Laser Hair Removal
Before deciding if Laser Hair Removal is right for you, please review the following commonly asked questions.
How does Laser Hair Removal (LHR) work?
LHR works by targeting the dark colored hair bulb under the skin and potentially destroying it. Once the bulb is completely destroyed, the individual hair will not grow back.
How many treatments will I need?
Because hair grows through 3 cycles, an actively growing phase with a large hair bulb, a resting phase and an in between phase (both with very small residual hair bulbs), only a certain percentage of hairs will be effected at any one time. If all hairs were synchronized to grow and fall out at the same time, we’d all go bald every 6 months!!
This translates into an average of 3-5 treatments to remove bikini, back, arm and leg hair…. often more sessions needed for facial hair. As all patients are different, no guarantee to the number of sessions needed can be made.
Is it permanent?
Most authorities on LHR define permanent hair removal as remaining “hair free” for 6 – 12 months after the last treatment. In my experience, the majority of patients will be 80 – 90% hair free after completing the number of session needed as described above. However, if hormonal status changes
(ex. pregnancy) a few hairs may grow back.
Does it work on all hair types?
LHR works best on dark hair with lightly colored skin. It does not work on blonde, white or gray hair as there is little pigment for the laser beam to target/destroy. Results with red hair are fair, at best.
Are there any special things I can or cannot do before my first treatment?
Strict sun avoidance before and between treatments is a must to prevent healing with white or dark brown spots. Being tan or darker skinned makes it harder to use higher energies (ie. more effective results) as the laser beam will be attracted to the dark skin color as well as the hair.
- Avoid self tanning products for 6 – 8 weeks before treatment.
- No waxing, tweezing, electrolysis for 6 weeks before treatment – otherwise there will be no target (ie.hair bulb) under the skin for the laser beam to destroy. SHAVING IS OK !!!
- All patients must be off Accutane for 6 – 12 months before starting treatment. If not, the skin may not heal normally and be at increased risk of scarring.
Is Laser Hair Removal painful?
Most patients describe the sensation as a mild hot snapping feel. Depending on the sensitivity of the area treated, some patients opt to use topical numbing cream like Elamax 5% cream (over the counter) or EMLA 5% cream (by prescription) 30 – 60 minutes before LHR.
What will I look like immediately after my treatment?
Your skin will look like swollen red goose bumps around the hair follicle. It may feel warm like a mild sunburn. Occasionally, topical cortisone cream or anti-inflammatory medication like Advil will be prescribed.
Are there any risks?
As with all laser procedures, if the laser energy reacts too strongly with the target tissue, the skin can be burned, discolored and even permanently scarred. We carefully select energy settings to match skin and hair type to try and avoid any undesired side effects.
Can I do Laser Hair Removal while pregnant?
Although LHR is probably safe during pregnancy, I do not recommend it because of the hormonal elevations that stimulate hair growth. I routinely advise women to wait until they are done breast feeding and their hormone levels have stabilized.
What should I do before my treatment?
We ask patients to shave the morning of their treatment to give a smooth, hair free surface for the procedure.
What other options do I have?
Shaving , waxing, electolysis, Vaniqa cream; however, none of these methods give as effective, long term reduction.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask Dr. Roberts or her staff.