Wanting a permanent way to remove unwanted hair isn’t a new idea. Laser hair removal was invented in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman, and the technology has advanced rapidly since the invention. At Allure Enhancement Center in Lafayette, LA, we use lasers for hair removal that are highly advanced, comfortable, efficient and effective. Here’s what to expect before and during a treatment session.
What Happens During a Hair Removal Session?
During a laser treatment session to remove unwanted hair, the treatment area is cleansed and a topical anesthetic is applied. Then, the laser is calibrated to your skin tone and the color of your hair. There are several advantages to this. First, lasers calibrated specifically to each individual remove more unwanted hairs in the targeted area. Second, the risk of burning the skin is mitigated.
Once the laser has warmed up to the appropriate temperature, it will administer short bursts of laser light energy. Each burst lasts less than a second but can treat an area the size of a quarter. When the energy emitted by the laser hits the targeted hair follicles, the hair follicles absorb the energy, burning so they can no longer grow hair. Once the laser has emitted energy to all the hair follicles in the active growth phase, the treatment is over.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
The length of your treatment session depends on the size of the areas being targeted and how many areas are being targeted in a given session. If you are only trying to remove unwanted hair from your underarms, the laser will only be in use for around five minutes. Contrastingly, if you are trying to treat your lower and upper legs in a single session, you may be looking at closer to a 30-minute session.
How Many Sessions Will I Need To Achieve My Ideal Results?
During your initial consultation, we will assess the texture and color of your hair to determine how many sessions you will probably need. Most clients only need two to four sessions to achieve hairless skin. However, certain skin and hair color combinations are not as conducive to treatment as others. If you have pale skin and blonde, gray or red hair, you may need a couple more treatments than someone with fair skin and darker hair.
Is Treatment Painful?
Treatment with our highly advanced lasers is not painful at all. Older models of lasers would burn the skin and hurt very much for an extended period of time. Today, not only are the lasers more comfortable, but we start the treatment by applying a topical numbing cream to ensure you don’t feel anything on the surface of your skin.
However, many people find that they feel rejuvenated and refreshed after their laser treatment sessions because the warmth from the laser penetrates all the way down to the muscles beneath the deepest layers of skin. Therefore, treatment can be compared to a hot stone massage that simultaneously relaxes and invigorates.
Which Areas Can Be Treated?
One of the most compelling benefits of hair removal with our incredibly advanced lasers is the safety of the treatment. These lasers can be used to remove hair from just about anywhere. Women most commonly target the face, underarms bikini region, lower legs and back for removing unwanted hair with our lasers. Men tend to target the back, chest and arms.
Is it Really Safe to Remove Hair From My Face?
Yes. It really is safe to use highly advanced lasers to remove unwanted hair from your face and chin. Regardless of which regions of your body you’re targeting for hair removal, you will be provided with eye protection designed specifically to protect your eyes from the laser light. As long as you are a good candidate for treatment, there is nothing unsafe about treating your face, chin or neck.
Are There Any Areas That Can’t Be Treated?
Yes. There are three regions of your body that the FDA does not recommend this treatment for. The first region the FDA does not recommend is the eyebrows. This means that if you have a unibrow, you will need to continue waxing or plucking individual hairs. The other two regions not recommended for treatment by the FDA are the upper cheeks and temples.
How Does Treatment Work?
Laser hair removal works by calibrating an FDA-approved laser to the tone of your skin and the color of your hair. Once the device is calibrated, the laser seeks out the darker color of your hair follicles in the anagen phase of growth and “zaps” them with a high concentration of light energy. This light energy burns the hair follicle, damaging it so it can no longer grow hair.
What Is the Anagen Phase of the Hair Growth Cycle?
The anagen phase is the first phase in the hair growth cycle. There are approximately 5 million hair follicles on your body, and at any given time, approximately 4 to 4.5 million follicles are in the anagen phase. This phase of the hair growth cycle can last anywhere from two to seven years depending on your genetics. During this time, without maintenance, your hair can grow anywhere from 18 to 30 inches.
What Happens After the Anagen Phase?
