A GUIDE TO LASER HAIR REMOVAL
How do I prepare for Laser hair removal?
Pre Treatment Checklist:
- No sun exposure
- No cosmetic spray tanning
- No lotion, make up, perfume etc.
- No Jewellery to be worn during treatment
- Area to be treated must be shaved within 4 hours prior to treatment
- No waxing/tweezing 4 weeks prior to treatment
- Pigment blocking serum used 2 weeks prior – for clients with darker skin type or prone to hyperpigmentation
Post Treatment Checklist:
- In the event of post-treatment discomfort apply cold packs to treated area.
- Avoid excess body heat, ie gym, heavy exercise, hot baths
- Apply sunscreen minimum (SPF 30+)
- Protect the treated area from sun exposure for 4-6 weeks after treatment. This includes solariums. Sun exposure after treatment may cause hyperpigmentation.
- Avoid spray tanning for 48 hours
- Avoid chlorine environments, including pools and spas for 48 hours.
- Do not pick at any abrasions,
- No other Laser/IPL treatment can be performed on the area for at least 21 days following treatment.
- Contact your treatment technician if you have any concerns or questions.
How does Laser hair removal work?
It is important to understand the hair growth cycle in order to have realistic expectations regarding your Laser treatment for hair removal.
The normal hair cycle is comprised of three stages:
Active growth: Anagen
Long term hair removal has to affect hair in the active cycle of its growth, namely the anagen stage. Since the growth cycle differs between body areas, each body area requires retreatment at different time intervals to achieve maximum results. For example, over 65% of facial hair is in the anagen stage at any given time, whilst only 20% of the hair on the legs is at the same stage. This means that a long-term result cannot be expected from just one or two treatments. Moreover, the duration of the resting period for hair follicles also depends on the body area. There are also variations depending on gender, age, ethnic origin, and hormonal status between individuals and these factors may also affect the results.
Permanent hair reduction means that when a follicle is thermally destroyed it is not able to grow a terminal hair again. Because there are many millions of follicles that can potentially grow on the body, it is not realistic to expect that every single follicle in the treatment area will be disabled. Over several treatments with appropriate intervals, most of the follicles that cycle through hair growth will be affected by the laser procedure and will be critically injured so they are permanently disabled. The follicles that are dormant or of vellus hairs are not affected during these treatments.
It is important to remember that the body can convert these inactive or dormant follicles to grow later in life as a result of many factors: hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, menopause, obesity, disease or medications. This is why there can be no guarantees or promises that “all hair will be gone forever.
Am I a candidate for laser hair removal?
The ideal candidate for laser hair removal will have dark hair and pale skin, the greater the contrast between the colour of the hair and the skin, the greater the result. Laser hair removal works by targeting the pigment (colour) in the hair, this acts as a conductor to absorb the energy from the laser which then travels down the hair shaft until reaching the point where destruction of the hair follicle takes place.
Darker skin types may be treated but will absorb more laser energy into surrounding skin rather than the desired hair, decreasing the procedures efficacy whilst increasing the risk of retaining heat in the skin, potentially leading to adverse effects.
Blonde, grey and red hair colours cannot be treated successfully due to their lack of pigment, this means they cannot absorb laser energy. Finer hairs may be treated so long as enough pigment is present in the hair, although clients with dense hair will often benefit from a more efficacious treatment.
What are the possible side effects of Laser hair removal?
Although these effects are rare and expected to be temporary, any adverse reaction should be reported to your treatment technician immediately. Side effects may appear at the time of treatment or shortly after. These side effects may include:
- Excessive redness and/or swelling
- Damage to natural skin texture, such as crust, blister, burn, scarring.
- Change of pigmentation
How long does Laser hair removal take?
The number of required treatments depends on the hair growth cycle, hair colour and depth. The average number of sessions for dark and coarse hair under normal conditions is 6-10.
Usual intervals for the first 3-4 sessions are 21-28 days, increasing the intervals as treatment progresses.
Touch up treatment sessions may be needed for sporadic new hair growth in the future.