Are you bothered by unwanted hair in embarrassing areas? Are you looking to have silkier, smoother skin without annoying hair growth? Does body hair make you feel self-conscious about removing your shirt? Perhaps it is time to consider undergoing laser hair removal – one of the most effective methods of getting rid of undesirable face and body hair.
Laser hair removal is now considered one of the top 5 most requested cosmetic procedures across all medical spas. So rest assured you are not alone! Like you, many patients are simply over having to constantly shave and/or wax unwanted hair.
WHAT IS LASER HAIR REMOVAL?
Laser hair removal is a non-surgical medical spa treatment that helps reduce unwanted hair growth using a highly sophisticated laser. Our office uses a laser with an 810 nanometer (nm) wavelength, also commonly referred to as an 810-diode laser. With the ability to deliver nearly 10 pulses per second, rest assured our 810-diode laser is one of the best and most effective devices for laser hair removal.
HOW DO LASERS REDUCE HAIR GROWTH?
In order to understand how laser hair removal works, you must first understand the basics of hair growth. Basically, hair grows from within the follicle, which is located under the skin surface in the dermal layer. As the hair shaft grows it moves up and comes out of the epidermal layer of the skin. During this process, a special pigment, called melanin, is deposited into the hair to give it color.
The laser works by targeting the melanin within the hair follicle. The light energy emitted by the laser gets selectively absorbed by the melanin. Think of standing out in the direct sunlight while wearing black clothing – it heats up very quickly because the darker colors absorb the rays very readily. The melanin in the hair follicle works the same way. The more melanin, the higher the absorption of the laser light energy. As the hair follicle heats up, it is effectively destroyed – thus inhibiting future hair growth.
A SERIES OF LASER HAIR TREATMENTS
It is important to point out that hair does NOT grow in unison – it grows in cycles and phases over several weeks. These three phases are anagen (active growing), catagen (transitional) and telogen (resting). During the anagen, or growing, phase there is more melanin in the root of the hair – therefore, the hair follicle is sensitive to the laser beam. In the resting phase, the hair is less likely to be affected by the laser. If you were able to zoom in and look microscopically, you will see one particular hair may be actively growing while the one immediately next to it may be in the resting phase.
Why does this matter with laser hair removal? Because one session of laser treatment will only successfully destroy a certain number of follicles in one area – those that are actively growing. In order to get the others that are not in the same phase, you will need to have more laser treatment sessions several weeks later to hopefully time it when they are actively growing. This is precisely why laser hair removal is conducted over a series of visits – with many patients ultimately needing 6-10 sessions for an optimal result.
COMMON AREAS FOR LASER HAIR REMOVAL
The most common areas we treat for laser hair removal include the following:
- Face and neck
- Bikini lines
IS LASER HAIR REMOVAL PERMANENT?
In some cases, yes, the hair that is targeted by the laser will not regrow because the hair follicles were truly destroyed. However, there is no guarantee of this. If the hair follicles were only damaged, there may eventually be some regrowth. Most laser hair patients enjoy long-term reduction of hair growth – upwards of years in many cases. In patients who see some of the hair regrow it is usually much lighter in color and finer – making it less noticeable.
LASER HAIR REMOVAL TREATMENT
Laser hair removal is very well tolerated by most patients. That is because we utilize some of the latest technological advances in laser hair removal.
Prior to your visit, you should shave the area on the morning of or night before the treatment. This is very important since any residual hair on the surface of your skin will absorb the laser energy – causing unnecessary discomfort.
For 2 weeks in advance of your laser hair removal, we recommend you avoid sun exposure on the planned treatment areas. Tanned skin may interfere with the targeted precision of the laser and detract from the desired results.
If you have a history of cold sores and/or herpes outbreaks, you should let the office know in advance so that medication can be prescribed to reduce this risk.
COSTS OF LASER HAIR REMOVAL
When you think about all the resources – time and money combined – that go into shaving and waxing, the costs of laser hair removal simply make sense. After all, how much have you or will you pay over a lifetime of maintenance with repeated razor purchases and waxing sessions? For example, let’s say you opt to get a bikini wax every 3 months at a cost of $40 per waxing. That is $120 per year. Over 10 years you are looking at $1200 in just waxing – and you will likely incur this cost over an even longer period of time. When you add all of this up, you will quickly realize the cost of laser hair removal is more economical than you initially thought. And this doesn’t even touch on having to deal with ingrown hairs, nicks and bumps that go along with shaving your unwanted hair!
Keep in mind that smaller areas of the body – such as the bikini line and face – require less time and effort to treat with the laser versus larger surface areas – like the back and legs. As such the costs for laser hair removal on the larger areas will be higher.
Dr. John Hilinski has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.