Let me ask you a question: how many different hair removal methods have you tried? You probably started out shaving, maybe tweezed your eyebrows here and there, then waxing became your go-to. Maybe you jumped on the bandwagon of sugaring or epilating to get rid of the unwanted hair. Did you know that the average woman will spend an estimated $10,000 to $23,000 and 482 to 1,402 hours over a lifetime shaving and waxing? If these insane statistics don’t drive you to laser hair removal, maybe this guide will.
Laser hair removal is a simple, non-invasive treatment. Hair growth occurs in three stages and not every hair follicle goes through each stage at the same time and speed. During the first stage, the hair follicle is susceptible to light energy so the laser is able to damage the root, causing hair to be unable to grow from that root.
Laser hair removal is a process; it will take several sessions scheduled 4-6 weeks apart to be completely effective, due to the hair growth cycle.
What makes laser hair removal the perfect solution to achieving smooth, hairless skin? Consider these basic benefits:
Not too many people will say that waxing and tweezing are painless hair removal options; they can leave behind unwanted bruising and rashes in sensitive areas. And while shaving seems pain-free, it can result in painful bumps and razor burn; plus the overall ineffectiveness of this method means you’re doing it more often. Have you ever tried shaving over razor bumps? Definitely not painful.
Laser hair removal is considered by most patients to be painless. It can cause a slight tingling, stinging, and some post-session soreness, but the overall discomfort is short-lived and can be easily addressed during your treatment with topical anesthesia.
Remember those outrageous numbers from earlier in this article? You’re spending that much time and money on shaving and waxing throughout your life whereas, in contrast, laser hair removal costs about $3,000 over a lifetime and consumes only around 12 hours of your time. Need we say more?
Whether you’ve tried many different products to halt hair growth or you’ve committed to shaving as often as every single day, these solutions just don’t offer the longevity that laser hair removal does. You’ll see long-lasting results for way less time and money.
The light energy from the laser is best absorbed by pigment or color in the hair which is why people with dark hair are the prime candidates for laser hair removal. When laser hair removal was first discovered, it was most effective on lighter skin that grew darker hair but due to the technological advancements in the years since, it has yielded results for darker skin as well. With that being said, laser hair removal is not ideal for blonde, gray, red, or white hair.
It’s important to consider timing before you start treatment. It will take several months to complete and you’ll want to avoid sun exposure as much as possible as you undergo treatment. This makes fall and winter the best times to receive laser hair removal.
If you are taking any prescription medications, you should be sure to discuss them during your pre-treatment consultation. Medications that leave your body more photosensitive – including antibiotics which can make your skin especially sensitive to laser exposure and can cause pigmentation abnormalities or even blisters and burns. Because your skin can react negatively to laser treatment if you are on medications with certain chemical compounds in them, you should absolutely discuss this with your technician who will probably ask that you stop the medication at least a week before treatment.
Achieving long-term results takes multiple sessions. Why? Because when hair follicles reach the second and third stages of growth, they are immune to light energy. They are only susceptible to laser hair removal during the first stage. Unfortunately, not all hair follicles are in the same growth stage at any given time, only about 20% of follicles are at any time. Multiple sessions will help ensure that all hair follicles are exposed to the laser during the first stage of growth at some point.
You will notice after each session that less and less hair grows. That is because every hair root that is successfully treated will no longer produce hair. Over time, however, new hair can grow in previously treated areas due to hormonal changes or dormant hair roots becoming active once again. Which leads us to our next question…
There are several measures you can take to prolong your results. During your treatment period, exfoliate and shave the area every few weeks to encourage hair growth. The healthier and more active the hair follicle, the easier it is for the laser to target it when you go for your next session. Pay attention to what areas you are still seeing fast hair growth and communicate this with your technician on your next visit. Although we encourage shaving, we highly recommend you avoid tweezing, threading, bleaching, and waxing your treatment areas even in the weeks between sessions.
Even after your treatment ends, there are a few measures you can take to ensure you have the most long-lasting results. If you take a hair, skin, and nails supplement like Biotin, you might want to stop during and after treatment. These stimulate hair growth not only on your head but all over your body so they might undermine the results you’ve just worked so hard to achieve. Consider taking Omega 3 Fish Oils or Zinc which support healthy cell regeneration and inner hydration, the same benefits you’d be getting from medications that stimulate new hair growth.
In a similar vein, if you take birth control or other prescriptions that inject hormones into your body, you may want to consider asking your doctor about the potential side effect of hair growth. Now, we would never encourage you to abstain from taking medication that is necessary for your health simply because it could interfere with your laser hair removal. But if this is an option or your switching treatment plans, you may want to consider consulting your doctor about it.
The best thing you can do for yourself when undergoing this treatment is to choose an experienced practitioner. Virginia Surgical Arts technicians are experts in their field and will assist you every step of the way through this treatment option. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.