Laser hair removal seems to be in an upswing among today’s beauty trends. Traditional hair removal trends are out and permanent removal methods are in! With ineffective and sometimes painful hassles like waxing, plucking or shaving, it’s no wonder why most men and women are turning to laser hair removal. With its consistent rise in popularity, people have been taking more of an interest and asking more questions about this common treatment.
Before deciding if laser hair removal is right for you, here are a few frequently asked questions that may help guide you to smooth, hairless skin:
First, how does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal is the process of which flashes of light are distributed over the skin and absorbed by the melanin in the hair follicle. This destroys the root of the hair at the follicle level. The energy from the laser heats up and damages the hair follicle which stunts the regrowth during the active growth stage of the hair cycle.
To be able to grow, hair goes through three stages of an important growth cycle:
- Anagen Phase – the growth stage – the stage where your hair actively grows
- Catagen Phase – transitional phase – where the hair follicle shrinks and detaches from the papilla (the structure at the base of the follicle)
- Telogen Phase – resting phase – when old hair releases and falls out
Once the old hair sheds, the hair follicle re-attaches to the papilla and re-enters the growth phase – or anagen phase – to start the full cycle over.
Every hair on your body can be at a different growth phase in the cycle at any given time. So to be able to remove hairs in the anagen phase, laser hair removal treatments are booked several times to ensure the hair is being targeted at the right phase. This ensures the effectiveness of the laser!
What is standard practice for laser hair removal?
Each pulse of light energy takes a matter of seconds – treating more than one hair at a time. This helps make the procedure quick and easy. On average, treatments can last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the patient and the size of the treatment area.
Because the lasers need to target hairs in their anagen growth phase, patients will need to schedule at least 5 to 8 treatments spaced out over 4 to 6 weeks to see long-lasting permanent results with added touch-ups over time.
Patients who have lighter hair may require more treatments than patients with darker hair. However, all patients will see the same effective results at the end of their treatments.
After the first treatment, patients will see the hairs grow back finer and weaker with overall smoother skin. After each treatment, results become more noticeable until all hair follicles are destroyed and hair growth comes to a halt. Each individual will experience results at different rates depending on hair and skin type.
Why do individuals choose laser hair removal?
Unwanted hair. Many people are tired of having to repeatedly remove hair through time consuming and painful methods. Everything from waxing, tweezing, or shaving, or all of the above! Whether it’s on the feet, bikini area, legs, back, hands, arms and/or upper lip. Being hairless is high in demand and no one has time for it!
Who is eligible for laser hair removal?
Anyone really. Women and men both seek laser hair removal for one reason or another. On average, women seek to treat their bikini lines, legs, and underarms; while men are normally more interested in treating their necks and backs.
Originally, laser hair removal was only for people who have light skin and dark hair. However, with the advancement of technology, all skin types and hair colors qualify for treatment.
What types of light-based hair removal technologies are there?
There are two main laser technologies used for permanent hair removal. They are:
Diode – The diode laser is very effective for light and dark skin. Typically using around 800nm to 810nm.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) – an IPL device sends out more than one wavelength of pulsating light. It sends out a full spectrum of light.
Like most procedures, laser hair removal can be dangerous in unskilled hands. This could be permanent changes to the skin color, scarring, burns, irritation, etc. If you’re considering laser hair removal, make sure it’s performed by a trained medical professional who is skilled and educated in using lasers on the skin. If you’re looking for a board-certified dermatologist, call Dr. Balshi in Delray Beach, FL.
Based in South Florida, Dr. Thomas Balshi is board certified in both internal medicine and dermatology. He has extensive training in both medical and surgical disciplines. His specialties include the aesthetic enhancement of pigmented skin conditions, non-invasive skin rejuvenation, and cosmetic dermatology procedures.
Is it safe?
Laser hair removal is a safe solution for permanent hair removal. By using pulsing or wavelengths of laser light, the heat from the light destroys the hair follicles permanently. This causes the hair to shed and makes it difficult for future growth phases to occur.
Laser hair removal is considered a minimally invasive procedure with no downtime. Although there may be some tingling or burning associated with laser hair removal, the effects are mild and should disappear by itself.
Make sure to only choose laser hair removal with healthcare professionals that are trained and certified to operate a cosmetic laser. Although the procedure is considered non-invasive, it’s imperative that you see a trained and skilled professional to perform this treatment. Your safety and results should be in the hands of an expert.
If you find a medical spa to offer lower than usual costs and advertise special offers for a cheap and “effective” treatment. These are clear signs to steer away from a “too good to be true” treatment.
How long do the results last?
Most patients will see no hair growth from months to even years. If some hair does regrow, the structure of the hair will be less noticeable than before treatment. Keeping the area hair free means having a few touch up laser treatments to maintain a smooth look.
What are the possible side effects?
The most common side effects are minor and last 1 to 3 days. These side effects include:
The only time you run the risk of additional or more severe side effects is when your laser hair removal treatment is performed by a technician not qualified to use cosmetic lasers or without direct supervision of a dermatologist. Other possible side effects include:
- Herpes simplex (cold sores) outbreaks
- Skin lightening or darkening
This is why it’s important to seek medical advice and treatment from a trained professional. Some changes to skin color can be permanent. Aside from these, normal side effects will subside over some time.
Make sure to follow your dermatologist’s instructions before and after treatment to reduce any risk of side effects altogether.
What does the aftercare look like?
If it’s at all possible, avoiding side effects generally means protecting their skin from the sun. After your hair removal treatment, you should:
- Avoid direct sunlight from hitting your treated skin.
- Not use a tanning bed, sun lamp, or any other indoor tanning equipment.
- Follow your dermatologist’s after-care instructions.
After treatment you may see some redness and swelling like a mild sunburn. If you have any discomfort, applying a cool compress can help reduce irritation and swelling.
Does laser hair removal require any downtime?
Generally, laser hair removal doesn’t involve any serious downtime. Aside from some possible side effects like red, irritated or swollen skin, most people can return to their everyday routines without any interruption.
When do I make another laser treatment appointment?
This can differ from person to person. Commonly, most patients can have laser hair removal treatments every 4 to 6 weeks. However, it’s important to discuss this with your dermatologist. Patients will end up with regrowth throughout the process of treatments. Your dermatologist will let you know what’s considered safe for you and your skin.
At Balshi Dermatology in Delray Beach, Florida, they are proud to offer excellent customer service by board-certified and expertly trained professionals in a great facility! Licensed providers have the necessary skill and experience to deliver amazing and long lasting results that will never sacrifice your safety.
Laser removal provides a breakthrough in permanent hair removal so that there is no more need to shave or wax every few weeks. Not only can you enjoy the process more, but you can also reap the benefits of being hair-free everywhere.
Call Our Trained Professionals At Balshi Dermatology in Delray Beach, Florida For More On Laser Hair Removal!
It is important to remember that the best way to identify if these laser treatments are right for you is to find out more information about laser hair removal and scheduling an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist at Balshi Dermatology in Delray Beach. A medical professional can better help to provide further guidance and help answer your questions to take you to the next step toward obtaining permanently smoother and glowing skin.