Laser Hair Removal
and get smooth, hair-free skin forever!
Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal uses light emitted from a medical laser to stop hair growth. It’s based on the principle of light being attracted to and absorbed by the melanin (pigment) contained within the hair follicle. The light damages the hair follicle, gradually making it unable to regrow hair, which leads to permanent hair removal.
Once laser hair removal is complete, you won’t have to worry about shaving, waxing, or any other depilatory methods. You won’t have to spend time performing hair removal, and you won’t have to spend money buying razors and shaving cream, or getting waxing treatments at a salon.
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What Laser is Best for my
However, this guideline can be vague at times. For this reason, the Fitzpatrick scale (also called the Fitzpatrick skin typing test, or Fitzpatrick phototyping scale) was developed to determine whether a skin type is suitable for certain treatments, and to determine how a certain skin type may be handled.
The Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale
Coloring: Very white “porcelain” skin, usually with reddish undertones. Usually blonde or red hair, and light (blue or green) eyes.
Reaction to Sun Exposure: Always burns, never tans
Coloring: Cream-colored complexion with beige undertones. May have freckles and moles. Eye color ranges from light blues and greens to brown. Hair color may vary from light to dark.
Reaction to Sun Exposure: Always burns, sometimes tans
Coloring: Light tan, golden, olive. Wide range of eye and hair colors
Reaction to Sun Exposure: Sometimes burns, gradually tans
Coloring: Caramel, tanned or medium brown skin. Dark hair. Hazel or brown eyes
Reaction to Sun Exposure: Rarely burns, easily tans
Coloring: Black, espresso or mahogany skin. Dark eyes. Brown or black hair
Reaction to Sun Exposure: Rarely burns, always tans
Fotona SP Dynamis Nd:YAG Laser: This laser is suitable for the broadest range of skin types. Unlike other lasers, the SP Dynamis does not damage the skin thanks to its ability to emit light slowly. This slow light emission allows time for the light to become attracted by the melanin in the hair, while giving the skin a chance to cool off.
The light from the SP Dynamis laser is more easily absorbed by the hair, effectively removing unwanted hair without the adverse side effects many other hair removal devices cause in darker-skinned patients.
Common side effects, such as hyperpigmentation (spots of skin that become darker than the surrounding skin) and burns rarely occur with Nd:YAG lasers, especially the SP Dynamis.
Palomar StarLux® 500 IPL: This laser and pulsed light platform is indicated for several other uses, but when fitted with the LuxR™ Pulsed Light Handpiece, it is ideal for removing unwanted hair of all types. The device delivers intense pulsed light (IPL) at a specific wavelength to achieve permanent hair reduction and removal.
The StarLux® 500 includes the patented Advanced Contact Cooling™ system, which provides increased comfort during and after each session. This IPL hair removal method is ideal for those who have fairly light skin with dark hair.
Commonly Treated Areas
Women usually opt to treat the legs, arms, underarms, bikini line, Brazilian area, and the face. These areas are most popular as the presence of hair is often embarrassing and bothersome.
For men, the areas of choice include the back, chest and shoulders.
The only areas where laser hair removal is not recommended are inside the ears, inside the nose, and the eyebrows, in order to keep your eyes safe.
- All our medical aestheticians have undergone rigorous training and education in school, on the job, and with the manufacturers of each laser to ensure you receive effective and safe treatments.
- We are a surgical clinic as well, so we are accredited, and a member of several professional organizations.
- We are a physician-directed clinic, so our medical aestheticians and all procedures performed in our clinic are overseen by a doctor, further ensuring your safety.
- We use only top-of-the-line technology for laser hair removal, and all other procedures we offer. We have researched and chosen the best devices to make sure our patients receive the most satisfying results, and we upgrade our equipment on a regular basis.
Laser Hair Removal
How is Laser Hair Removal Performed?
We ask that you do not pluck, wax, or sugar for at least a few weeks before your laser hair removal treatment. This allows the hair follicle to remain intact for the procedure. Because the device uses light energy, you should also avoid tanning for weeks prior to your appointment. Pigment in the skin may adversely affect results.
Finally, avoid using skincare products that may make the skin more sensitive. For example hydroquinone, retinol, or salicylic acid. Properly preparing for laser hair removal will help you get better results.
During Your Treatment: Your medical aesthetician will first clean and prep the area to be treated. Next, the laser will be glided over your skin, releasing pulses of laser light. An automatic cooling system will remove heat from your skin's surface for the duration of the procedure to protect your skin and minimize discomfort.
