Welcome to the Coastal Laser and Aesthetics blog! Here, you’ll find articles about laser treatments, skin rejuvenation, body contouring technologies, wellness and beauty tips, and more. We are committed to providing high quality results using non-surgical cosmetic procedures. Our goal is to help you achieve refreshed, healthy skin and optimal health. Most of our procedures are quick, with minimal downtime and side-effects. We understand the confidence boost glowing skin can impart and hope to give you the benefit of both!
Today, we’re answering the most common questions asked about laser hair removal treatments. We carry numerous laser treatment services at Coastal Laser and Aesthetics, with hair removal being one of our most popular. If you’re curious about how laser hair removal works to prevent hair growth, how you should prepare for your upcoming appointment, and much more, this article is for you!
How does laser hair removal treatment work?
Laser hair removal treatment involves the use of a laser to target hair-growth follicles within the skin. This is done by pulsating emissions of a small, powerful light at a wavelength between 590 and 1200 nm (which stands for nanometer). This light is absorbed by the pigment (i.e. melanin) in the hair strand and converted into heat. Through a process known as thermolysis, heat damages the bulb from which the hair grows and prevents further hair growth. This process rarely, if ever, results in permanent hair loss. Regular maintenance treatment will be needed to keep hair from returning. However, when the hair does grow back, it is likely to be thinner and lighter.
Is laser hair removal safe?
For the most part, laser hair removal is safe and does not cause any long term side effects. Short term side effects can occur and these include redness, swelling, and irritation at the site of the treatment. The side effects should wear off within a few hours and you can apply an ice pack to the area to reduce any discomfort.
Laser hair removal is not recommended for pregnant individuals. There are currently no scientific studies which prove laser hair removal treatments are safe for unborn babies. If you are experiencing excess hair growth during your pregnancy, chances are this hair will fall out after your pregnancy.
Is it normal for skin to change color after a laser hair removal treatment?
Yes. Individuals with lighter skin may experience darkening at the treatment site, while individuals with darker skin may experience lightening at the treatment site. These pigmentation changes are temporary. Traditionally, laser hair treatment has worked best on individuals with lighter skin tones and dark hair. Thick, coarse hair has also performed better than thin, fine hair. Coastal Laser and Aesthetics has multiple laser hair removal treatment strategies for a range of skin tones, hair thickness, and hair color to provide ideal results.
Where can I receive laser hair removal treatment?
You can receive laser hair removal treatment almost anywhere on your body. The only area of your body which cannot be subjected to a hair removal laser is the eye and surrounding areas, as the skin is thin and there is a chance of ocular damage. Thus, you can receive laser hair removal on your back and chest (these areas are particularly popular among men). The abdomen is an approved area and popular with those who have a “happy trail” leading down to their intimate area. Speaking of intimates, the bikini area is frequently a place women request laser hair removal. A full Brazilian is possible and laser hair removal can be performed on the buttocks as well. Other areas where laser hair removal is possible are: the face, knuckles, feet, legs, and underarms.
How painful is laser hair removal?
Less painful than waxing! More painful than depilatory creams or shaving. Thin areas such as the armpits and the bikini line are more sensitive to the laser and more likely to be painful. The pain is akin to a pinch or slight sting. Many laser systems have built-in cooling mechanisms for patient comfort. The laser will be more readily absorbed by those with darker hair and more melanin in their skin. A topical anesthetic can be applied by your technician to reduce discomfort.
How long does laser hair removal treatment take to be effective?
A series of sessions is needed to achieve hairlessness in a particular area. Every session is likely to reduce hair by around ten percent, but the hair can take time to shed completely. Within two to six treatments (six to ten for slower growth areas), you’re likely to reach the maintenance state (where your hair is nearly or completely gone and infrequent treatments are required to maintain hairlessness). Since laser hair removal treatment is most effective when hair is in the growth stage, where hair grows quicker, the time between treatments will be shorter (ex. one to two months). Likewise, where the hair grows slower, the time between treatments will be longer (ex. four to six months).
Are at-home laser hair removal devices effective/safe?
As of yet, there have not been any scientific studies (by unbiased parties and to a peer-reviewed standard) on the efficacy of at-home laser hair removal devices. Though these devices may claim to work at the same level as professional lasers, their capabilities are not matched in terms of intensity. Therefore, it is unlikely you will be able to achieve similar results using an at-home laser hair removal device. And, if you were to obtain a professional grade laser, it is highly unadvised for anyone with medical training or a license to operate devices such as these. Untrained individuals could burn themselves or alter the appearance of their skin in ways which were not intended.
How long does a laser hair removal session last?
The length of an individual treatment session depends on the size of the area being covered. For a single armpit, the treatment may take only five minutes, while an entire back requires over an hour.
How do I prepare for a laser hair removal appointment?
First, schedule a consultation with the licensed individual who will be conducting your treatment. During this meeting, you should share your medical history, including past or current skin conditions and procedures. You can express any specific concerns you may have about the treatment and your ideal outcome, as well. Your technician may ask to take a before photo for assessment purposes, which you may decline if you are uncomfortable with the idea.
You will then be given clear instructions on pre- and post-treatment behavior. These instructions may include staying out of the sun, wearing SPF, avoiding waxing or other hair removal methods, avoiding medications which thin the blood, and potentially trimming the treatment area. As well, it is not advised to tan or apply tanning lotions, both of which change the appearance of your skin leading up to a laser hair removal treatment and can increase the likelihood of adverse side effects.
Be sure to wash off any lotion, deodorant, sunscreen or makeup before your appointment. These substances can interfere with the laser’s ability to accurately penetrate the hair follicle. If you change any medications or start any medications before your appointment, be sure to inform your laser provider!
Why would I trim the treatment area when the laser requires hair to be effective?
A doctor or licensed individual may suggest trimming the treatment area a day or two in advance of the procedure. This is because excessively long hair more readily absorbs the heat from the laser and can burn. Short, manageable hairs are preferred to longer, unruly growth. The hair shaft and bulb, which are seated below the surface of the skin, are still available.
Coastal Laser and Aesthetics provides free consultations wherein you can discuss any further questions or concerns you may have. Our professionals are eager to speak with you, as our individual approach to patient care means prioritizing your wants and needs. We will never seek to change your appearance or sell you a service you do not want. Instead, we aim to enhance your natural beauty and leave you feeling seen and heard. Reach out to schedule your consultation today! For more information on our various services and to view before and after pictures, explore our website! We have an entire section dedicated to reviews, because we value our patients’ experiences with us, and we encourage you to check those out as well! Until next time, thank you for reading!