Unhappy with shaving, tweezing, or waxing to remove unwanted hair from your face, legs, arms, underarm, bikini line, and other areas? Laser hair reduction may be for you.
What is laser hair reduction?
Laser hair removal beams highly concentrated light into dark, coarse hair follicles. The pigment in the follicles absorbs the light, which destroys the unwanted hair leaving surrounding skin undamaged.
Each pulse of the laser takes a fraction of a second and can treat many hairs in an area approximately the size of a quarter every second. Small areas such as the upper lip can be treated in less than a minute, and large areas, such as the back or legs, may take up to an hour.
Ninety percent of patients have permanent hair loss after an average of three to five sessions.
Am I a good candidate for laser hair reduction?
The best candidate for laser hair removal would be someone with very light skin and dark hair. However, anyone who has some pigmentation to hair is a good candidate for laser hair removal.
Before undergoing laser hair removal, you should stop plucking or waxing for six weeks before treatment, because the laser targets the hairs’ roots, which are temporarily removed by waxing or plucking. You can shave unwanted hair until a few days before treatment.
You should also avoid sun exposure for six weeks before and after treatment. Sun exposure makes laser hair removal less effective and makes complications after treatment more likely.
How long is recovery from laser hair reduction?
When the procedure is completed, you may be given ice packs, anti-inflammatory creams or lotions, or cold water to ease any discomfort. For a day or two afterward, the treated area of your skin will look and feel like it’s sunburned. Cool compresses and moisturizers may help. If your face was treated, you can wear makeup the next day unless your skin is blistering.
Blisters are rare but are more likely in people with darker complexions. Other potential side effects are swelling, redness, and scarring. Permanent scarring or changes in skin color are rare.
Over the next month, your treated hair will fall out. Wear sunscreen to help prevent temporary changes in the color of the treated skin. You may schedule your next treatment four to six weeks later. For the best results, you will want to receive treatments until the hair completely stops growing in that area.