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Laser Hair Removal Treatments - A Longer-Lasting Solution to Unwanted Hair

Laser Hair Removal Treatments - A Longer-Lasting Solution to Unwanted Hair

Hair growing where you don't want it to - unsightly and embarrassing

? Get rid of it! You could shave, pluck, wax, or thread it but laser hair removal treatments offer a longer-lasting solution.

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery states, "Laser hair removal has become one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in the United States, ranked second among cosmetic procedures behind Botox injections in frequency of procedures performed."

Who is it for? Laser hair removal works for men and women with unsightly hair on their face, chest, back, arms, underarms, bikini area, and legs. The best results come from light-skinned people with dark hair but there are newer lasers which work on darker skin tones.

What lasers are used and how? The most common lasers used are Alexandrite, Diode, Neodymium YAG, and Intense Pulsed Light sources. Some of these lasers have built-in cooling systems but if they don't a cool gel will be applied to protect the outer layers of the skin. The technician/esthetician will set the parameters for the session according to your skin and hair colour, the thickness of the hair, the location of the hair, and the energy that's needed for the treatment. The technician will apply a laser pulse to the treatment area and then watch for adverse reactions before completing the session.Laser Hair Removal Treatments - A Longer-Lasting Solution to Unwanted Hair

How does it work? Laser hair removal works by destroying the hair follicle with a concentrated laser beam. The laser is attracted to the pigment in the hair, thus destroying the follicle and leaving the surrounding skin undamaged. The hair from the dead follicle will continue to emerge from the skin but will eventually be sloughed off. It could take two to four weeks for this to happen but after it does there will be a marked difference in the amount of hair left. It is important not to pluck or wax the hair during this time so the growth stage isn't disrupted. Each subsequent treatment will treat the remaining hair.

How many treatments are needed? Because hair grows in three stages and the laser beam only destroys the follicle in one of these stages, it's necessary to have a series of treatments at specific times. Most patients require between six and twelve treatments with intervals of four to eight weeks in between sessions. Your professional technician/esthetician should be able to set up your individual schedule during your consultation.

This schedule depends on your skin and hair colour, hair density and thickness, laser type, and location for the treatment. Areas with thinner skin like the bikini area will lose hair faster than areas with thicker skin like the chin. Your schedule depends on how fast your hair grows.

The good news is that, unlike electrolysis which only works on single hair follicles, lasers can cover multiple hair follicles which makes the treatments faster and more cost effective. Each session can last from a few minutes to over an hour depending on the area being treated.

How does it feel? Laser hair removal can be mildly to moderately painful. The laser pulses feel like a rubber band snapping or warm pinpricks against the skin. Applying anesthetic creams 30 to 60 minutes before the procedure can reduce the pain. Applying ice packs to the treated area and taking pain relief medication before and after the treatment can help relieve the irritation.

It is extremely important to avoid sun exposure after laser hair removal and to use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with SPF 30 to prevent skin damage.

What about side effects? There are some to watch out for. Patients may experience pain, swelling around the hair follicle, or redness and inflammation. These side effects may last between one and three days. Some patients may experience blistering, herpes simplex outbreaks, and bacterial infections. The skin may have temporary changes such as lightening or darkening (especially in patients with darker skin types or tans), loss of freckles, lightening of moles, and tattoo lightening or darkening. Permanent skin pigment changes or scarring is very rare but can occur. You must advise your technician/esthetician of any of these side effects so that proper care can be given.Laser Hair Removal Treatments - A Longer-Lasting Solution to Unwanted Hair

Why should lasers be used over other methods of hair removal? Lasers are quick because multiple hairs are treated simultaneously. Lasers are accurate because they only damage the hair follicle and not the surrounding skin. Laser treatments are relatively painless and there is very little risk of infection since needles aren't used.

Isn't laser hair removal expensive? Sure, the cost of treatments is more expensive than other methods like shaving, waxing, tweezing, and chemical depilation but ultimately you save money because laser hair removal lasts longer than the other methods. It is also less messy, painful, and irritating. Clean, bare, silky skin can be yours with laser hair removal.

Laser Hair Removal Treatments - A Longer-Lasting Solution to Unwanted Hair

By: Chris Violetis
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