs with hair over various areas of the body. Laser hair removal requires multiple treatments in order to treat all the hair in the anagen phase.
A Laser’s Effects On The Skin
Over the years lasers have evolved and can be used to treat all skin types. In the past, lasers were not recommended for tan skin or pigmented skin. Presently there are lasers that can treat all skin types. The skin also absorbs the laser light, for that reason in the past using lasers on darker skin types was avoided in order to circumvent skin burns. Laser hair removal works by treating the hair at the level of the hair follicle. The hair follicle absorbs the laser light. A gray hair follicle does not have pigment and therefore does not absorb the laser light. Presently most lasers do not treat gray hair for that specific reason. Most lasers for hair removal have difficulty treating blond hair due to the lack of significant pigment in the hair follicle. IPL, which is known as intense pulsed light can also be used for laser hair removal. IPL should not be used to treat darker skin types because of the increased possibility of skin burns.
Most Treatments Are Space 4-6 Weeks Apart
Because of the popularity of laser hair removal, the price has decreased significantly over the years. Most laser hair removal treatments are sold in packages because multiple treatments are needed. Often 6 laser treatments are included in the package. Treatments are often spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart depending on the type of laser device that is used. With many lasers, a cold spray is felt and then a quick zap. The treatments are very quick and tolerable. Some lasers have a chilling head that cools the skin before the zap is felt from the laser, The cooling makes the treatment very tolerable. A topical anesthetic is usually not needed prior to laser hair removal treatment.
Questions You Should Ask Before Undergoing Laser Hair Removal
Before your laser treatment is important to find out what type of laser is being used and if there are any possibilities that this laser could cause skin burns. It is also important to ask how many laser treatments will be needed to achieve your goal of laser hair removal. Most lasers will cause permanent hair reduction which means that there may be slight growth within five or so years. You should also ask who is performing the laser hair treatment? Most often, the laser hair treatments are performed by a laser technician or a nurse under the direction of a physician. In some states, estheticians may also perform laser hair removal. This depends upon the laws of the state and can vary between states.
Risks and complications should also be discussed before the laser treatment.
- Is there a possibility of burns?
- Is there a possibility of skin discoloration such as hyper or hypopigmentation?
- Ask about the cost of subsequent treatments if the laser hair removal treatment is unsuccessful.
- Discuss any skincare products that you are using with the laser technician or nurse.
- You may be asked to stop certain products prior to the treatment that may cause skin irritation and possibly an increased sensitivity to the laser treatment.
- If you are using depilatories, ask when they should be stopped prior to the laser hair removal treatment.
- If you pluck or wax your hair for removal, ask how soon before the treatment should this be avoided. Common areas for laser hair removal are the face, underarms, bikini area and legs.
Laser hair removal is an efficient and more permanent way to get rid of unwanted hair and can produce long lasting and satisfying results.