Having lush, thick hair on the top of your head is usually considered desirable, but when it comes to other parts of the body – such as the face, legs, arms and bikini area – most people would rather have smooth skin. That’s why so many Americans spend time shaving, tweezing, plucking, and more – but when you think about it, these methods can be extremely time consuming and costly. The hair just keeps growing back again and again, week after week, until getting rid of it becomes more of a chore than anything.
That’s where laser hair removal comes in. The technique may be a great alternative for those who are tired of yanking out hairs one by one or enduring the pain of waxing. Not only is it a quick, safe procedure, but laser hair removal is FDA-Approved to permanently remove unwanted hair. If you’ve heard the term laser hair removal and are thinking about exploring your options, then here’s a quick guide to what you can expect from our award-winning cosmetic physicians here at Reflections Center for Cosmetic Medicine.
How does laser hair removal work? When you come in for your appointment, your cosmetic physician will utilize our cutting-edge technology to target the areas you want to hair removal. The device emits light energy that is converted to heat and targets the melanin (i.e. pigment) in the hair follicle. By strategically targeting the pigment that gives hair its color, the laser only damages the hair follicle and shaft, leaving the surrounding skin intact and unharmed. Done enough times, it can prevent hair growth entirely.
Each procedure takes 30 minutes or less, and depending on factors like your hair color and density, the number of treatments can range from six to ten, spaced 4-8 week apart. Because your hair grows in a specific cycle, coming in for a series of appointments is crucial to ensuring success and permanent hair removal. With any given treatment, approximately 85% of the hairs are receptive to the laser treatment. Therefore, it is necessary to have multiple sessions so the laser can capture every hair in the correct stage of the growth cycle.
There are three different stages involved in the growth of hair. The first is known as the anagen phase (called the active growth stage), in which hair is actively growing and is nourished by the hair follicle. This process begins to slow down in the catagen phase and stops altogether during the third and last part of the cycle, called the telogen phase.
Typically, laser treatments require hair to be in the anagen phase. Because adjacent hairs can be in different points in the growth cycle at the same time, undergoing the procedure over the course of a few weeks is a good way to catch as many of them as possible. This ensures we treat every hair when it’s in the anagen phase, leading to more complete hair removal and preventing future hair growth.
Sun exposure and laser treatments are a bad combination. When considering your options with laser hair removal, it’s essential to keep in mind your sun habits since you’ll need to avoid sun exposure before and after each session. This also includes topical self-tanning. Both of these things can impact the amount of melanin in the treatment area and also damage the skin after it’s been exposed to laser energy. You’ll need to commit to avoiding sunlight and wearing SPF 30+ daily on your treatment area, especially if it’s an area normally exposed on a day-to-day basis.
Because of the way laser hair removal works, not every laser platform will work for every patient. The biggest factors in determining if you’re a candidate for laser hair removal is your hair and skin color. Because traditional laser hair removal technologies target melanin, it’s preferred to have light skin (i.e. lower amounts of melanin) and dark hair (i.e. higher amounts of melanin). However, there are more lasers available than ever to accommodate a variety of skin tones and skin types, especially here at Reflections. If you have lighter hair or darker skin, our cosmetic physicians can offer a variety of laser technologies and help you find the one that will fit your needs. That’s why we always recommend choosing a reputable laser hair removal provider rather than a low-cost clinic or practice that offers only a single laser technology. Here at Reflections Center for Cosmetic Medicine, we have six laser hair removal devices and have extensive experience with treating all skin types.
Experience and quality matter when it comes to laser hair removal, too. Despite what may be advertised, laser hair removal comes with potential risks. You should select a provider who understands the laser technology and how to maintain a safe treatment area with an advanced cooling device or cold gel to prevent damage. If you’re prone to discomfort, you should choose a provider who can prioritize using a numbing cream for your treatment. In short, it’s always best to find a practice that specializes in laser technologies and can take into account your unique needs for laser hair removal treatment.
Laser hair removal is one of the best ways to save yourself time, money, and effort and reduce unwanted hair. To meet with our team of cosmetic physicians and learn more, contact our Bridgewater and Livingston offices by calling or filling out our online form.