Laser Hair Removal—Everything You Want to Know
What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is a procedure that uses a laser to remove unwanted hair.
A laser is simply an intense pulsating beam of light.
How does it work?
Laser hair removal works by targeting the hair follicles with the laser. A laser beam is directed on the treatment area, such as leg hair, upper lip hair, back hair, etc. The laser beam inhibits hair in the first stage of hair growth from growing in the future.
Laser hair removal targets the source of hair growth
The procedure is repeated over time through multiple visits because the laser needs to be applied to the hair follicle when it is on the first stage of hair growth (known as anagen). This is the only stage of hair growth that takes the treatment effectively. Every 4 - 6 weeks, people have about 10% of hair in first-stage of hair growth. For this reason, we space treatments about 4 - 6 weeks apart.
Each person's biology and hair growth is unique. Some people need more treatments and others require less treatments.
Why is laser hair removal done?
The main aim of laser hair removal is to get rid of unwanted hair.
Some of the most common treatment locations include:
- the upper lip
- bikini line
- even hair on your big toes
It's possible to get rid of hair just about anywhere with this procedure. (Some people ask about eyebrow shaping but lasers are dangerous to eyes so we
do not treat areas close to the eye.)
Laser hair removal is chosen by men and women who want more long-term hair removal results. Laser hair removal is also chosen by people who dislike shaving with razors because skin irritation, cutting and infection risks etc. Many people simply don't want to shave or want to shave less frequently.
Contrast the Different Types of Hair Removal
All hair removal has side effects. For example, shaving can lead to skin infections, ingrown hairs which sometimes require surgery to remove, skin irritation and more.
Laser hair removal however a very easy procedure often without significant side-effects. In some people, it is possible to feel temporary discomfort, redness or slight swelling after treatment. These are however very mild and short-term side effects. Some people could experience slight pigment changes on the treatment area. For instance, your treatment area may become slightly darker or lighter.
Your technician can discuss pigment changes with you during consultation but one cause of pigment changes are if someone suntans a few days before or after treatment. This is why we recommend wearing sunscreen and not tanning around your treatment time.
Other possible side effects, which are also rare, are blistering, scarring and crusting. There could be other reasons and that is why we always consult with you before treatment. For example, someone could be on a medication that could make them photo-sensitive. We need to know that and we ask about these types of things during consult.
Who is it for?
Laser hair removal used to only be for individuals with dark coarse hair and fair skin.Today, the laser hair removal treatment is available to you regardless of your skin colour, thanks to technological advancements.
It is important to note that laser hair removal does not treat blonde, red, or grey hair because there is no hair pigment.
We recommend waiting until after puberty is complete for laser hair removal, so closer to 19 or 20, depending on the individual. If you teenager has hair growth that is causing distress, please book a consultation to discuss treatments.
Procedure overview: How it’s done
Laser hair removal is a very simple procedure that involves passing a laser hair removal wand from the Cutera CoolGlide XEO System over the treatment area. There is some preparation that is recommended before your treatment session.
Preparation before treatment
Treatment begins with a scheduled consultation with certified technician, May Naimain. The consultation allows you to ask questions about the treatment, set expectations, and we are able to ask questions about you to make sure your treatment matches you.
It is a time to educate, discuss treatment plans and to get pictures to be used for assessment of the final results as well as conducting long-term reviews.
During consultation, you will be informed on the dos and don’ts. For example, in most cases we will recommend shaving about 2 - 3 days before treatment instead of the day of treatment. Shaving 2 - 3 days before treatment helps ensure that your skin is not irritated when you visit for your treatment. In some cases, we might recommend that you simply trim a chin hair, instead of shaving it. Seeing that little end of the hair chin helps us direct the laser beam over that particular hair.
Avoid plucking your hair because when you pluck hair, you are removing it from the hair follicle.
Avoid bleaching leading up to your treatment because bleaching irritates your skin.
Avoid tanning at least a few days before and after your treatment. Wear your sunblock and/or protective clothing before and after treatment.
During treatment, we require that you wear appropriate eye protection (which we provide) to protect your eyes from laser beams.
Ultra-sonic gel is applied to the treatment area to ease the gliding of the Cutera hand-piece. The laser hand-piece is then placed over the treatment area and light pulses are emitted. The treatment is fairly quick for small areas like the chin or upper lip (it can take a few minutes). Larger areas like the legs, or a man's beard, require approximately an hour.
During consultation, your technician will give you after-care guidelines to follow. Sun protection and gentle skin care are recommended. See our Resources section to read the Pre and Post Treatment Recommendations for Laser Hair Removal.
You will also be required to avoid irritating skincare products i.e. those with alcohol, glycolic acid etc. as well as excessive skin rubbing and/or scrubbing.
What to expect
Laser hair removal results vary from one person to another depending on factors such as: types of skin/hair as well as the area being treated.
The treatment is effective for most people in the long-term especially when it is done by a specialist with the best laser hair removal machines available today. You may however be required to get multiple treatments i.e. 4-6 treatments spaced approximately 4-6 weeks apart for you to be able to get rid of hair 80 - 85 % of your hair for good. Every person is unique so there can be variations in treatment success. This can go either way. Some people require less treatments than regular and others might need more.
In a nutshell, laser hair removal is the fastest, safest and most effective hair removal treatment available today. Treatment from trained specialists, who have the best hair removal equipment like the Cutera CoolGlide XEO System, will give you the best results.
Contact us today for your consultation. We will answer your questions and talk to you about your unique treatment.