People of all ages are looking for an easy solution for unwanted hair on the legs, underarms, bikini area, and even the back, chest and face.
However, traditional methods of hair removal such as shaving, plucking, and waxing are only temporary and often result in scarring and ingrown hairs, not to mention the need for frequent upkeep. Electrolysis is effective, but is painful and requires years of treatment.
Laser Hair Removal: A Permanent Solution to Unwanted Hair
Current laser technology allows us to reduce unwanted body hair quickly and effectively. Using state of the art lasers, one “pulse” of the laser can destroy a large number of hair follicles.
The first FDA-approved laser hair removal system was released in 1997. Many other laser systems have entered the market since then. Our system is unique because it offers a patented cooling device to make laser hair removal treatment more comfortable and relatively painless.
An Overview of Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a safe, effective dermatologic procedure. The hair follicle is damaged by the laser’s heat, resulting in an inability to grow.
Hair follicles grow in cycles. At any given point, they are either in the “active” or “dormant” phase. The laser can treat any “active” follicle even if it hasn’t reached the surface of the skin. At any given time, ten percent or more of the person’s hair follicles may be in the dormant phase. Therefore, several sessions are necessary for permanent hair reduction.
Treatment Time & Results
The length of the procedure depends on the size of the treatment area. The most commonly treated areas are the upper lip, chin, axilla (underarm), legs, sideburns, bikini line and back. A small area, such as the upper lip, can be treated in as little as two minutes. A larger area, such as the back, may require up to an hour.
The patient will wear protective goggles during the procedure. The laser operator uses a small hand-piece to deliver treatment. The laser is equipped with a cooling device that sprays an anesthetic coolant (cryogen) on the skin just before the laser pulse is delivered.
Because hair grows in cycles, follow-up sessions may be necessary. Sessions should be scheduled at 6-8 week intervals and gradually increase to 8-12 weeks apart.
Laser Hair Removal FAQ
Because laser hair removal is such a popular procedure, almost everyone knows someone who has had this treatment done with varying results. For this reason, many patients are skeptical of laser hair removal treatments having heard that it “doesn’t work,” and “isn’t worth the cost.” However, what patients learn is that laser hair removal at laser treatment centers or medical spas may not work as well as those performed in a dermatology practice under the supervision of a board-certified dermatologist. Additionally, certain safety measures may not be adequately followed in a medical spa. Seeing a laser specialist in a dermatology practice ensures the best quality and safety during your treatment series.
To find out if you’re a good candidate and get your questions answered, it’s best to schedule a consultation with our team. Until your appointment, however, here’s some helpful FAQs about laser hair removal.
How do I prepare my skin for laser hair removal treatments?
- Shave hair on the area to be treated the day of treatment or day before (for face, shave the same day)
- Avoid creams, perfumes or false tans
- Make sure all fake tan color is washed away completely
- Avoid all steroids and retinoids on the area to be treated
- Tell us about all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you’re taking prior to treatment
How do I prepare for my very first session?
Shaving the day before or just prior to your first treatment is highly recommended. However, you should be aware of the following:
- Shave the day of or day before your initial laser hair removal treatment
- Do not wax or pluck hair; do not use hair removal lotions or creams
- Please make us aware of any tattoos that are in the treated area. Those cannot be treated with the laser and will be covered to avoid damage to the tattoo.
How does laser hair removal work?
The root of the hair, or hair follicle, is heated to 45 degrees with the laser to damage and destroy the follicle so that it can no longer produce new hair growth.
Is laser hair removal suitable for my skin type?
Our Soprano Ice laser hair removal system is suitable for all skin types, however darker skin types may require more treatments than lighter skin types in order to achieve similar results. We can go over this during your initial consultation.
Can anyone be treated with laser hair removal?