You may still experience a bit of discomfort such as burning, or a sensation similar to being snapped by a rubber band. However, this discomfort is so minor that no anesthesia or pain medication is required. If you have particularly sensitive skin, though, we can apply a topical anesthetic.
After Your Treatment: You may see some redness and swelling on the surface of the skin, but this will soon dissipate. As with any treatment involving lasers, it is essential to protect the treated skin with sunscreen or clothing. Your medical aesthetician will go over other aftercare guidelines with you.
In the weeks following your appointment, you may still see some hair growing in the treated areas. This does not mean the treatment didn't work. Because the affected hair follicles are now lifeless, this is simply the body attempting to get rid of them. They will easily fall out.
It's important to remember that hair grows in cycles, and it's not possible to target all hair in all cycles during one laser hair removal treatment. Multiple treatment are usually required to obtain full, permanent hair removal. The number of treatments will depend on hair density, hair color, skin type, the size of the treatment area, and your individual hair growth cycle. Your aesthetician will discuss all of this with you during your consultation.
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How Laser Hair Removal Works
Regardless of those factors, though, body hair grows in three phases from follicles in the skin’s dermal layer, and the science of laser hair removal remains the same.
The Anagen Phase: Hair is actively growing from the follicle. Laser hair removal is effective on hair that is in the anagen phase, as this is when the follicle is richest in melanin.
The Catagen Phase: Follicles reduce in size, which stops hair growth.
The Telogen Phase: New hair growth begins pushing old hair out of the follicles, and the process begins all over again.
The amount of hair in the anagen phase at any given time varies, but is usually around 85%. Because not all follicles are always in the same growth phase, multiple laser hair removal treatments are necessary to target all the hair in all its growth phases.
Appointment Timing is Critical
For laser hair removal on the face, you must wait four to six weeks between sessions. For other body areas, the waiting period is usually six to eight weeks.
By sticking to a regular treatment schedule, you’ll see smooth, permanent results much more quickly.
Our Approach to Darker Skin
However, the melanin present in skin does the same thing. The high concentration of melanin in darker skin may absorb too much light, diverting it from the hair, making the removal process less effective. In addition, diverting the light from the hair can be harmful to the skin. The generation of heat may burn skin, causing discomfort, burning, blistering, scarring and skin discoloration. This is why, traditionally, laser hair removal has been more ideal for those with lighter skin.
However, taking some precautions can make the procedure just as effective for darker skin:
Wavelength: Melanin is absorbed by shorter wavelengths of laser light. By using slightly longer wavelengths, the laser light is able to surpass the melanin in skin and target the melanin in the hair shaft and follicle. This is one of the reasons we prefer to use an Nd:YAG laser for patients with darker skin.
Cooling: Because laser light works on hair by generating heat within the follicle to destroy it, this heat must be managed so it is effective where it needs to be, without being harmful where it doesn’t need to be. To manage this, we cool the skin before and after each laser hair removal treatment by applying a cool glide gel or other cooling devices. This is especially necessary on darker skin as the higher concentrations of melanin in darker skin tones will generate more heat when exposed to laser light.
Number of Treatments: To play it safe with darker skin tones, we conduct laser hair removal more gradually by using a lower intensity wavelength over a higher number of sessions. This destroys the hair follicle gradually, without harming the surrounding skin. As a result, more sessions may be needed for patients who have a darker complexion, but the treatments will be much safer.
Hair gets its color from one of two types of melanin: eumelanin or pheomelanin. Eumelanin creates black or brown hair, and is most responsive to laser light. Pheomelanin creates blonde or red hair, and does not respond well to laser light. Gray hair is simply a result of a lack of pigmentation, usually due to age or disease, or sometimes heredity.
Sometimes, there may be a combination of the two melanins in the hair. If your hair is any of these colors, your aesthetician will discuss other hair removal options with you.
If you have extremely sensitive skin, we recommend that you have a patch test done before committing to treatments in order to determine whether laser hair removal will be a viable option for you.
Sensitive skin may be treated in a similar fashion to darker skin, even if it’s not dark, in that more intense cooling methods, longer wavelengths, and more frequent sessions may be implemented.
A tattoo is created by permanently inserting high concentrations of pigment into the uppermost layer of skin. As with darker skin, this high concentration of pigment will absorb laser light, causing discomfort or burning, and may even ruin the tattoo. Furthermore, the damage to skin may make the skin unsuitable to further tattooing in that region. Remember, lasers are also used for tattoo removal.
