Unwanted body hair can be unsightly and frustrating. It constantly grows back, requiring continual maintenance through waxing, shaving, or expensive electrolysis treatments. If you are tired of the cycle of removing hair only to see it return, you might be interested in a more permanent solution: laser hair reduction. Laser hair reduction is a safe, non-invasive treatment that offers long-lasting results. Learn more about laser hair reduction so that you can make an informed decision about this procedure.
How does laser hair reduction work?
Laser hair reduction utilizes highly concentrated light, or lasers, to destroy hair follicles and significantly reduce hair growth in treated areas. The pigments in the hair follicles absorb the light, making it easy to target unwanted hair while leaving the rest of the skin unharmed. Because laser hair reduction damages the hair follicles, it is typically a more permanent solution than shaving or waxing.
The procedure begins by trimming the hair to just a few millimeters long. The practitioner targets the laser treatment to your specifications, taking into account the color, location, and thickness of the hair, as well as the pigment of your skin. Your physician may apply a special cooling gel to protect the surrounding skin.
One pulse of the laser treats many hairs simultaneously and lasts for a fraction of a second. The laser can treat an area around the size of a quarter each second. Depending on the area being treated, the process can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.
How to prepare for the procedure
For the best results, you will want to forgo hair reduction procedures such as waxing, plucking, or electrolysis, for at least six weeks before your laser treatment. The laser targets the roots of the hair, which waxing, plucking, and electrolysis temporarily remove. You should also avoid other actions that could potentially damage the skin and/or hair follicles, especially exposure to the sun. Sun exposure also can increase the risk of complications after laser hair reduction.
How long do results last?
Laser hair reduction offers a potentially permanent hair reduction solution, but you may have to undergo several sessions to achieve the best results. Most patients need around three to seven procedures before they no longer see unwanted hair. For best results, allow four to six weeks between sessions. Even if all the hair is not removed after a session, it typically becomes lighter in color, making it less noticeable.
What is the recovery period after laser hair reduction?
After the procedure, you should expect some skin inflammation and slight discomfort, but ice and anti-inflammatory creams should reduce most of these effects. The feeling following the procedure is similar to sunburn, and should last for one to two days, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Some people may experience blisters, swelling, redness, or scarring, but serious complications are rare. You should wear sunscreen for at least a month to protect your skin, which will be more sensitive than usual.
Who is a good candidate for laser hair reduction?
Almost anyone can safely undergo laser hair reduction. Those with darker, coarser hair may require more sessions or a stronger laser treatment to achieve the best results. The best candidates have a lighter skin pigment with darker hair, as this makes it easier for the laser to target the hair and avoid the skin. Individuals who have hair with no pigment are not always good candidates for the procedure, as the laser can have difficulty distinguishing the hair from the skin.
If you are tired of continually removing your unwanted hair through waxing, shaving, or electrolysis, then laser hair reduction may be the right option for you. After a few sessions, the unwanted hair on your arms, back, legs, upper lip, or anywhere else may become a distant memory. Contact Monarch Plastic Surgery to request a consultation