11 Common Questions About Laser Hair Removal

August 16th, 2016 by Dr. Michael Glass

Commonly Asked Laser Hair Removal Questions

 

Removing unwanted hair is a tedious, and sometimes painful, process. Whether you shave, wax or pluck, you often have to deal with nicks, missed patches, or ingrown hairs, only to repeat the ordeal in a day, a week, or a month. If you’re tired of the ritual, laser hair removal might be a good option for you. But before considering treatment, it’s important to ask the right questions.

 

1) How does laser hair removal work?

Laser hair removal is a technique that uses beams of highly concentrated light to penetrate skin and kill the germ cells that stimulate hair growth. The light is absorbed by pigment in the hair follicles, which in turn overheats and destroys the cells surrounding the hair, without damaging the skin.

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2) Am I a good candidate for laser hair removal?

Laser Hair Removal is typically more effective on people with fair skin and dark, coarse hair. Persons of color or dark-skinned individuals tend to absorb much of the laser light into their skin and not as much into the hair follicle. In this case, special lasers may be used.

3) Does laser hair removal hurt?

This answer varies depending on your pain tolerance. Many patients describe it as a rubber band snapping on their skin. If you are sensitive to pain, your doctor may recommend topical anesthesia before treatment.

4) How long will laser hair removal take?

This depends on the size of the area being considered. Relatively small spots like the underarms and bikini area can take less than five minutes, while a full leg can take up to an hour.

5) How much does laser hair removal cost?

Depending on the area of the body being treating, laser hair removal can cost between $250 and $600. Small areas such as the bikini area cost $250 on average. Larger areas such as the back and legs will cost around $600.

6) How many sessions will I need?

This depends on your skin type as well as the area being treated. A typical patient will need approximately 6 treatments. The sessions are spaced out every 4 to 6 weeks to allow dead hair follicles to disappear, revealing hairs that might’ve been missed due to their separate growth cycles.

7) How do I prepare before having laser hair removal?

  • Avoid sun exposure for 1 week before treatment.
  • Lotions, creams, makeup, and deodorant must be removed prior to treatment to ensure that the area is clean.
  • Wear clothing that will leave the treated area exposed.
  • Shaving is the only method approved for removing unwanted hair prior to treatment, as it preserves the follicle.

 

8) What should I expect when I come in for treatment?

Just before the laser hair removal process starts, your doctor or technician will trim the hair in the soon-to-be treated area to within a few millimeters above the surface of the skin. A cold gel or cooling device will be used to protect the outer layers of skin. Then the technician will apply a pulse of light to the areas, recalibrating for optimum settings, and checking for any adverse reactions.

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9) What are the side effects of treatment?

You may experience redness and swelling in treated areas for the first few hours after laser hair removal. To reduce discomfort, your doctor may recommend the intermittent use of an ice pack and aloe vera gel.

10) Are there any special precautions I should take after treatment?

It’s important to avoid sun exposure. Patients who don’t use sunscreen may experience changes in the color of the treated skin. Your doctor may also advise you to use a mild body scrub after 10 days to exfoliate the skin and remove dead hair follicles.

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11) When will I see results?

Results of laser hair removal vary greatly from person to person. As your body begins to push out dead hair follicles, it will look like your hair is still growing. However, hair generally falls out within 10-14 days after treatment. Since hair grows in cycles, regrowth is still possible after initial treatments, and may require additional sessions.