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What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal is a non-invasive procedure that uses beams of light to eradicate unwanted facial or body hair.

How does it work?

The laser from your doctor’s device emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment in your hair. That light is then converted to heat, which damages the hair follicles, caping future growth. Note that laser hair removal is effective at removing hair for long periods of time but does not generally produce permanent hair loss.

What are the benefits of undergoing laser hair removal?

This procedure covers numerous areas, including the legs, arms, underarms and face. Unlike other hair removal services, laser hair removal: 

  • Targets specific hair and leaves surrounding skin unblemished.
  • Produces results that can last years, as opposed to treatments like waxing that must be repeated every 3-4 weeks.
  • Is often overseen by a medical professional, allowing you to discuss best practices and address any questions or concerns following treatment.

How do I prepare for treatment? What precautions do I need to take? 

It’s important to carefully vet any professional before undergoing treatment. Laser hair removal is a highly specialized procedure, so be sure to confirm that your doctor or technician is certified in dermatology or cosmetic surgery and has experience in laser based treatments. Once you’ve settled on a candidate, be sure to schedule a consultation to confirm that laser hair removal is right for you. At this meeting your doctor or technician will review your medical history, discuss the procedure, and develop a treatment plan. They’ll also share best practices you can put into place to ensure a complication free session. These include:

  • Limiting sun exposure for at least 6 weeks prior to treatment
  • Avoiding skin darkening creams 
  • Abstaining from alternative hair removal options for 4 weeks prior to treatment 
  • Avoiding blood thinning medication
  • Shaving hair designated for removal- Not doing so can result in burnt hairs touching the skin and causing damage 

What can I expect during the procedure?

Your doctor will begin by trimming the designated hair to a few millimeters above the skin. Next, the laser will be adjusted to account for the color, thickness, and location of your hair, as well as your skin type. Note that you’ll also be given goggles to help protect you from the effects of the laser. Following laser calibration, your doctor will prepare your skin by attaching a cooling device to the laser or applying a special gel to the assigned area. This will help reduce the risk of side effects and help the laser penetrate the skin more effectively. At this point, he/she will place the hair removal device against your skin and begin treatment. During your session, you may experience slight stinging sensations, followed by a rush of cold from the gel or device tip. Once treatment concludes, you’ll be given ice or lotion to alleviate soreness. Note that in the coming days, you may experience minor redness and swelling. If this occurs, apply an ice pack to the irritated area. In addition, try to limit sun exposure before your next treatment and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to prevent burn related complications. 

How often do I need to seek treatment?

Laser hair removal typically takes 2-6 treatments to complete, with the time in between each session dependent on hair location. Areas that feature fast hair growth, like the upper lip, require treatment every 4-8 weeks while slow growth regions, like the back, may only require treatment every 12 to 16 weeks. 

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