Many men and women spend time and money on shaving, waxing or threading unwanted body hair. Laser hair removal was approved in 1996 and has grown steadily with improvements in laser technology. Fear of pain is a common reason given by patients for their hesitancy to try treatment. While it isn’t quite as relaxing as a day at the spa, newer technologies and cooling methods have made the process much easier. In fact, most patients find laser hair removal more comfortable than waxing and electrolysis.
At our clinic, we can treat almost any area of the body and any skin colour. The most common areas treated are underarms, lower legs and the bikini area. In general, thick, coarse, dark hair responds best to laser energy. On average, most areas respond within 6-8 treatments, slightly more in dark skin. Areas with fine hair can take much more, since there isn’t a lot of pigment in the hair to target. Multiple sessions are usually required because hair goes through three phases: growing, resting and dying. Laser is most effective when the hair is treated in the growing phase.
The process is quite easy. You simply shave the area to be treated one day before your appointment and ensure that you come in without any body creams or lotions. Before treatment you need to avoid the sun for six weeks. Tanned skin is actually at higher risk of burning than naturally dark skin. Also, it is important to stop using any medicated creams over the area to be treated for a week prior to treatment.
The most common description of the sensation is that of an elastic band“snap” on the skin. The procedure takes anywhere from 5 minutes to over an hour depending on how large the area is to be treated. After the treatment, the skin feels warm, like a mild sunburn and post cooling is generally recommended for comfort and to reduce the risk of hyperpigmentation. Sunscreen and sun avoidance is very important during the whole hair removal process.
Risks and complications can be reduced significantly by following the pre and post recommendations.
Laser hair removal has now become the standard treatment approach for hair of colour. While it is still unable to address the concerns of light, grey or fine hair, laser hair removal is generally regarded as the treatment of choice due to it’s long term results and safety profile.