Not everyone is a good candidate for laser hair removal, and we advise that any patient with the following contraindications not be treated:
- Cancer, specifically skin cancer
- Pregnant Women
- Active herpes lesion in the area to be treated
- Personal history of keloids
- Patients with insulin dependent diabetes
- Patients with excessively dry, fragile skin in the area to be treated
- Patients who are on anticoagulant therapy
- Epilepsy patients
Is laser hair removal safe?
Laser hair removal is very safe, being one of the most well-known and researched uses for lasers in dermatology. Our Soprano Ice system has been proven safe and effective for permanent hair reduction. Thousands of patients worldwide have been effectively and safely treated for unwanted hair using Soprano Ice. With its low-heat settings and In-Motion™ technology, Soprano Ice provides a level of safety that can’t be matched by any other laser hair removal system currently on the market.
What is Anagen Hair?
There are three cycles of hair growth: Anagen, Categen and Telogen.
Only anagen hair, the active or growing hair attached to the blood supply in the follicle, can be effectively treated with laser hair removal.
Does laser hair removal hurt?
With Soprano Ice, most patients describe the sensation as a “warm stone massage.” Soprano Ice is one of the few laser hair removal systems where patients don’t usually require a topical numbing cream; however, this depends on hair thickness and skin type. Compared to other systems, Soprano Ice is the most comfortable laser hair removal treatment technology.
What should I expect after my laser hair removal treatment?
Your skin will likely be red after treatment, but this is temporary and should subside within 2-4 hours. The hair will still be present as the laser destroys the hair follicle, but doesn’t extract the hair. This is because your body’s natural processes will slowly push out the hair within 10-14 days. We urge you not to try to pull the hair out or force it to fall out in any way. Instead, we encourage you to shave the area for a smooth look until the hair falls out on its own.
How long does laser hair removal last?
We recommend that patients return once per year for touch-up treatments after the initial series is completed. Some of your hair will grow back, but it will be a reduced amount and/or finer hair than your previous texture prior to laser hair removal treatments.
There is no laser hair removal system that can permanently remove all unwanted hair as certain hair follicles may not have been producing hair during your initial treatment series. When these become active again, you will notice hair growth in the treated area. Yearly touch-up sessions can help reduce these occurrences.
How many treatment sessions will I need?
We recommend a minimum of 4-6 treatments in a single series, spaced out 6-8 weeks apart initially. After a time, we will gradually increase the space between each treatment session, usually to about 8-12 weeks apart toward the end of your series. However, it’s important to note that these recommendations will vary from patient to patient and the area being treated as hair growth in different areas of the body is different than others. For example, hair is finer on the legs, but much coarser in the bikini area.
How long do treatments take?
On average, laser hair removal treatment sessions last:
- 5-15 minutes for smaller areas, such as the face and underarms
- 30 minutes for medium-sized areas, like the bikini line or arms
- 1-1.5 hours for larger areas, such as the legs, back or chest
Can large areas be treated in a single session?
Large areas, taking about 30-60 minutes or a little longer can be treated in a single session. Remember, though, that repeated treatments are required to experience the full effect.
How should I remove hair in between my treatments?
Shaving is the only recommended hair removal method in between laser hair removal treatments. Do not pluck, wax or undergo electrolysis in between laser treatments as this could have a negative impact on your treatment plan.
Will my hair grow back after laser hair removal?
The follicles that were damaged and destroyed during your laser hair removal treatments will never regrow hair. However, follicles do lie dormant. Any follicles that were dormant during your treatments could start growing hair at any time. In those cases, you would need more laser hair removal treatments to destroy those hair follicles as well.
Will laser hair removal work on blond, red or fine hair?
We cannot guarantee that our laser hair removal system, or any laser hair removal technology, can effectively remove light or fine hair. However, we can run a patch test in our office to determine if the laser will work for you.
Where can I learn more about laser hair removal?
The best way to learn more about laser hair removal and whether or not you’re a good candidate is to schedule a consultation at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana. We will answer all of your questions and help you determine if this is a good option for your needs.