Laser Hair Removal

Laser Hair Removal


How laser hair removal works


Frequently asked questions


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Laser Hair Removal

Frequently asked questions

How long do laser hair removal treatments take?

The treatment time can vary considerably depending on the size of the area treated, and the particular technique used. A small area such as the upper lip may take only five minutes, while a larger area like the back or legs may take up to one hour.

Since the laser affects only those hairs in the growing stage, and not all hairs will be in this stage at the same time, several treatments will most likely be needed to effectively remove all the hair from one area. Subsequent sessions will be scheduled at least a month apart, when you will probably begin to notice the regrowth of hairs that were previously in the resting stage.

How much pain is there?

You should expect some discomfort during the treatment. This is most often described as a burning or stinging sensation, and varies from one individual to the next. A numbing cream can be applied to the skin prior to treatment to minimize pain.

What can I expect after laser hair removal?

Following the procedure the area may be red or swollen, as if mildly sunburned. Your doctor may prescribe a topical cream to soothe the skin. Occasionally, the skin in the treated area becomes slightly crusty, but this reaction should fade within a few days.

Although you can resume your normal activities, you should avoid exposing the treated area to the sun. Clean the area with mild soap and water and do not use any products that may irritate the skin (such as Retin-A or astringents).

You’ll notice hair “growing” in the area within ten days of your treatment. This is actually the damaged hair falling out, rather than re-growth. You may shave these hairs if they bother you, but do not wax, tweeze, or bleach hairs between sessions.

If you have a dark complexion, you may notice a temporary lightening of the skin in the area. Although most patients are satisfied with the results of laser hair removal, it is impossible to predict the success of the treatment for each individual. The resiliency of hair follicles in different parts of the body and in different individuals can vary widely. Multiple treatments are usually needed to remove hair permanently and in some cases complete hair removal is never achieved. However, even in these cases, you should have fewer hairs in the treated area than you would have had if you hadn’t had the procedure.

What areas can I treat with laser to remove unwanted hair?

Any area of the body can be treated, except for the eyelashes, forehead, & .  The most commonly requested areas are the underarms, bikini line, upper lip, chin, face, neck and legs for women; and the back, chest, and abdomen for men.  The arms, hands, feet, and ears are also commonly treated.

Who is a candidate for laser hair removal?

The best candidates have dark, coarse hair and light skin.  Blond and red hair on tanned skin cannot be successfully treated.  Our patients include actresses, actors, models, professional men and women, physicians, nurses, homemakers, students, and children.  Our lasers are used to remove normal hair, such as fine dark hair on the upper lip, and abnormal hair, such as beard hair on women with hormonal abnormalities.

Who are the best candidates?

People with coarse, black hair which is darker than the surrounding skin

What color hair can be removed?

Brown and black hair is the easiest to remove.  White and grey hair, which lack pigment, will not respond to treatment.  Blond and red hair is difficult to remove with current laser technology.

Are there people who cannot be treated?

Yes.  Patients whose hair color is lighter than their skin, such as tanned patients with blonde hair, cannot be treated.  New laser technology now allows treatment of patients with all skin types at the Institute of Laser Medicine.

Are there medical reasons why some people cannot be treated?

This technology is so gentle that it is exceedingly well tolerated, in general.  Patients with dark skin will find the laser treatment less comfortable.  No medication, either before or after treatment, is required.  Now virtually anyone can be treated, except those rare people who are allergic to light, except as noted above.

What will it cost for laser hair removal for me?

Treatment cost varies with the size of the area treated. Experienced laser centers, which have developed expertise in laser hair removal, generally average about $500 per treatment session, with an average of four treatment sessions initially recommended. Large areas, such as the entire back, or the entire legs, cost considerably more than this. Small areas, such as the upper lip, can be less. Individual consultation with the laser center is necessary to obtain exact pricing.

Is there an influence of skin color on laser hair removal?

Light skin makes laser hair removal easier to perform. Fewer treatments are required, and better, faster results are obtained. People with darker skin can be treated, but results are slower, more sessions are required, and greater expertise is required on the part of the laser center. Laser hair removal must be individualized for each patient.

Is there an influence of hair color on laser hair removal?

Dark hair absorbs more laser energy and is easier to treat. Coarse dark hair responds the best to laser treatment. Light hair is more difficult to treat. Blonde or red hair is very difficult to treat. Multiple treatment sessions are required, and results are variable. Blonde or red hair usually contains pheomelanin, which absorbs laser energy less avidly than the eumelanin pigment which is present in black or brown hair.

Does laser hair removal require multiple treatments?

Although one laser session can produce long-term hair removal, as a rule multiple treatment sessions are necessary to obtain optimal results. In large part this is due to the fact that laser hair removal is most effective for hair which is in the anagen phase. Anagen is the growth phase of hair. Since hair grows in cycles, not all of the hairs are in anagen at any given time. Additional sessions are necessary to catch all of the hairs when they are in anagen.

What areas can be treated?

Any area, except adjacent to the eye, where there is excess hair. The most common areas requested are the face, upper lip, neck, chest, periareolar, underarms, back, abdomen, bikini line, and legs.

About permanent hair reduction by laser.

Waxing, shaving, and plucking all produce hair removal which is temporary. Several of the newer lasers have clearly documented that there is permanent hair reduction after each treatment. The FDA has approved several lasers for permanent hair reduction, and more results with additional lasers are pending. The results tend to be additive, i.e. more treatments lead to greater degrees of permanent hair reduction. For any given patient results cannot be precisely predicted. Results can be variable, even with the best lasers.

Myths 1: Guarantees in laser hair removal.

It is impossible to predict the exact result a patient will achieve with laser hair removal, especially with regard to how many sessions a given individual will require. Many of the hair removal clinics which guaranteed results have gone out of business. Like most reputable medical practices, the most established laser hair removal practices do not guarantee results.