How many minutes of your life do you waste on shaving? Most likely, the sum total over a lifetime would add up to several days, or even weeks. Not only is shaving, waxing, plucking, and tweezing body hair time-consuming, but these methods of hair removal can be painful as well – how many times has your smooth shave been ruined by small bumps, nicks, or an itchy rash?
If you are looking for an alternative to the daily taming of hair via shaving, waxing, plucking, or tweezing, consider laser hair removal. If the word “laser” in connection with bare skin gives you pause, keep reading to learn all the hairy details about laser hair removal:
How does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser hair removal is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in the United States. Its purpose is permanent removal of unwanted hair on the face, arms, legs, back, and bikini lines. Laser hair removal can be performed anywhere on the body except directly around the eyes. The process utilizes a laser that beams highly concentrated light directly into hair follicles. The pigment in the follicles absorb the light, which in turn destroys the root. The laser beam is a precise hair removal technique that kills hair follicles in the desired area while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged. The process also eliminates the annoyances of shaving, waxing, plucking, or tweezing, such as bumps, stubble, skin irritation, and ingrown hairs. Laser hair removal works with all skin and hair types and colors, but is most effective for people with coarse, dark hair and fair skin.
Does Laser Hair Removal Work After One Session?
You will see instant results after only one session under the laser, but the procedure requires anywhere between 3 – 7 sessions total before permanent hair loss is achieved. In the month after your first session, hair will start to fall out in the areas where the laser was applied. Each session will be repeated every 4 – 6 weeks.
What should I Expect During and After Laser Hair Removal?
You should arrive to your first appointment with the area (or areas) to be treated freshly shaved. Avoid waxing, plucking, or tweezing for one month prior to the procedure – the laser will target a hair’s root, which is temporarily removed through the methods listed above. During the entire course of the sessions, you will not be able to wax, pluck, or tweeze the treated areas. Each session will be short, and dependent on the affected area: an upper lip session takes mere minutes, while bigger areas such as the legs or back may take up to one hour. The most common descriptor of the pain level is that of a rubber band snapping against your skin. Afterward, you will be offered ice packs, cool towels, and/or anti-inflammatories for any skin irritation or discomfort.
What are the Risks of Laser Hair Removal?
While laser hair removal is an FDA-approved procedure, complications may arise:
- For the first day or two after the procedure, your skin will look and feel sunburned. Your skin will be extremely sensitive to sunlight, and you should avoid sun exposure for a few weeks before and after treatment. If you will be outside, wear sunscreen and protective clothing.
- The skin surrounding treated areas may blister, swell, turn red, discolor, or scar, but these side effects are rare. They are more commonly seen in people with dark skin.
- Every body is different – for some people, hair may begin to grow back in the future and require maintenance laser hair removal sessions. This is most common for people whose hair and skin colors are similar in tone.
- While there are many at-home kits available for treatment, please keep in mind that laser hair removal is still considered a medical procedure, and there are risks involved when you undertake the treatments yourself. One of the biggest risks is the too-vigorous application of the laser over affected areas, which can result in skin damage. For this reason, schedule your sessions at a trusted dermatology office, where the procedure will be overseen every step of the way by a medical professional.
Here at Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers, we are proud to offer an advanced laser hair removal procedure with the Lumenis LightSheer EC system to remove unwanted body hair of all types. Call our office today for a consultation on costs and to schedule your first session.