Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light to remove unwanted hair. People may want their hair removed for several different reasons such as having coarse and dark hair, excess hair growth, growth of hair in unwanted places, inconvenience and side effects of shaving or waxing, or just aesthetic preference. It can be used for all skin types. The most commonly treated areas include the upper lip, chin, under arms, bikini line, and legs. The eyes and surrounding areas, as well as skin with tattoos are avoided.
So, how does it work? A handheld device emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment (the color or melanin of hair) within the hair, causing damage and destruction of the hair follicle (the area that produces hair). This ultimately leads to prolonged periods of delayed hair growth. The laser targets hair pigment but spares skin pigment. Having hair and skin contrast, such as light skin and dark hair, makes this procedure more effective and lessens the risk of skin damage. Laser hair removal may be less effective for people with gray, white, blond, and red hair, as these colors do not absorb light as well as dark hair. However, technological advances have provided options for people with darker skin and lighter hair.
The procedure often involves wearing special goggles to protect the eyes as well as applying a topical numbing cream and a cooling agent to reduce any discomfort. Mild redness and swelling, and less commonly blistering, may appear during or after the treatment but should dissipate within hours to days. Permanent scarring and pigment changes of the skin are possible but rare side effects. It is important to avoid UV light (including sunlight and tanning beds) before and after treatment and to avoid plucking, waxing, or applying irritating body products to the treated areas.
Since each hair is in a different stage of growth at the time of treatment, multiple treatments are necessary to catch all hairs in the area within their regrowth stage. Until this occurs, hair will continue to shed and grow until the desired results are achieved. The length of the procedure and number of treatments needed will vary depending on the size and location of the treatment area. Treatments are separated based on how long it takes for hair to grow back in that area. Maintenance treatments may be needed for sustained results. In general, 6-8 treatments are needed separated by 4-8 weeks with each treatment session lasting a few minutes up to 1 hour.
Results are typically noticeable after just 1-2 sessions! The effects may last months to years, or even forever, although permanent hair removal is not guaranteed. However, when or if the hair grows back, it is significantly lighter and finer than before treatment. Overall, laser hair removal is a quick, precise, minimally-invasive, and effective procedure for zapping away unwanted hair. If you’re interested in learning more about laser hair removal and achieving smooth, silky skin – give us a call at LIVV to set up a consultation!
Written by Jordan Valdez, ND, RD