If you’re tired of paying those countless visits to the waxing salon, or of shaving your legs for what feels like the millionth and first time, you may be considering laser hair removal. However, before you go for the process, it’s important that you learn about it in detail so you know it’s the right treatment for you. Here’s what you need to know.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
According to the Medical Director at Skin Clinic, Dr. Daron Seukeran, laser hair removal involves focusing a laser light through the hair’s pigment. “This (light) converts to heat, which damages the hair follicle and hair bulb.” Dr. Margarita Lolis, an experienced dermatologist, explains further, “Energy from the laser is picked up by the pigment in the hair follicle, causing destruction to the root,” she says. The root can’t produce more hair after it has been destroyed.
Let’s have a look at the three main kinds of lasers used for the process. The first is the diode laser, which is great for both dark and light skin. Then there’s alexandrite, the fastest acting laser, which is normally used to treat large body areas. It’s best for people with fair to olive complexions. The last is the Nd:YAG,a long-pulse laser that is safe to use on all skin types, even tanned skin.
However, it’s not as effective at targeting fine or light hair as the others.
Laser hair removal works for all kinds of hair, but it’s particularly suited for dark and coarse hair. It also works best on the lip, chin, underarms and bikini areas. It’ll take between six to eight weeks before you see results, and it’s vital that you not miss any of the sessions.
Hair follicles are at different stages of development at any given time, and so you need to ensure you’re present at every session in order to eliminate all of them.
What You Need to Do before and after the Process
You need to remove your hair before the appointment. However, you can’t pluck or wax the area. Instead, shave. Shaving allows the laser to penetrate right into the hair’s root without singing or targeting the hair on the skin. What’s more, don’t tweeze, bleach or wax a month before the session – the root has to be intact for the laser to wipe out the hair effectively.
After the process, you’ll need to avoid exposure to the sun as much as possible. You should also avoid beauty items like retinol creams, glycolic acid and scrubs. Increase your use of moisturizer to counteract dryness and irritation.
Does it Hurt?
Not particularly. Most people will experience a sensation akin to a rubber band twanging against their skin. It may be more painful if your body temperature is relatively high, or on thinner skin on your temples, nose or chin. However, most laser hair removal procedures involve cooling mechanisms that help with the pain.
Make sure you know the ins and outs of laser hair removal before committing to the treatment!