If you're not happy with shaving, tweezing, or waxing to remove unwanted hair, laser hair removal may be an option worth considering.
Laser hair removal is one of the most commonly done cosmetic procedures in the U.S. It beams highly concentrated light into hair follicles. Pigment in the follicles absorb the light. That destroys the hair.
Benefits of Laser Hair Removal
Lasers are useful for removing unwanted hair from the face, leg, chin, back, arm, underarm, bikini line, and other areas.
Benefits of laser hair removal include:
Precision. Lasers can selectively target dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.
Completely getting rid of undesirable hair in certain areas of your body can be quite rewarding and it can certainly boost your self-esteem. Laser hair removal eventually eliminates the need for plucking, shaving or waxing. The common body area where this treatment procedure is done includes armpits, bikini line, upper lip, and legs. Although this treatment procedure is possible in almost all parts of the body, the eyelid area is one exemption.
In choosing the right doctor for your procedure, you have to take note of the following:
1. A doctor who specializes in dermatology or cosmetic surgery and has experience with laser hair removal.
2. If a physician assistant or a licensed nurse will execute the procedure, make sure that your doctor is available on-site for supervision.
Before your actual treatment procedure, you have to schedule a consultation with your chosen doctor. During your consultation, costs, expected results, and possible risks will be discussed with you. Furthermore, your doctor will also review your medical history and determine whether this procedure is the appropriate treatment for you. You may also be advised to do the following before your scheduled day:
1. Avoid sun exposure, typically 6 weeks before your treatment and use sunscreen daily.
2. Lighten your skin. Your doctor might also prescribe a skin bleaching cream to lighten your skin if you have a darker skin complexion.
3. Avoid plucking, waxing electrolysis 4 weeks before your treatment. These other methods of hair removal might disturb your hair follicle.
4. Avoid blood-thinning medications like aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs.
5. Shaving and trimming are recommended a day before your treatment procedure. It gets rid of the hair above the skin that can be burned but at the same time, it leaves the hair shaft intact below the surface.
For the first two days, it may seem like the treated area was sunburned. Applying a cool compress and moisturizer will help you with your discomfort. If your face was treated, you will not be allowed to wear makeup if your skin is blistering.
It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks to see any difference. You may schedule your next treatment after 4 or 6 weeks. Note that you need to continuously undergo the treatment until your hair stops growing; this may take 8 to 12 treatments before acquiring full results.
The heat from the laser will stay in your skin for 24 hours so you need to avoid the gym, sauna, or even taking a hot shower. Doing so will increase the risk of bacteria multiplying and giving you spots. Strictly avoiding the sun before and after your procedure is essential, it is also recommended for you to avoid chemical peels for 2 weeks after your procedure.
Over 90% of laser hair removal patients have been reported to have permanent hair loss after an average of 3 to 6 sessions. The treatment, however, is not recommended for eyelids, eyebrows or its surrounding areas due to the possibility of severe eye injury.
On a very rare occasion, this treatment may also cause blistering, crusting, scarring or changes in your skin texture. Graying of treated hair or excessive hair growth on darker skin may also occur as side effects. The most common side effects are skin irritation and pigment changes. All these risks of side effects will vary on your skin type, hair color, treatment plan and your adherence to pre-treatment and post-treatment care.
Alternatives to Laser Hair Removal
Not everyone is a good candidate for laser hair removal, especially if you have darker skin or fairer hair. But the good news is that there are alternatives to this procedure:
Electrolysis - This is actually the closest procedure for laser hair removal. Instead of making use of intensive light, a radio frequency will be used to destroy your hair follicle. You may be required to undergo at least 15 to 30 sessions to achieve your ideal result.