Shaving is one of the few aesthetic rituals that nearly all of us do on a regular basis—young and old, man and woman, low-maintenance and beauty enthusiast. But as common as it may be, it’s not particularly enjoyable, nor are the side effects that come with it, like nicks and razor burn. That’s why medical researchers have graced us with laser hair removal as a way of achieving long-term hair reduction. But how much do you really know? The laser hair removal facts can help you learn more about one of our most popular treatments at Laser Lights Cosmetic Laser Center.
People most commonly think of hair removal as being used for the areas we shave most often, like the face, legs and underarms, but it can also relieve you of hair between and around your eyebrows, on your upper lip, back, throughout the full beard, bikini area, and nearly anywhere else down to your toes.
Laser hair removal is becoming more and more popular.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there were more than 1.1 million laser hair removal procedures in the US last year. That’s over 37% more than in the previous year, and ten times as many as were performed in 1998 (when ASAPS began tracking the data).
The laser actually uses the hair as a means of transportation.
The type of laser we use for this particular laser treatment is attracted to the pigment in your individual hairs, so it concentrates all the energy into the hair. As a result, it travels down the hair to reach the follicle. This damages the individual follicles and hinders their ability to grow hair in the future.
It takes several treatments to see results from laser hair removal.
Each of your hairs grows in a three-part cycle with a growth phase, a dormant phase, and a shedding phase, and the hairs’ cycles don’t all match up. Laser hair removal only works on hairs that are in the growth phase, so several treatments are needed in order to catch the growth phase in as many hairs as possible. For most patients, a series of around six treatments will get the best results, but it varies from one person to the next.
Laser hair removal shouldn’t be performed by just anyone.
It may be cosmetic, but laser hair removal is a medical procedure, so you should only trust someone who is specifically licensed to perform the treatment and who has plenty of experience doing so. A qualified medical professional can also have access to more effective and precise equipment and will know how to tailor it for your skin type and hair color. All of this is important in both seeing results and reducing the risk of complications.
You should shave the day before or the day of your appointment, but avoid waxing and plucking for several weeks beforehand.
Being clean-shaven at your appointment leaves enough hair for the laser to latch onto, but not so much that it causes burns by reaching hair on the skin’s surface. On the other hand, waxing and plucking (or any other method that pulls the hair rather than cutting it) can leave you without enough hair to attract the laser.
Don’t trust a promise of full, permanent hair removal.
The reality is that everyone’s body responds differently to any cosmetic treatment or medical procedure. Your results are expected to be successful, but keep in mind that you may have a few remaining stubborn hairs and that you will likely need a maintenance treatment approximately every year to refresh your results.
Laser hair removal can be a real time-saver.
Patients tend to think laser hair removal is time-consuming, but that’s not really true. It all depends on the area you’re treating. Larger areas, like the full legs or the back, can take an hour or so per session, but smaller areas like the underarms can be treated in just a few minutes. Compare that to all the time you spend shaving thoroughly on a regular basis, and those extra minutes really add up!
Laser hair removal isn’t for everyone.
Certain skin tones and hair colors are more suited for this procedure than others. For instance, light hairs (blond, red, and gray or white) generally don’t have enough pigments to attract the laser effectively. Our licensed and experienced laser technicians will be able to evaluate your skin and hair to determine what kind of results you can expect.
Laser hair removal isn’t as painful as you might think.
People hear the word “laser” and immediately think the procedure will be painful. Everyone registers discomfort differently, but most patients compare it to a light rubber band snap, while some say it’s even milder. If you’re concerned about being comfortable, we do offer a numbing cream that you can apply before your treatment as well.
Blogs like this can be a great crash course in the skin treatments available today thanks to modern cosmetic medicine. But the only way to know which options are truly suitable for your skin type and aesthetic concerns is to schedule a consultation at Laser Lights Cosmetic Laser Center. For more fun facts and skin care tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.