By Nicole Munk, Cosmetic Specialist
When it comes to getting rid of hair in places you don’t want to have hair, it is nice to know that you have options. We can shave, tweeze, pluck, thread, and use depilatory creams. All these things work, but we always end up having to keep up with it. Depending on how quickly your hair grows, these things can take up a lot of your time. It would be interesting to add up the amount of money and time we spend every month trying to achieve our hair-free goals during our lifetime. This is where laser hair reduction can be a great alternative and ultimately free you from being tied up to a daily, weekly, or monthly routine.
How does laser hair reduction work?
Laser hair reduction uses a concentrated beam of light that targets the pigment (melanin) in the hair follicles without damaging the surrounding skin. The hair pigment absorbs the light then turns into heat, damaging the follicles that produce hairs, and over time, this damage delays hair growth. The laser hair reduction works on hair in the growth phase (anagen). Since hair is always at different growth phases, several treatments are needed to go back and target hairs that were in the resting phase (telogen) during the previous treatment. It can generally take up to 6 to 8 treatments, depending on the area, and spaced out 4 to 8 weeks apart to address the growth cycle.
At Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute, we use two very effective technologies. The Sciton® and the Spectrum Laser. This allows us to have more options to better treat each individual case and provide the best results.
The Sciton uses Intense Pulse Light (IPL) technology that utilizes pulses of light energy to gently penetrate the skin and target hair follicles. Since IPL delivers multiple wavelengths simultaneously, it can treat large areas quicker than a laser can. The Spectrum Laser uses diode laser technology that penetrates more deeply into the skin to get to the hair follicle.
Advantages of Laser Hair Reduction
- It’s quick – How long treatments take depends on your target area. If you are looking to remove hair on your upper lip, that can take 15 minutes or 1 hour for a larger area such as your back. It is easy to fit within your schedule.
- It’s more precise – We target the specific area you would like treated.
- It’s a long-term solution – while everyone is different, laser hair reduction can last years. Some people come back for maintenance visits as needed.
- It saves you from dealing with ingrown hairs – Ingrown hairs can be a problem for many that shave and wax. You do not encounter this problem with this type of hair removal.
- Relatively painless – Most people find this type of treatment uncomfortable rather than painful. The lasers are tunable, so we can make each treatment comfortable while still providing great results.
- You’ll save money in the long run – Imagine not having to constantly buy razors, shaving creams, aftershave items, depilatory creams, or keeping up with the monthly waxing or threading appointment.
About the Treatment Process
Consulting with your Provider is vital. Your experienced Provider will analyze your specific situation, treatment goals, and medical history to recommend a treatment tailored for you. To prepare for your appointment, you want to make sure you do not use any self-tanners and avoid getting any sun. The day before, or the day of your appointment, you will need to shave the area.
After your treatment, you may notice some redness or swollen skin around the treatment area due to some minor irritation. This will usually resolve itself in a few hours, but you may treat it with an ice pack or over-the-counter pain reliever.
In between your treatments, you want to make sure you do not pluck, tweeze, or wax while you wait for your next appointment. You need to continue staying out of the sun, and no self-tanners or tanning beds are recommended. Some possible side effects include hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation, blistering, and scarring.
Treatment can vary based on the area you are treating, the amount of hair you have, and the speed at which your hair grows. They can be done on any part of the body, including your face, back, arms, legs, buttocks, neck, and chest. The lasers are tunable and safe for any area of the body. Darker, denser hair on lighter skin absorbs more energy. We adjust the way we deliver heat based on skin and hair tones. We may also prep clients with darker skin tones with Hydroquinone 1 week before treatment to ensure no tissue damage.
Not everyone is a good candidate for laser hair reduction treatments. Laser treatments cannot be done on pregnant women, skin cancer patients, tattooed skin, people with epilepsy, diabetics, or if you are currently taking Accutane or certain other medications.
Always ensure to consult an experienced and knowledgeable Provider. The American Academy of Dermatology warns about the potential side effects of having laser treatments performed by inexperienced hands. You can be sure that at Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute, our Board-Certified Dermatologists, Physician Assistants, and Licensed Aestheticians’ main concern is your health and safety. If you’re looking to simplify your life with laser hair reduction, book an appointment online at one of our 10 locations.