If you’re tired of managing body hair, particularly when summer comes around, laser hair removal is really your only option for permanently removing it. Luckily, it is a very effective process. We’ve done an entire article answering the most commonly asked questions about laser hair removal and the benefits the process offered but we’ve heard many myths about the subject that we thought we should debunk.
Despite what many people picture when they hear laser hair removal, it’s not the white-knuckled, painful experience that you may be expecting. The lasers essentially release energy into the skin and the melanin in the hair follicles absorbs the energy and the hair follicle is destroyed as a result, which is one reason why darker pigmented hair absorbs the energy best. If you’re considering this route of hair removal, here are the real facts.
Unfortunately, this is not an all-in-one process for one main reason: At any given time, only a percentage of hair follicles are active. The rest are in a dormant resting state. Body hair grows, then falls out, then regrows and the lasers can only work on actively growing hair. The normal hair growth cycle takes about a month to regenerate, which is why these appointments are generally set about a month apart. Most people require between 3-6 treatments spread out over several months.
While it’s certainly understandable to want your hair removed in preparation for summer, getting it done right before or during the warmer months is not a good idea. After treatment, you should strictly avoid the sun and apply SPF daily to prevent dark spots. Your doctor will give you specific guidelines on how long to stay out of the sun but the best time to get laser hair removal is in the winter when you’ll have less exposure to the sun.
It actually depends upon your skin and hair colors that will determine if you are a good candidate for laser hair removal. The best candidate has high contrast between the two: dark hair on light skin is far easier to treat than light hair on light skin or dark hair on dark skin. Unfortunately, considering the functionality of the lasers currently used for laser hair removal, people with darker skin or fair hair should really consult with a doctor about what would be best for them.
While the laser devices that are used for laser hair removal are constantly being improved to be less painful and more effective, we aren’t going to lie and say that laser hair removal is a completely painless procedure for every individual. You should expect it to hurt a little. We generally like to apply topical numbing medications before starting in order to improve our patient’s comfort.
Even once you are done with the entire process, some hairs may still grow back or new hairs may grow where there weren’t any before. You can manage this with annual or every other year touch ups, although it’s common for patients to never undergo the procedure again because of the high success rate.
While there are some less severe at-home options now on the market, they can certainly not compare to professional treatments. They are generally underpowered and not made for all skin types so patients with darker skin are not warned that the wavelength can cause hyperpigmentation and permanent scarring. This a problem we see often and cannot stress enough that this process should be left to the professionals.
When considering laser hair removal, it’s important that you look for a doctor you can trust who will have knowledge on your specific case including how many sessions you’ll need, how much it’ll cost, and how effective it’ll be for your hair and skin pigmentation. It’s extremely important that you seek out a doctor who understands the physics and science behind these lasers and who is able to treat more sensitive areas of the skin like that on the face, neck, and genitals.
Contact Virginia Surgical Arts today to learn more about laser hair removal with Dr. Vendetti. Our state-of-the-art surgical facility is located in Virginia Beach and offers a full selection of award-winning facial cosmetic surgery, professional skin care, and oral surgery services.