Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker

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Easy-to-Understand Laser Hair Removal 101

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal has been around for longer than you may think. In fact, it was first discovered (accidentally) back in 1963 and has been in use and evolving ever since.

Well, there are plenty of myths circulating around about the industry, and it’s time to clear them up. Let’s talk about laser hair removal, how it’s done, what the benefits are, and answer any questions you may have!

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser technology has shown promising results in the cosmetic field, including skin resurfacing and other treatments. However, the most common laser treatment, by far, is for removing unwanted hair.

Laser hair removal is pretty straightforward. During the treatment, you’ll simply get into a comfortable position, put on your safety glasses, and relax while a laser is used to emit light that is absorbed by the melanin in your skin.

There are plenty of tube-shaped sacs all over your skin, known as follicles, that produce hair. These follicles will be damaged from the heat that is created by the laser light, and over the course of multiple treatments, the follicles will lose their ability to produce hair.

Essentially, you are removing hair by destroying your ability to grow it in certain spots of your body where you don’t want hair to grow.

Other hair removal options will either bring the hair down to the level of the skin (like with shaving) or remove the root of the hair from the follicle, like with waxing. Neither of these options will damage the follicle or make it less more difficult for hair to grow in these regions. This is what makes laser treatment so special.

What Are The Benefits Of Laser Hair Removal?

Nobody would sit in a chair for a full session of lasering their skin just for fun, would they? There are plenty of benefits offered by laser hair treatment, so let’s talk about just a few of them.

Longer Wait Time Between Treatments

When you get waxed, you have to wait every few weeks between treatments, and you are left with harsh stubble and eventually hair for at least a week. Well, with laser treatment, your hair follicles receive more damage than they do with waxing, which maximizes the amount of time for it to grow back.

The other good news is that you don’t necessarily have to wait as long if you don’t want to. Unlike waxing, you don’t need your hair to grow out to a certain length before you get your next treatment. This means you’ll be able to shave the areas you want to be treated between each session!

Even though it’s recommended to space your treatments out every 6 weeks, it could take months or even years for hair to grow back after a session. Each time it does grow back, it’s likely to be lighter and easier to shave off, showing progress toward the end goal!

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Again, different from waxing, there will be a final session if you continue with your treatment on a regular basis. This has to be the biggest benefit of the treatment by far.

If you continue going to laser hair removal treatments to remove completely unwanted hair, it will eventually stop growing back. You will see the progress the entire time which will motivate you to see it through until the end!

These sessions may seem long while you do them, but think of all the time you’ll spend shaving once it’s done. Even after a couple of sessions, the time you spend shaving will likely be reduced dramatically, especially on larger areas like your legs.

If you’re used to getting waxed, think about all of the time you will save going to waxing sessions. Driving or walking there, waiting in line, and making payments will take time out of your busy schedule. Imagine not having to worry about removing hair again.

Saves Money In The Long Run

One of the biggest complaints about laser hair removal is that it’s “expensive”. Well, you can consider it an investment. Think about the cost of continuously waxing for the next 30 years and compare it to the cost of a few laser sessions.

Now think about the amount you spend on razors. What’s the longest one that has ever lasted you? 3 weeks? You probably go through them once every week or two. Imagine the cost of buying 26 to 52 razors a year for the rest of your life.

When there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, you’re bound to save money in the long run.

Often Less Painful

Now, this depends on who you ask. There are some people who truly don’t mind the feeling of being waxed. There’s a word that some may use for these people that starts with the letter M.

Laser sessions will undoubtedly last longer than a waxing session but for most people with most skin types, they are a walk in the park compared to being waxed.

For an idea of what to expect, many people who receive the treatment will describe the sensation as the feeling of hot pin rocks touching their skin or a rubber band lightly snapping against them. If you’ve received a tattoo, don’t worry, most would agree it’s a lot less painful than that.

It feels different for almost every patient, but you can get a general idea of what to expect from past experiences, but don’t be nervous! For most people, it isn’t too bad.

Frequently Asked Questions

Since waxing and shaving still dominate the hair removal industry, it’s common to have plenty of questions about laser hair removal. It makes sense because if it’s really that great, why isn’t everybody doing it?

Well, the truth is that it really is a wonderful option for removing hair permanently and the results have only become more promising over time. Nevertheless, let’s answer some of the most pressing questions of the industry.

“How Many Treatments Will I Need?”

