How Does Laser Hair Removal Really Work?

Last year, more than 1.1 million laser hair removal treatments were performed in the United States alone, and part of the reason it’s so popular is because it can benefit nearly everyone. We all have areas of unwanted hair, and most of us spend considerable amounts of time, energy, and money to remove it over and over throughout our lives. That’s why laser hair removal is so attractive – it requires only one series of treatments, with the occasional yearly maintenance visit in some cases, and then you’re free to enjoy smoother, easier-to-care-for skin. So how does the procedure actually work?

how does laser hair removal really workHair Removal Prep

There are several measures you’ll want to take before your treatment in order to get the best possible results. Sun exposure and laser skin treatments don’t mix, so you should be cautious to protect your skin for several weeks before (and after) your appointments, and to be sure any tanning you may have has faded before your treatment. Because the hair in the area you’ll be treating needs to be intact but short, you should avoid plucking, waxing, and electrolysis beforehand, but shaving is just fine.

The Hair Removal Procedure

To help you stay comfortable, you’ll probably start your procedure with some topical anesthetic. During the treatment, our experienced and certified providers will use a low-energy laser and send pulses of light throughout the treatment area. The precise type of light we use is attracted to the pigment in your hair, so the pigment pulls the light into the individual hairs and allows it to travel down the hair and into the follicle. This is when the light strategically damages the hair follicle, disabling it from producing hair in the future.

The Hair Removal Process

Most laser hair removal patients require around six treatments for the most thorough and long-lasting results possible, and here’s why: hair is constantly rotating between three stages: growth, resting, and shedding. Each hair you have is at a different point in its cycle, and laser hair removal is only effective on hairs which are in the growth stage at the time of the treatment. By completing several treatments, we can both address stubborn follicles multiple times and ensure that we’ve caught as many hairs as possible during their growth stages.

The success of your procedures (and the number of procedures you’ll need) depends on many factors, like your age, skin type, hair color, hair growth pattern, gender, and more. Because the laser is attracted to the pigment in your hair, the treatment isn’t typically an option for those with very light hair (like white, gray, red, or very light blond), but it works particularly well for those with dark hair. It’s also important to keep in mind that while great results are expected from your series of treatments, you may need occasional follow-up sessions around once per year, depending on your unique body chemistry and hair growth. And one more word to the wise: be careful. Lasers in inexperienced hands can lead to complications like burns or pigment changes in your skin, so find a technician you trust and look for a facility who’s associated with the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS), like Laser Lights. When you find the right provider, be sure to follow all their pre- and post-treatment instructions for your own safety and satisfaction.

Regardless of what type of cosmetic treatment (or even plastic surgery) you’re considering, understanding the basics can help you enjoy better results, minimize side effects, and make sure you’re getting what you truly want. To start discussing how we can help with your specific aesthetic concerns, schedule a consultation at Laser Lights Cosmetic Laser Center. Or, for more great tips, cosmetic information, special offers, and upcoming events, join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.