Laser Hair Removal
Zapping off the fuzz is a worthwhile investment if you want more longer-lasting smoother skin or if you’re sensitive to waxing, shaving or depilating. Because most people need several treatments in order to significantly reduce the number of growing hairs and maximize results, medical professionals refer to laser hair removal as laser hair “reduction.”
“Laser hair reduction is a great option for people who want a permanent reduction of hair rather than having to do something again and again,” says our consulting dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett. “It’s great for all body sites, arms, legs, face, bikini, back and neck.” Here’s The Skiny on laser hair reduction.
How it’s done
Rather than pulling the hair out by the root, or shaving it off at the skin, laser removal destroys the hair follicle, preventing any new hair growth, one hair at a time. “Laser hair removal is based on wavelengths used to heat up a certain part of the hair follicle to destroy it thus decreasing hair growth,” explains Dr. Kellett.
How many sessions it will take
“The number of sessions depends on the type of hair, body site and quality of the laser technology. The average is 6-8 treatments but it could take more,” says Dr. Kellett. If you’re looking to do a larger part of your body, you may also need to get it done in sections. Don’t forget you will need some downtime in between each session, usually a couple of weeks so ask your derm how long you should wait.
Redness, swelling, and less commonly pigment change, scabbing and blistering. It really depends on your skin and how it will react to the treatment. A trip to the clinic for a consultation session will help determine if there will be any major side effects.
Book a consultation with a dermatologist before getting anything done. Multiple machines may need to be used on darker skins, and those with very light hair (blonde or grey) may need a specialized plan. “You also want to ensure that you do not have moles that should not be treated with laser or even worse that you have a skin cancer,” warns Dr. Kellett. Getting laser hair removal done at a dermatology clinic, as opposed to a non-medical facility, is a wise decision, read why here.
Sample treatment plans
Patient #1: Ada is pale and has coarse abundant hair and a history of ingrowns. Dr. Kellett may use the Duet and Sciton lasers, plus the Lumenis One (Intense Pulsed Light). Heat from the laser and IPL destroys the hair follicle permanently. Duet is a pain-free laser that uses suction to pull the skin closer to the laser, zapping every hair follicle. It works best on fair skin.
Patient #2: Tina has darker skin with wiry body hair. Dr. Kellett may start with the Sciton, which targets hair while protecting skin pigmentation, and finish off stubborn hairs that have been missed with Lumenis One energy.
Approximately $199 per half-hour treatment.
Shave two days before a laser session as this allows for some minimal regrowth, which helps the laser technician give you an accurate assessment and thorough treatment.