The Science of Laser Hair Removal

Written by Virginia Surgical Arts on .

The Science of Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal or “photoepilation” is a proven form of hair removal based on many years of clinical experience, research into properties of laser light, follicle growth and phases, and millions of procedures in medical clinics, spas & office locations around the world.

Laser hair removal is the use of laser energy to produce long-term hair reduction. The heat from the light of the laser is absorbed by the pigment, or melanin, in the hair. That heat then triggers inflammation in the hair follicle, which causes the follicle to go into its resting (telogen) phase. While resting, the follicle produces no hair.

A Series of Treatments Needed?

Laser hair removal is accomplished in a series of sessions generally done monthly or every other month. The average number of sessions to achieve over 80 percent permanent hair reduction in 80-90 percent of good candidates is approximately 4 to 6 sessions.  Good rule of thumb to follow is on average, people need a minimum of 3 treatments for optimal results. Most people do not require more than six treatments, although people with hormonal imbalances or people who normally wax or pluck a lot may require more sessions.
In between these monthly sessions some of the hair will regrow. Hairs that may have been dormant during your previous laser hair removal session may now be in the growth phase. This is where the need for multiple treatment sessions arises. Multiple sessions ensures that all the hairs are subjected to the treatment. These hairs may be shaved by the patient between sessions if desired.

Comfort Varies Among Individuals

The discomfort associated with laser hair removal varies considerably among individuals. How much discomfort you’ll feel will depend not only on such factors as your skin type, the thickness and density of your hair, and the area of your body being treated, but also on your ability to tolerate or feel pain. Although it rarely occurs, a small number of patients find that they are unable to undergo laser hair removal treatments due to their low threshhold for pain.

Because laser light produces heat, you’ll feel some kind of sensation during your hair removal treatment. In addition, hair follicles are surrounded by nerve endings, which may react to the heat by creating a sensation of discomfort or even mild pain. Patients often compare the sensation to having a rubber band snapped against their skin. Certain areas of the body hurt more than others during laser hair removal. In addition, patients with very thick, dark hair may experience more discomfort than those with thin or light-colored hair. This is because thicker, darker hair absorbs more of the laser light during treatment. Generally, the hair becomes thinner and less dense after each subsequent treatment. That’s why the most discomfort is usually experienced during the first treatment.  In some situations, a numbing cream can be used to minimize the discomfort.

Risk is Rather Small

Any laser procedure can cause scarring, and this is included as a risk on most consent forms you will sign prior to laser treatment. However, the risk of scarring from laser hair removal is rather small and is a function of many things including:

  • The experience, skill, knowledge and training of the laser operator
  • Your particular ability to heal
  • The amount of melanin pigment in your skin with greater risk for darker skin types
  • Type of laser used

At Virginia Surgical Arts, we are commited to providing our partients with the safest and most effective lasers on the market. If you are considering laser hair removal, allow us the opportunity to provide you with a free consultation to address any questions or concerns you might have. At Virginia Surgical Arts, we are equipped with an on site Medical Director and a Licensed Master Aesthetician who has mastered and trained with over 10 different lasers.  Call today!  (757) 430-7690.


Written By Virginia Surgical Arts

Our oral and cosmetic surgery facility in Virginia Beach serves all of Hampton Roads and offers oral/facial reconstruction, bone grafting, and facial and body rejuvenation. We are fully licensed and accredited. When you are ready to begin truly appreciating and evoking the real you, Virginia Surgical Arts is here–ready to work with you.