Laser Hair removal is a great option for men and women wanting low maintenance smooth, hair free touchable skin. Laser hair removal is extremely popular! The treatments are quick and easy but your results are strongly dependent on the laser being used along with the skill and experience of the technician. With proper treatments having a smooth and sexy hair free body and face is possible!
Laser hair removal has been used since 1997 and has been approved for “permanent hair reduction” by the FDA and Health Canada. “Permanent hair reduction” means that the laser is able to permanently reduce the total number of body hairs of active or hair growing follicles. However, the laser is not able to permanently remove body hair from follicles that are dormant. Hair follicles that become active after your treatment regime has been completed, is new growth. The new growth will emerge throughout your lifetime due to time of life, hormones, stress and medications. Luckily this new growth can be easily managed with maintenance treatments.
Lasers work by what is known as selective photothermolysis. Photothermolysis means the laser beam is attracted to certain wavelengths of colors. Hair removal lasers are attracted to the dark color or melanin in the hair and targets the follicle. The laser beam is drawn down into the follicle where the laser causes localized damage internally and the surface of the skin remains intact and damage free. This is where the skill and experience of the technician is extremely critical.
In order to have permanent hair reduction, the germ cells that live on the hair shaft must be completely destroyed and the capillaries feeding the hair cauterised. The laser light is absorbed by the dark color (melanin) of the hair and heat is generated inside the follicle. This heat migrates outward towards the germ cells. To be successful, the heat must be high enough and the duration long enough to disable the germ cells and cauterize the interior of the follicle without damaging the surface of the skin. For this to happen, the laser must be powerful enough to generate enough heat. Often, the main reason the people do not have results from laser hair removal, is that the laser being used is under powered and cannot generate the amount heated needed for the destruction of the follicle. These lasers are often advertised as “painless”.
Since lasers work with color, the best candidates have light skin with dark hair. But with today’s technology, lasers are able to treat darker skin tones and tanned skin. There will be more treatments needed and settings must be adjusted to protect the surface of the skin from being damaged. Epidermal cooling is a must with all skin tones!
At Palmer Laser and Electrolysis, our lasers of choice is the 755 Alexandrite for skin type 1 – 3 and the 1064 Yag for skin type 4 – 6. These lasers are rated by Trends and Technology, an independent research company, as the top medical laser for hair removal and spider vein treatments.
Hair grows in 3 phases known as anagen (early growing and close to the surface of the skin), telogen (deeper into the skin, aging and working its way out of the follicle) and catagen (the follicle resting and any hair left is completely unattached and will fall out). The laser can only disable an active growing hair follicle which is in the anagen phase. Since only 10 – 15% of all active follicles are in the anagen phase, multiple regular sessions are needed for success.
The number to treatments are determined by the area of the body being treated, skin color, hair color, hair thickness, the reason for the excess hair and the sex of the person. Areas that are strongly affected by hormones, such as the face, neck and chest often need more treatments than the underarms or bikini area. For the right candidates, fifty to ninety percent permanent reduction can be expected. However, it must be said that there are people that do not respond to laser hair removal and there is no way of distinguishing who will respond and who will not. In most cases of non-responders to laser, electrolysis would be the suggested treatment.
If the color of the hair is white, grey or blond or is extremely fine, laser hair removal will not work! Electrolysis would be a successful option. When there is a combination of dark hair and white/grey hair in an area, laser hair removal and electrolysis combination treatments are highly recommended.
After having laser hair removal, the body normally takes two to four weeks to shed the debris of the hair from the follicles.
Preparation for laser hair removal treatments is simple. There should be no plucking, waxing, threading or tweezing of any kind in between your treatments. Shaving can be done daily or as often as needed, even on the day of the treatment! The laser does not need hair above the surface of the skin and a conscientious laser technician will go over the area thoroughly and not just spot treat.
Normal side effects from laser hair removal treatments include pink skin, redness, itching, swelling of the follicles and area. These side effects usually last two to three days but in some people these side effects can last longer.
Risks of laser hair removal include but are not limited to hypo or hyper pigmentation, burns, acne flare ups, swelling, scabs, purpura and infections. These risks can all be reduced by the experience and skill of the laser technician performing your treatment.
During your laser treatments it is essential to use sunscreen! Sunscreen is the best thing you can learn to include in protecting your skin from sun damage, skin cancers and aging. Sunscreen must be part of your daily skin care regime!
Laser hair removal is a great treatment for anyone who wants that smooth, soft, touchable hair free skin!