Virtually everyone has suffered from unwanted hair during their lifetime. You’ve probably tweezed, shaved, waxed, and even tried electrolysis to get rid of it. Many are now replacing these “old school” methods with laser hair removal, the fastest-growing cosmetic procedure in the world. It’s a faster, less painful, and more permanent solution to unwanted hair.
The laser hair removal process has been around for many years. It was first developed in the 1960’s, but was not really effective until the 1990’s when it was approved by the FDA. Today millions of people are using laser hair removal to attain smooth, silky skin safely and effectively.
How It Works
Laser hair removal uses an intense pulsating beam of light to remove unwanted hair. The beam passes through the skin to an individual hair follicle. The intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle, inhibiting future hair growth.
Hair follicles transistion through active and dormant stages. Only active follicles can be treated. Dormant follicles cannot absorb the laser light, so they remain undamaged. Only 30-50% of hair is actively growing at any given time. Multiple sessions are required for every single follicle to be treated.
While laser hair removal can be performed on virtually any skin color and hair type, hair color is the most important factor. The light emitted from the laser is attracted to the melanin, or dark pigment, in the hair follicle. This means that dark hair is treated most effectively. Treatments performed on red, blonde, and gray hair are not generally as effective.
Common treatment areas include legs, underarms, upper lip, chin, and bikini line for women and chest, back, and neck for men. Nearly any area of the body with unwanted hair can be treated.
Laser hair removal doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. Some hair may be resistant to treatment or may grow again after treatment, although new hair growth tends to be finer and lighter in color.
Each treatment removes a progressive percentage of hair until the skin becomes smooth and hair free. Typically 8 to 12 treaments, every 4 to 12 weeks are needed to accomplish permanent results. Several “touch-up” treatments may be needed if new hair growth occurs after the treatments are complete.
Treatment time depends on the treated area’s size and the number of areas being treated during one session. Typically individual areas can be treated in 30 minutes or less. There is no downtime, so treatments can be performed during a lunch break.
There is some pain involved, but most people tolerate it very well. It has been compared to a rubber band snapping against the skin. To alleviate some of the discomfort, a topical numbing cream or ice can be applied. Many people also benefit from taking ibuprofen before treaments.
Risks and Side Effects
The most common side effects of laser hair removal include:
• Skin Irritation—temporary redness and slight swelling are common. More swelling occurs in areas with denser, coarser hair growth.
• Pigment Changes—laser hair removal may darken or lighten the affected skin, usually temporarily. Skin lightening primarily affects those who have darker skin.
• Allergic Reactions—in very rare cases, an allergic reaction to the heat can occur. Skin may appear red and blotchy and become very itchy. The reaction is temporary and can be treated with topical anti-itch creams and anti-inflammatory medication. Treatments can continue; however, and the reaction should decrease as the hair growth is reduced.
If you have very sensitive skin and are concerned about side effects, a small patch area can be tested. Any reaction will occur within one to three days after the test.
There are certain medical conditions, such as pregnancy, that could affect your treatments. Notify your physician or technician of any pre-existing medical conditions or if your condition changes while you are undergoing treatments. It may be necessary to put your treatments on hold until it is safe to continue.
Laser hair removal isn’t cheap, but if you compare the costs of waxing, shaving, and other hair removal methods, you actually will be saving time and money in the long run. Treatment areas are often sold in packages, which can save money, and Beautique offers further savings with its new Hair Free Club.
For more information or to book a free consultation, call (956) 664-1234 today. One of our associates will get you on your way to becoming hair free.