Some patients who have had laser hair removal performed over tattoos claim to have experienced extreme discomfort, blistering, and sometimes infection. To avoid damage and negative side effects, we recommend not performing laser hair removal over a tattoo. But the procedure is safe to perform around it, provided the laser light makes no contact with the tattoo.
Fortunately, the reverse situation is not an issue. A tattoo can safely be applied to skin previously treated with laser hair removal, provided the treatment are complete, and that area of skin will not receive any further laser treatments.
Laser Hair Removal vs. Electrolysis
First electrolysis is extremely time-consuming. The procedure requires inserting an extremely thin electrode needle into each and every hair follicle. An electric shock is sent into the hair follicle, destroying the root of the hair.
Just as with laser treatments, the hair follicle will need to be in the growth phase in order for this to work and so multiple sessions may be required to treat each area, regardless of how small the area is. It’s a long, painstaking process.
However, electrolysis may be indicated for certain clients who do not meet the requirements for laser hair removal, or who may not respond well to it, such as patients with blonde, red or gray hair.
It may also be recommended for patients who wish to get permanent hair removal over a tattoo, as laser and IPL are not recommended over tattooed skin. It may also prove safer in areas where laser is particularly risky, such as the eyebrows. And some patients simply feel more comfortable with electrolysis over laser or IPL.
Laser Hair Removal
Question & Answer
When will I see results?
The results are cumulative, so after your first session, you will see the hair shed in a few days. With each subsequent treatment, you’ll see further reduction in hair growth.
Because each hair follicle will be in a different growth stage, you will see some hair return after a few weeks. Your next session will target the new hairs that are in the ideal growth cycle. This is why it’s so important to maintain a regular schedule of treatments until final results are acheived.
Is laser hair removal permanent?
You will never be able to remove 100% of the hairs in any treated area, but you will see significant reduction, and very slow regrowth, if any. Most patients will need a “touch-up” session once or twice a year to maintain carefree, smooth results.
Does laser hair removal work for everyone?
Treatments do not work on hair that is blonde, red or gray, due to the lack of melanin within the hair follicle. Alternative treatment, such as electrolysis, may be available.
Why can I only shave before my sessions?
The laser works by targeting the darker pigmentation of the hair in the hair follicle. If you wax prior to or in between laser treatments, you are removing the hair from the root, thereby removing what the laser requires in order to be effective.
We recommend shaving a day before your treatment. Shaving is recommended so that the laser doesn’t target hair above the skin, potentially causing burns. With a clean shave before your treatment, the lasers will be able to easily locate your hair follicles without wasting energy on hairs that have already grown out. You can leave a patch not shaved, then the aesthetician can see the result and improvment of your previous session.
Does laser hair removal hurt?
There are certain areas of the body that are more sensitive than others, such as the bikini area. These areas may be a bit uncomfortable during the treatment. A topical numbing cream can be applied beforehand. Treatments are usually quite tolerable on most other areas of the body.
To help reduce discomfort you can try shaving closer to your appointment time. The less hair on the surface, the less discomfort you will feel. Also, for women, if you are in your menstrual cycle, your sensitivity to pain in general may be increased. Booking your appointments when you are not on your period will help.
How long will a session take?
The length of each session depends on the size of the area to be treated. For tiny areas on the body, such as the upper lip or chin, sessions can be done in a matter of minutes. For larger areas, such as the back or legs, a session can take up to one hour. For patients who decide to treat their entire body all at once, this can take from two to three hours.
Can I get laser hair removal on my genital area?
Yes. You can have a full Brazilian laser treatment.
Which skin types are most suitable for laser hair treatment?
The SP Dynamis Nd:YAG laser we use is suitable for the broadest range of skin types. Whether pale with lighter hair, or dark skinned with dark hair, this laser hair removal device will work for you.
Are there any side effects?
Laser hair removal side effects may include redness and irritation in the treatment area. This typically subsides within a couple of days. A cooling gel or cream, along with the application of a cold compress, can alleviate this.
Are there any laser hair removal risks?
Because laser hair removal is non-invasive, the risks are minimal. Risks most often occur when patients do not prepare for laser hair removal, or follow post-procedure instructions. In these cases, the risks of scarring, burning, and hyperpigmentation increase.
At what age can I start having laser hair removal?
As long as parental consent is given, treatments can be performed on people under the age of 18.