People have been tweezing, waxing, and shaving unwanted hair on their bodies for decades. Unfortunately, most hair removal methods are temporary, only lasting a few days or weeks at most. Often, these techniques are painful and leave the skin red or irritated. Laser hair removal, however, offers a more permanent solution to removing unwanted hairs on various parents of the body.
Although laser hair removal is one of the most common cosmetic procedures in the country, people who are considering this option may have a lot of questions about what to anticipate. We want to provide our patients with information, so they know what to expect when it comes to laser hair removal.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is a hair removal method that offers a more long-lasting solution than traditional methods. This method uses highly concentrated laser beams to penetrate hair follicles. The pigment in these hair follicles absorbs the light from the laser beam, which then destroys the hair. Rather than only removing hair, laser hair removal procedures eliminate down to the root of each hair follicle.
Laser hair removal can be used to remove hair on any part of the body, including the back, legs, arms, underarms, lips, unibrow, and bikini area. Depending on the size of the target body area, it may take more sessions than a smaller area like the upper lip. Most patients experience permanent hair loss after three to seven sessions, however. While laser hair removal isn’t entirely permanent, it drastically reduces hair growth for years.
Are You a Candidate for Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal requires candidates to have darker pigmented hair on the area they want to treat. Since the laser energy is aimed at color pigment, it will not pick up on light hair that blends in with skin tones. For this reason, laser hair removal is most effective for individuals with fair skin and darker hair.
However, certain lasers have been developed specifically to treat people with darker complexions. At Mirabile M.D., our laser hair removal practice uses Lumenis LightSheer Infinity and Lumenis LightSheer Duet laser systems. Our experts will determine the most appropriate laser technology based on your skin type and color.
What Are Laser Hair Removal Treatments Like?
After determining whether you are a good candidate for laser hair removal, you can schedule an initial appointment. Laser hair removal treatments require the patient to prep beforehand by limiting tweezing, waxing, and electrolysis of the target area for six weeks before the first treatment session. Sun exposure makes laser hair removal less successful, so patients should avoid the sun for four to six weeks before and after treatment, as well.
Laser hair removal sessions can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on what area of the body is being treated. Before starting the session, the specialist may apply a topical numbing medicine or ice 20 to 30 minutes before the procedure to help limit any pain or discomfort. However, some laser systems cause more pain throughout the treatment session than others. At Mirabile, M.D., our team uses the Lumenis LightSheer system, which is painless and offers much quicker treatment sessions than other laser hair removal options out there.
The hair on the treatment area will be trimmed down to only a few millimeters just before beginning the treatment. Throughout the treatment session, the patient and the specialist will wear eye protection.
Patients will begin to notice thinner hair after the first couple of sessions. As hair becomes finer, the treatments become less painful.
After the laser hair removal session is complete, applying ice packs, anti-inflammatory creams, or cold water, if needed, to minimize any discomfort. Following the session, the treated skin may feel sunburnt for a few days, so cool compresses and moisturizers can help soothe any the sore area. It is vital to apply sunscreen to the treated skin before going outside and to avoid prolonged sun exposure. The skin will be sensitive to the UV rays, which runs the risk of potential discoloration.
Overall, laser hair removal is a safe treatment with quick sessions. However, the entire laser hair removal process can be long because patients must wait about four to six weeks between appointments.
Alternative Options to Laser Hair Removal
There are many alternatives to laser hair removal for those who may not be candidates. Shaving and tweezing are quicker options that remove body hair immediately, but hair can grow back within days. Waxing is painful but offers weeks of smooth, hairless skin. The downfall to waxing is that the skin often itches as hair grows back. Electrolysis is an alternative that offers more long-lasting results. The process involves a fine needle that is inserted into each hair follicle and sends an electric current that kills the hair follicle. Unfortunately, this hair removal method is painful and time-consuming.
If you are interested in laser hair removal, our experts at Mirabile M.D. will be there for you throughout the entire process. Mirabile M.D. has been offering MedCosmetic medical spa services to patients in the Kansas City area since the 1990s and continue to invest in the latest innovative technology to provide our patients with the best possible care. If you have any questions about laser hair removal or any of our other services, please call us at 913-888-7546.