This fully depends on your skin type, hair type, and the length between your treatment sessions. However, the general answer is between 4 and 6 sessions for most people, assuming they are spaced out around 6 weeks between each session.

Again, this will depend on a number of circumstances, including the region of the unwanted hair. For example, the bikini region will likely require more sessions than your legs.

For certain people on certain parts of their body, it could take up to 8 to 10 sessions or as little as 2 to 3. However, this is unlikely for most people. To maximize the benefit of each session, schedule each session as far in advance as possible to ensure they are properly spaced.

“Is It Safe?”

Yes, laser hair removal is incredibly safe. The industry has figured out how to maximize safety for all patients. Generally, you want to avoid any treatment near your eyes and during pregnancy.

If you do experience any negative reactions during or after treatment (they are unlikely to be severe), talk to your doctor or dermatologist to determine if it is safe for your circumstances or conditions. Speak to your specialist before your first session if you have any skin conditions or if you are pregnant.

There are possible side effects to be aware of. You could experience swelling, redness, or light blistering. If you experience these, don’t panic. Contact your doctor and ask if you should continue treatment or not.

“Does It Hurt?”

We mentioned that it’s often less painful than waxing, but some of you may still be wondering just how painful, and some of you may never have been waxed for comparison.

It is not common to experience pain or discomfort during treatment sessions. However, those with sensitive skin or certain skin conditions may experience the feeling of a sunburn on the treated area after treatment.

If you have sensitive skin, you may feel a slight stinging or burning sensation during treatments. However, it is uncommon that it becomes painful or difficult to bear.

Also, before each session, you will receive a numbing gel to rub on the area that will be treated, allowing for maximal comfort. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, don’t hesitate to speak up.

“How Much Does It Cost?”

Well, this is a difficult question to answer because of all the factors involved. Sessions will take longer depending on the location of your body, how much surface you want to be covered, the treatment provider, and so much more.

However, the good news is that you can get a definitive estimate when you sign up for a free consultation! That will give you the best insight into how many treatments you should expect to need, when it can be done, and how much it will cost!

“How Long Does Each Session Take?”

Of course, this will depend on the surface area being covered. However, you should expect the numbing gel that is used to take between 30 and 60 minutes to take effect before the lasering begins.

For a smaller area like the bikini or armpits, you should expect the treatment to take up to a half-hour. For your legs or chest, it could take more than 2 hours.

Of course, time spent in the waiting room will also vary but if you have an appointment, that time should be minimized. All in all, expect to spend 2 to 4 hours for an appointment depending on the area being covered. Legs will take longer than armpits.

No matter how long it takes, you’ll be able to sit comfortably with your numbing cream and either use your phone, read a magazine, or talk during the session. The time will go by more quickly than you think.

“Does It Smell?”

You are vaporizing hair when you get laser treatment, which will cause small plumes of smoke to come off the surface of your skin. This is nothing to be worried about. If you know what burned hair smells like, that’s what you should expect during the session. Don’t worry, the smell won’t linger on your skin.

“Who Performs The Treatment?”

Board-certified dermatologists are always the safest option for laser hair removal treatments, so don’t buy into the myth that anybody can do it. Before making an appointment with anybody, be sure to look into their credentials and even online reviews to make sure they are legitimate.

“Does It Work On All Hair Types?”

Lastly, it’s important to know what extremely light hair colors, especially blonde, gray, or white hairs, are likely not going to be affected much by the treatment.

The technology to target these hair types just isn’t in yet. Proceed with skepticism if a business advertises the ability to target these hair types. However, laser hair treatment is extremely effective on all other hair types and even most skin types, including darker skin.

Get Rid Of That Hair!

Now that you know everything you need to know about laser hair removal, you can make an informed decision if it’s right for you. It has stronger, longer-lasting effects than any other hair removal treatment and it’s very safe! Stay up to date with our latest dermatology news and feel free to contact us with any questions about treatment options!

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Upcoming Events

Mon 25

Customer Appreciation Sale

October 4 @ 8:00 AMOctober 31 @ 11:59 PM

We are thrilled to celebrate you – our clients, our friends, our family. What better way to show our love than a month full of giveaways and special packages! This month’s featured packages include the following:    About Face $2999 (Value $4435) Ultherapy® for Lower Face and Neck 20 Units of Xeomin NEOCUTIS Neo Firm   […]