Managing unwanted hair is a hassle. Shaving has to be done daily, and waxing is messy and painful. Tweezing might work for a few stray hairs, but it simply isn’t practical for larger areas. Fortunately, advanced laser hair removal technology has revolutionized the process of addressing excess hair, no matter where it is located. Specialized equipment and improved techniques make reducing hair growth fast and easy on the chin, bikini area, underarms and legs. Nearly every part of the body can be treated with today’s targeted lasers, and the cost has never been lower. This procedure is now one of the most frequently performed in the United States, second only to cosmetic injections.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
Lasers are highly concentrated beams of light that can be used for a variety of purposes. In this case, the tiny beams are focused on hair follicles. They are specially designed to destroy the hair within the follicle by attacking the hair’s pigment. In its earliest days, this design made the procedure most effective for individuals with light skin and dark hair, but new technology has created an entire family of laser hair removal equipment that can be used on patients with a variety of skin tones and hair colors. Though different machines employ different types of lasers, some of the most frequently used include diode, alexandrite, intense pulsed light and Neodymium YAG.
Laser hair removal only impacts hairs in a certain stage of growth, so for the best results, clients make a series of visits that are four to six weeks apart. For some, the hair eventually stops growing altogether, and the results are permanent. Others find that an occasional maintenance treatment is helpful once hair has been sufficiently reduced.
What to Expect During the Procedure
Before beginning the procedure, clothing is removed from the area to be treated. Patients are given protective glasses or goggles to ensure that the laser doesn’t accidentally damage eyes. Hair must be quite short for effective laser hair removal, so practitioners may trim longer strands with scissors. In some cases, they might use a topical anesthetic over the area being treated to minimize discomfort.
During the procedure, the practitioner uses a hand-held instrument to guide the laser. It is pressed right against the skin. Many laser hair removal machines have a feature that cools the skin before the laser is applied, which is intended to reduce pain. Patients usually feel a small area of intense cold, followed by what feels like a series of tiny electrical shocks. Treatment of areas where the skin is relatively thin, such as the upper lip, tend to be more painful than well-padded areas like the thighs and chin. The length of the process depends entirely on the size of the area being treated. For example, the face might be completed in 15 minutes, while passing the laser over the entire back could take an hour or more.
Risks of Laser Hair Removal
Qualified laser hair removal treatment centers use FDA-approved equipment, and they are skilled at performing the procedure in a manner that minimizes side effects. However, as with any cosmetic procedure, there are risks. Some patients experience pain in the treated area during or after their procedure, and in rare cases, the laser can cause blisters or burns. Occasionally, the laser may change skin pigmentation, and there can be scarring from the treatment. Again, these issues are quite unusual when procedures are performed by a specialized provider.
Laser Hair Removal Before and After Care
The laser is carefully calibrated to destroy hair at the follicle level without damaging skin, but patients must take certain precautions before their treatments to ensure the best possible results. For the two-week period before treatment, patients should not expose their skin to the sun, and they must avoid tanning beds, waxes, cosmetic injections and chemical peels. Just before the scheduled appointment, patients should not use any cosmetics, lotions, perfumes or deodorants on the area to be treated, as the combination of chemicals and lasers can cause irritation. Finally, it is wise to avoid anti-inflammatory medications, aspirin and herbals supplements before treatment to minimize risk of bleeding.
Many patients find that they have no side effects after the procedure, but some occasionally experience a bit of redness or swelling of the hair follicles. It is possible to have some discomfort or pain in the treatment area, and most practitioners recommend standard over-the-counter pain relievers to solve this problem. In some cases, patients may be prescribed a topical antiseptic cream to use on the treated area after the procedure. The most important thing to remember is that sun exposure is off-limits for at least a week after the laser hair removal is complete, and sunscreen should be worn during any time spent outdoors.
Book an appointment with the premier skin rejuvenation clinic in San Antonio. The Agave Laser & Aesthetic Clinic is a specialized treatment center offering the most advanced laser hair removal technology in the business. Contact an experienced practitioner to learn more. Visit the clinic online, or call (210)-595-3500 for additional information.