How does laser hair removal work?
“Laser hair removal works by targeting hair at the root to damage the follicle. The light energy from the laser enters the skin and is absorbed by melanin surrounding the hair follicle. Melanin is naturally present in the hair follicle, and when targeted with the laser in the right stage of hair growth, the hair follicle overheats damaging the bulb, preventing further hair growth. The process is called photothermolysis.
“For best results, a course of laser hair removal treatment is recommended to ensure all hairs are caught over differing hair cycle growths.”
What are the key benefits?
What are the most popular areas of the body to have laser hair removal on?
“You can have laser hair removal treatment on any part of your body. The face is a popular area, in addition to underarms, bikini area, legs, back and chest. There are more intricate, precise applicators designed for facial or smaller area use.”
How many sessions do you need?
“Eight sessions spread over four-to-eight weeks is generally sufficient for most areas, but your therapist will adjust the frequency and strength of the laser treatment to match your response. A session can take around 15-60 minutes per body part. Smaller areas of the face are quicker; upper lip treatment, for example, would take two minutes for the laser to cover.
“Although clients should complete all sessions to see the full results, there will be a noticeable difference in hair regrowth even after the first session.”
Is the process painful?
“Most of our clients tell us that laser hair removal is just as tolerable as other methods of hair removal. In comparison to waxing, laser hair removal should not hurt any more as the procedure is spread out over several sessions, it can also be considered safer than waxing and does not cause bleeding. While laser hair removal is not guaranteed to be completely pain-free, there are options that your therapist can use to make it as close to pain-free as possible. These include a cool-air fan (often built into the device), the use of specially formulated lotions, and adjusting the settings of the laser.”
Is laser hair removal safe?
“Laser technology has advanced over many years and continues to develop. While all treatments, including laser hair removal, can have side effects (which your therapist will discuss with you as part of a consultation), when used appropriately by experienced practitioners in licensed clinics with FDA-approved lasers, it is an extremely safe process. Only the latest generation medical grade laser machines backed with published evidence to ensure effective and safe treatments are used in our clinics. All of our clinics are CQC-approved and have had excellent ratings from inspectors and patients alike.
“Always research a clinic to check there the staff are qualified and experienced, and that the clinic is fully licensed and their technology is FDA-approved.”
What are the side effects?
“The skin directly after treatment could appear red or raised – with a similar appearance to goose-bumps – which would be expected to disappear within an hour or two. The skin may feel a little itchy after the treatment.
“Occasionally the lasered hair may return slightly thicker than before in the first few sessions but will eventually disappear with subsequent sessions. This is usually more common when dealing with thick dense hair on areas such as the back or chest in men.”
Does it treat all skin and hair types?
“It treats all skin and hair types except white hair. No lasers on the market will be able to treat white hair due to the lack of melanin.”
Is there anyone else that shouldn’t, or can’t, have laser hair removal?
“Laser hair removal is not recommended if you are taking certain medical prescriptions which your therapist will discuss with you, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because hormonal changes can affect hair regrowth so it’s not optimal to have the treatment at this stage.
“Laser therapy can only be applied to a natural skin tone without sunburn, deep sun tan or fake tan, due to it not being the normal skin tone of the individual. Tanning increases the melanin in the skin, and the laser is attracted to melanin, so if the skin has increased melanin it’s difficult for the laser to distinguish between hair and skin. This is the same for Caucasian, Asian and black skin colours. You should normally wait around four to six weeks before you can have laser after sun damage has cleared or a tan (real or fake) has faded.
“We also do not recommend laser immediately before harsh sun-exposure, and if the area to be treated is currently inflamed, with conditions such as acne, rosacea or dermatitis.
“As part of safety procedures everyone should have a consultation and patch test regardless to ensure maximum safety and compatibility.”
Which lasers are best for use on black skin?
“For the industry as a whole, older equipment and technology might not be able to treat all skin colours, so it’s important to check which technology a salon is using. Most should display whether the technology can treat all skin types including black, dark and Asian skin.
“Advances in laser technology mean it is now possible to produce excellent and safe results when treating dark skin. Older energy sources, like IPL and short wavelength lasers, are not generally recommended for dark skin, which has led to some people incorrectly assuming laser hair removal generally is unsafe. However, the experience of the practitioner and the clinic is crucial when performing laser hair removal on dark skin to ensure a safe treatment and excellent results. This is because the laser must target the melanin-containing root of the hair bulb and not the surrounding dark skin, which could lead to unpleasant reactions.
“Generally speaking, Nd:YAG lasers are highly recommended for dark skin as they have been proven to be very safe and extremely effective at long-term hair removal. The longer wavelength of the YAG laser allows it to precisely target the hair follicle while minimising thermal damage to the surrounding skin.”
What is the aftercare advice?
“There is no downtime; clients can return to any normal activities immediately after treatment. Clients should however avoid any heat treatments such as visiting steam/sauna rooms for 48 hours and avoid direct sunlight without appropriate sunscreen protection.
“In between sessions clients can continue to shave hair if necessary, but not wax, tweeze or pluck.”