The second phase in the hair growth cycle is the catagen phase, also known as the transitional phase. During this phase, which lasts only two to three weeks, hair growth ceases and your hairs detach themselves from the blood supply. Your hair then transitions into the third and final phase of the hair growth cycle. This final phase is known as the telogen phase, although some people call it the shedding phase.
This phase lasts for approximately three months and involves the hairs that just came out of the catagen phase falling out so new hair can push through the follicle. It is perfectly normal for 50 to 100 hairs to fall out every day. Since millions of hair follicles are in the anagen phase at any given time, you probably don’t even notice except for the hairs on your head shedding onto your hairbrush.
How Long Do the Results of Treatment Last?
Unlike alternative methods for removing unwanted hair, like waxing, tweezing, plucking or shaving, using the heat emitted from laser light energy to remove unwanted hair is considered permanent. Once the hair follicles are destroyed, they are no longer able to grow new hair.
However, there is an important caveat to this. Hormonal changes, weight gain and other changes to your body can encourage new hair growth. If you are unable to prevent drastic, rapid weight gain or do not seek hormone replacement therapy when hormonal imbalances occur, you run the risk of needing a follow-up appointment.
Am I the Ideal Candidate for Treatment?
You may be the ideal candidate for this treatment if you have pale skin and coarse, dark hair. The best candidate for this treatment has dark, coarse hair and pale skin because the contrast is so great that it is easy for the laser to pick out the actively growing hairs. If you have dark hair and a dark complexion, you can still be considered a good candidate. However, it is harder for the laser to distinguish between the hair and the skin.
Similarly, if you have pale skin and fair skin, you may require more treatments for the removal of unwanted hair. Again, this is perfectly safe, it’s just possible that you will need an extra session or two to achieve your desired results.
Who Isn’t the Ideal Candidate for This Type of Treatment?
Individuals who have fair hair and pale skin or dark hair and dark skin are not the ideal candidates for this type of treatment. Treatment will still be safe, but lasers are not yet advanced enough to target such small differences in color yet. Therefore, more sessions may be required to achieve ideal results. Furthermore, this treatment is not recommended for individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
There is not enough research to make a claim regarding whether this treatment is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. For the safety of your fetus or infant, hold off on this treatment until you have given birth and are not breastfeeding.
How Should I Prepare for Treatment?
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for your treatment is to bathe on the morning of your scheduled session. Wash your body with a gentle body wash and wash your face with a gentle face wash. Use products that you know are easy on your skin; this is not the time to experiment with the soap your mom gave you to try that may irritate your skin.
You should not do anything else to your skin, besides shaving, before treatment. This means that you should not wear makeup, lotion, oil, roll-on fragrances or creams to your treatment session. If you wear cosmetics to your appointment, they will be removed.
Another crucial step in preparing for your treatment is to shave the treatment area. To mitigate the risk of irritation, shave the treatment area within 24 hours of your scheduled appointment. If you don’t shave the treatment area within the 24 hours leading up to your appointment, we will have to. Do not attempt any other hair removal method, such as waxing, tweezing or epilation. Such methods of removing unwanted hairs create a risk of irritation.
Avoid Certain Topical Products
In the 72 hours leading up to your scheduled appointment, do not use any topical products that may, or will, cause photosensitivity. For example, you should avoid receiving a chemical peel as chemical peels may contain such acids as salicylic acids or hydroxy acids. You should also avoid using acne medication that contains retinol (vitamin A). Furthermore, you should avoid using benzoyl peroxide, another ingredient commonly found in acne medications.
Avoid Unnecessary UV Exposure
It is absolutely crucial that you minimize UV exposure in the two weeks leading up to your treatment session. Avoid tanning beds during this period, and be prepared to avoid tanning beds for two weeks after your treatment. You should also protect your skin in the weeks leading up to your treatment by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30. Rain or shine, apply your sunscreen before you go outside and reapply regularly.
Learn More About How To Remove Unwanted Hair Today
Between 1960 and 1982, laser hair removal wasn’t very safe, comfortable or effective. Today, you can come in during your lunch break, be administered a topical anesthetic and sit back and relax while a laser that is calibrated to your skin tone and hair color burns hair follicles that are in the anagen phase. After your 30-minute laser session, you may return to work. Contact us today at Allure Enhancement Center in Lafayette, LA to schedule an appointment and learn more.