LASER HAIR REDUCTION – How it Works and What to Expect

Seeing as how all hair removal lasers target melanin, the best candidates for laser hair reduction are individuals with light skin and dark hair. One single dark hair contains melanin and has a plethora of melanin surrounding the dermal papilla, or hair root. The melanin granules absorb the laser energy, which in turn produces a thermal effect. This heating action is what damages the hair follicle. The projected number of laser treatments needed is 8-10.

When you are ready to begin your treatment, the hair of the area in question will be clipped or shaved off. We want as much of the laser energy as possible to be absorbed by the melanin near the hair root under the skin, not by an exposed hair. If the hairs are too long as the start of treatment, the laser energy will be spent on the surface of the skin instead of beneath it.

Within 7-21 days, the treated hair will fall out. Appearances can be deceiving; the hair may appear to continue growing after treatment. It is important to be patient as deeper, darker hairs will take more time to fall than shallow hairs. You may shave, clip or bleach treated hairs if needed. What is most important is to let them dry up and fall on their own.

We require that you wait 4-6 weeks after your last sun exposure (this includes a walk outside in the sun), before starting your laser hair removal treatments. Melanin in the skin becomes activated after sun exposure and activated melanin will heat more quickly when exposed to the laser energy. It is important to recognize that when melanin is activated, there is a higher potential for pigment changes or burning of the skin.

Plan your laser treatments 4-6 weeks after your last electrolysis treatment or waxing session. You will receive the most economic benefit with laser hair removal if you have a high density of hair growing in the desired treatment area. The FDA has cleared this laser for “Permanent Hair Reduction”, and after years of experience with this laser, we consider it to be a permanent therapy.

As with any personal service of this type, there are always risks involved. As with traditional electrolysis, the risks include hyper-pigmentation, hypo-pigmentation, and burning. Hyper-pigmentation is a darkening of the skin, much like a tan. It may last anywhere from a few days to a few months. Hypo-pigmentation is just the opposite; it is a lightening or bleaching of the skin. If the laser energy is too high, it could produce a burn. If it was intense enough, it could scar.

The treatment is described by many as being similar to being snapped by a rubber band. Treatment is so fast that most people do not mind what little discomfort they feel. The upper lip of a patient can be done in one minute, both underarms in three to five minutes, and a bikini line can be treated in ten to fifteen minutes. Hair removal has never been so fast!

The GentleLASE can fire a pulse every second and the cooling system is second to none. It is the only laser on the market that delivers a cryogenic spray to protect your skin. We find it superior to messy gels or contact cooling, which cannot be as precise with each pulse.

Just after treatment the skin will be warm and possibly flushed with color. You may also notice some erythema or puffiness. Not to worry, these are common reactions typically indicating a successful laser session. In order to cool and soothe the skin, a topical lotion or gel is applied. It is important to avoid rubbing or scrubbing the area for 24 hours, however you may pat or gently cleanse the area instead. We encourage our patients to treat their skin as if it has just received a mild sunburn.

Treatments are delivered four weeks apart for facial areas and four to six weeks apart for all other areas. We ask that you schedule your proceeding treatment each time you visit the clinic in order to receive optimum results. Although you may not see hairs growing in the area when you return for your next treatment, there are hairs growing under your skin that you will not be able to visibly see.

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