Laser hair removal is the process of removing unwanted hair by means of exposure to pulses of laser light. The laser beam is attracted to the pigment melanin in the hair, bypassing skin, and targeting the cells that make up your hair follicle.
How do I know if I can have Laser Hair Removal?
There has been a lot of advancements in laser hair removal throughout the years. It is safer, more effective, faster and cheaper than ever. All skin tones can treated safely and the darker the hair is, the more effective. Unfortunately, fair hair cannot be treated successfully as pigment is the primary factor required. My advice for anyone who is unsure whether or not their hair is dark enough is to go for a consultation so a specially trained laser therapist can assess and perform a patch test. Most salons and clinics will provide this initial service free of charge.
Laser can be performed almost everywhere on the body. We cannot treat under the eyebrows, but we can go in between them. We also cannot do inside the nose or ears, which can be requested by men. Otherwise, most everything else is fair game.
How many Laser Hair Removal treatments will I need?
Laser takes time. A course of 6 treatments are required for all areas. Hairs on the body are treated at 6 week intervals. Hairs on the face are treated at 4 week intervals. This is due to the rate of your hair growth. Laser will only target the hairs in the ‘anagen’ stage, or the first stage of growth.
After 6 treatments your hair growth should have decreased by approximately 75% to 80%. Results can vary from client to client as many factors come in to play, such as skin tone, hair density, generic disposition, medication, hormones and illnesses.
What are the results like?
Laser does not make you 100% hair free. Due to the dormant hair follicles surrounding the active ones, new hair can still grow. As long as your body is alive you will still produce hormones. New hairs are inevitable and top up treatments are required to maintain results. Depending on each client, top ups can be performed once or twice per year.
It will take 7-10 days for the hair to be removed from the hair follicle. Gentle exfoliation can aid this process. Ingrown hairs? Laser hair removal is perfect for anyone who suffers with an ingrown hair problem.
Laser will make your skin photo-sensitive. A broad spectrum UVA and UVB protector should be used daily with a sun factor of at least 30. Sun beds should not be used during the course of your treatments. If going into the sun you should time your treatments at least 2 weeks before you go and 2 weeks after you come back.
Who cannot have Laser?
You cannot have laser if you: take medications that cause photo-sensitivity, have epilepsy, use sunbeds, are diabetic, under 16, or prone to keloids. This list is not exhaustive. If you are unsure if you can have laser or not, speak with your gp.
Laser cannot be performed over false tan due to the added pigment. The risk of burning the skin is too high as the machine will detect too much pigment and the skin will absorb too much energy. Ensure all traces of tan are removed prior to treatment.
How do I prepare for a Laser Hair Removal Treatment?
To be most effective, the hair should be trimmed down to skin level. This will concentrate the energy to the hair follicle and decrease the risk of burning. I recommend you shave the hairs you want removed the morning of your treatment, or if not possible, the night before. It is important that you cease waxing, epilation, plucking or threading. Any hair removal methods that pull the hair from the follicle will render the treatment ineffective, as the hair has to be attached to the follicle. Shaving and the use of hair removal creams are ok.
Is Laser painful?
The treatment is not painful. Some areas are more sensitive than others such as the upper lip or bikini line. The desired result is mild erythema (skin reddening), slight swelling of the hair follicle and a little bit of heat in the area. We use the Candela Gentlelase Alexandrite system which uses a built in cooling device. This will cool the skin a millisecond before each laser pulse, preventing the skin from heating up and feeling uncomfortable.
It is recommended to avoid all sources of heat following your treatment, including exercising, swimming, saunas and steam rooms.
How much does Laser Hair removal cost?
Price ranges can vary. Depending on where you go for your treatments there may be course packages available which will save you money. At Mediskin we offer either a pay as you go service or you can prepay for 5 treatments and get a 6th free. For any additional treatments required we allow you to pay on a pay as you go basis with 20% off.
Treatments can be performed quickly. A full body treatment can be performed in just over an hour. The upper lip and chin can be treated in 15 minutes.
Unwanted side effects include pigmentation changes; either darkening or lightening of the skin. This can happen if SPF is not worn daily during your treatments or if you are being treated at the wrong setting and with with the wrong machine.
The most important thing if you are considering laser hair removal is to do your research. Ensure you are being treated in a reputable salon or clinic, and by someone who knows what they are doing.