Laser hair removal may not provide a permanent solution, but it can significantly slow hair growth over a longer timeframe than shaving or waxing alone.
Laser treatment only targets hair follicles that have reached the anagen stage of growth, typically around pregnancy or menopause when hormone levels shift, prompting new hair follicles to grow out. Hormonal changes such as those experienced during these times may prompt new hair growth as well.
How Does It Work?
Heat from a laser beam destroys hair follicles, rendering hair growth impossible; however, not all follicles may be destroyed at once – though some may return later with lighter and thinner growth than before.
Setting an appointment with your dermatologist on a regular basis and following their advice is key to reaching the results you want. Your physician can advise on the number of initial sessions needed as well as when and how often they should occur.
Before beginning laser treatment sessions, it is recommended to refrain from shaving, waxing or using other hair removal methods such as threading. Furthermore, any sunless skin creams which darken your complexion could make it more difficult for the laser to access the hair follicles effectively. Furthermore, blood-thinning medications must also be avoided, or seek advice from your dermatologist regarding safe alternatives. In addition, it’s vital that a licensed technician trained in laser treatments be chosen.
How Many Sessions Do I Need?
Laser hair removal is more than simply getting rid of unwanted hair; it requires consistent treatments over a period of six-8 treatments for maximum effectiveness. Sessions should occur every four weeks for best results, and the more regularly and consistently you treat, the higher your likelihood is for permanent results.
Make sure that the practitioner you hire has experience and is registered with a national registry that verifies they meet specific training, skill and insurance standards.
Your medical provider will work with you to establish a laser hair removal schedule tailored specifically to your aesthetic goals and concerns. At your consultation, they’ll assess which areas need treatment most quickly and the rate at which the area produces new hair growth – typically, fast-growing areas may require treatment more often.
How Long Will It Take?
Laser hair removal sessions typically last 15-30 minutes depending on the size and location of the area being treated. Longer treatments are necessary in areas like legs or back where more follicles may be in their anagen (growth) phase of their cycle.
Concerns of pain should rest assured; the procedure is relatively comfortable and usually doesn’t need numbing. Patients usually report feeling something similar to rubber band snapping or sunburn-like discomfort during the procedure; some may even detect an unpleasant sulfurous scent as their hair follicles get vaporized by laser energy.
Before your laser treatment, it is recommended to shave the area to ensure an efficient and targeted procedure. In addition, it is advisable to stay out of direct sunlight and refrain from applying self-tanner or any topical products before your appointment.
The team at Tamra Bedford can explain this in more detail during your first consultation with them.
Can I Have More Than One Treatment?
Permanent hair reduction typically requires multiple sessions as different stages of follicle development require different approaches. Therefore, it’s wise to consult a specialist prior to scheduling any treatments and choose a practitioner who meets set standards of experience and skill.
Laser treatments work by targeting melanin pigment in your hair follicles and converting it to heat energy to destroy them. Because these follicles were active at the time of targeting, some hair may regrow even after multiple treatments.
Hair usually grows back lighter and finer when it does, depending on numerous individual factors like skin complexion, type, hair length, type, pregnancy/menopause hormonal fluctuations and so forth. How quickly yours does depends upon these elements as well.
What Are the Side Effects?
Laser treatments aim to destroy hair follicles beneath your skin without harming surrounding tissues, leaving behind red and irritated patches for some days after treatment. You can soothe it by regularly using an ice pack on it.
After treatment, some individuals may see their hair grow back since not every hair follicle was destroyed – this is due to only working on active growth stage follicles during therapy – although any that do regrow tend to be lighter and less visible than before.
Some individuals worry that laser hair removal emits radiation, increasing their cancer risk. But research has not identified any link between laser treatments and cancer risk. If this concerns you, discuss it with a dermatologist or other medical provider familiar with laser procedures; they may recommend other non-radiating hair removal methods like plucking or waxing as alternatives to consider.
Will I Have Any Downtime?
Laser hair removal is usually pain-free. The level of discomfort depends on the thickness and density of hair being treated as well as which body part. Most men and women describe it as feeling similar to rubber band snapping against their skin.
Dr. Tolson will use the laser to tailor it specifically to your skin tone and sensitivity before using it to destroy active hair follicles. When necessary, an ice pack or anti-inflammatory cream may be applied for comfort purposes as necessary.
After eight treatments, most patients don’t see any new hair growth; however, dormant follicles could reactivate. Should this occur, touch-up treatments may be required.
To achieve optimal results, it is important to avoid waxing or plucking in between treatments and sun exposure or spray tanning for at least two weeks prior to your session. Furthermore, any medications which make you sensitive to light should also be avoided.