How exactly does laser hair removal work?
The basic concept of laser hair removal is that the hair needs to be in the growing or active phase. When the hair is in this phase, the laser energy is absorbed by the pigmentation in the hair and travels down to the follicle where it is able to cause follicular damage or destruction whereby leaving that follicle unable to reproduce another hair – one step closer to permanent hair removal after only one session. Consistency of treatments is vital in achieving the desired permanent hair removal, and this will be touched on during a consultation with your therapist.
Is it painful?
Pain is definitely not the word to describe the sensation felt during a laser hair removal treatment. Every individual may experience a different sensation; however it is tolerable by many. Some feel a prick sensation and others describe it as an “elastic-band hitting the skin”. Most clients hardly feel anything and are quite comfortable as most of the sensation is felt on bony areas or the more sensitive areas such as the face or bikini. A numbing agent may be applied to the area to dull the sensation prior to a laser hair removal session for the most comfort.
Are there any risks involved?
There are always risks involved with any laser treatments; however having a laser treatment takes two to tangle. The biggest factor is honesty. Clients need to be completely open about any possible risk factors before the treatment begins such as medication, sun exposure, and special lifestyle requirements etc. Prior to having your first laser hair removal sessions, a consultation will be performed explaining all possible risks, contraindications, expectations and aftercare advice will be given.
What are the side effects of having laser hair removal?
Not everyone will experience the same sensation during treatment or side effects after the treatment. Possible side effects may include follicular swelling which appears as lots of tiny swollen bumps, and itchiness, skin sensitivity or redness lasting for up to a couple of days post treatment. Most side effects have subsided by the following day.
How many sessions will be required?
With only a maximum of 15% of hair in an area being in the active phase at any given time, several sessions will be required as the majority of the hair will be in the dormant or growing phases. The sessions required will range between 6 – 8 sessions for smaller areas at intervals of 4-8 weeks depending on the rate of hair growth. Larger areas may require more sessions due to some hair remaining dormant for up to 6 years. With the completion of the recommended course, maintenance sessions may be considered to treat the dormant hair that become active at a later stage.
I have blonde hair, will laser hair removal work?
Unfortunately, the lighter the hair the less effective the laser treatment will be. For laser hair removal to work, the hair needs to contain darker pigment and brown to black in colour to effectively transport the laser energy into the follicle. Once the hair is blonde, grey or white the laser cannot “see” the hair and the laser energy will just be dispersed into the skin and no hair removal results will be seen.
At what age can my son/ daughter start laser hair removal?
A big factor that needs to be understood is the relationship between hormones and hair growth. During our teenage years or with a hormonal imbalance, the hair growth will be rapid, unpredictable and laser hair removal may require more sessions with different intervals. For the best results, the hormones need to be controlled well in advance before considering laser hair removal. Certain conditions such as diabetes and menopause etc will require more sessions.
Can medication or vitamins affect my laser hair removal process?
Yes, definitely. Certain medications and vitamins will affect and influence the hair growth. Vitamin B12 and folic acid will stimulate hair growth, contradiction the laser hair removal process. Medications for skin conditions such as acne will make the skin very sensitive which will contradict the treatment. Hair, skin and nail supplements also need to be avoided.
Is there anything I need to do before having a laser hair removal session?
Ensure the skin is clean, free of any lotions or perfumes. If the hair grows long between sessions, trimming or shaving of the hair the day before treatment may be required.
Is there anything I need to do at home after a laser treatment?
It is very important that you treat your skin with care after a laser hair removal treatment as the skin has received laser energy which remains in the skin well after the treatment has been conducted. A good quality sun protection should be worn on all areas exposed to the sun. Keep the areas well moisturised with a rich body lotion. Exfoliation should be avoided for at least a week after treatment. Take precaution with hot showers or baths; rather opt for warm water instead of hot water. If possible, try not shave the hair between laser treatments as this may stimulates the hair growth, however if you need to remove the hair, you may shave, use hair removal cream (Veet) or use a body trimmer. Please never wax, tweeze or thread the hair as these methods remove the hair from the follicle and fewer results will be seen from the treatments.
What can I expect between laser hair removal sessions?
In the beginning stages of laser hair removal, sessions intervals will be spaced 4 weeks apart. Approximately 10 – 14 days post treatment, the hair will start falling out of the damaged follicles and the re-growth will appear patchy. Many clients, who suffer from ingrown hair, will see a great improvement in this. With the progression of laser hair removal sessions, the treatment intervals will increase to 6 or 8 weeks apart.