Laser hair treatment is one of the most common cosmetic therapies in the United States. It is a popular alternative to shaving and waxing, particularly for those who want to save time. This modestly invasive procedure also provides advantages such as precision in targeting specific hairs, evasion of awkward in-between stages of growth, and removal of ingrown hairs. Before proceeding with laser hair removal, your Memphis aesthetic medical spa doctor will review your medical history to determine if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure.
Understanding laser hair treatment
Laser hair removal is a medical method of removing unwanted hair using a highly focused light beam. During laser treatment, a laser emits light that is absorbed by melanin. The energy is transformed to heat, which damages the hair-producing tube-shaped sacs within the skin. This damage prevents or delays long-term hair growth. Although laser hair removal can effectively delay hair growth for extended periods, it rarely removes permanent hair. Several laser hair removal steps are necessary for preliminary hair removal, and you may also require maintenance treatments. Laser hair removal is often effective on light skin and dark hair, but it can be used on people of all skin types.
Selecting a board-certified doctor in a specialty like plastic surgery is critical. It is also essential to avoid waxing or plucking hairs for four to six weeks before your first laser hair treatment. These practices partially remove hair follicles and roots, the laser treatment’s targets. Shaving is acceptable because it cuts the hairs while leaving the hair follicles intact. Shaving is advised within 24 hours of treatment to allow the laser to locate follicles. Hair stubble can be burned during the laser procedure, causing additional discomfort.
Before undergoing laser hair removal, talk with your doctor to determine if this is the preferred treatment for you. The dermatologist will do the following:
- Examine your medical history, including medication use, skin disorders or scarring history, and previous hair removal procedures.
- Discuss the risks, benefits, and expectations of laser hair removal, as well as what it can and cannot do for you.
- Take photos for before-and-after comparisons and long-term evaluations.
What to expect during the procedure
You may be given the choice of receiving a topical anesthetic just before the laser procedure to help minimize any unpleasantness during the treatment. This is suggested for more sensitive parts such as the bikini line and underarms and is applied 20-30 minutes before the laser process. Generally, you will be given eye protection, and the doctor will adjust the laser equipment settings based on the location, thickness, and color of your skin. Finally, a cold gel or a unique cooling device will be used to protect the outer skin and reduce side effects.
Light pulses will be delivered to the treatment area during the laser procedure, causing discomfort. This has been described as a warm pinprick or a soft rubber band snapping against the skin. Compared to subsequent treatments, the first procedure typically causes the most discomfort. The laser hair process can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the growth area. After the procedure, you may be given lotion, anti-inflammatory cream, or ice packs to relieve any discomfort.
If you are ready to begin laser hair removal, call A Beautiful You Medical Spa or schedule your consultation online today to learn more.