Permanent Removal of Unwanted Hair

Many of us have spent much time, energy, and money removing unwanted hair. Shaving, plucking, waxing, sugaring, and depilatories all remove hair temporarily. These methods last a few days to a few weeks, but the hair inevitably returns. Laser hair removal is a technique in which light is used to eliminate hair permanently. Once the hair follicle is treated, it can no longer grow hair. Here are some commonly asked questions we get in our office about laser hair removal.

Who is a candidate for treatment?

Laser hair removal can be used in all skin colors and on all areas of the body. It can also be used regardless of gender. The only hairs that can not effectively be treated by laser hair removal are pure white hairs containing no pigment.

What is the experience like?

Eye protection will be provided to shield the eyes from the laser light. During each treatment, the laser is slowly passed over the desired area. Each pulse will feel warm, but the sensation of heat dissipates quickly. Sensitive areas such as the bikini area will be slightly more uncomfortable to treat than areas such as the legs or back. After the treatment, there is no pain. Over the next few weeks, the dead hairs will fall out.

Are there any side effects?

In the weeks that follow treatment, some people notice inflammation—similar to “razor burn”— around some of the treated follicles. This is short-lived and only treated if it is bothersome to the patient. However, it is important to remember that all lasers are potentially dangerous devices if the practitioner is not appropriately trained. Therefore, seeking a skilled professional when receiving laser treatments is essential to avoid complications such as burns.

How many treatments are required?

Usually, six treatments are required for the elimination of all hairs in a given area. This is because hairs grow in what can be considered “crops,” meaning that some hairs are resting while others are growing. The laser will damage only active follicles containing growing hair. How long it takes for the new “crop” of hairs to appear depends on the area of the body being treated, so treatments are scheduled accordingly. Visits are scheduled at 4-8 week intervals, depending on the body area.

What about electrolysis?

Electrolysis is a treatment that uses electricity to remove hair permanently. The biggest downside to the treatment is the risk of minute depressed scars that often form at each treated hair follicle. Also, hairs are treated one at a time, resulting in a more uncomfortable and lengthy procedure. This makes laser hair removal a superior treatment. Electrolysis may be an option for pure white hairs without any color, as pigment is required for a laser to “see” hair.