8 Facts About Laser Hair Removal

Close-up of a female cosmetologist in a medical coat making a young woman a procedure laser hair removal for leg. Cosmetology, ionization, diamond procedures; blog: Facts About Laser Hair Removal

Many people find shaving, plucking, and waxing to be inconvenient because these hair removal methods are temporary and relatively short-lived. Some people also experience discomfort from these hair removal methods, including ingrown hairs, razor burn, and general irritation. That’s why laser hair removal/reduction is so popular. If you’re interested in this procedure, check out these facts and talk to your dermatologist.

1. It Works Best on Dark Hair

Laser hair removal/reduction is not an effective treatment for every patient. Results of hair removal treatments are best when there is pigment in the hair. That is because the laser is attracted to the dark pigment in the hair follicle. This treatment is not effective on gray, white, blonde or light red hair. 

Coarse or thick hair also responds to laser treatment better than fine hair. This can be a relief for many patients because thick and coarse hairs are often stubborn when it comes to other removal methods.

2. You’ll Need Multiple Sessions

Laser hair reduction/removal is not a one-and-done treatment. While you’ll see results even after your first session, it will take several sessions to complete the process. You will need 6-8 treatments to get the best results.

Treatments are usually spread out depending on the growth cycle of the hair. People commonly have laser hair removal every 4 to 6 weeks for the face, 6-8 weeks for the body, and 8-10 weeks for the legs, but speak to your dermatologist or medical esthetician about how often you should have treatments.

3. It Can Be Done on Multiple Body Areas

Laser hair treatment is performed on both women and men, and on all skin types, in different body areas. The area(s) being treated will impact how long each session will be. While most body parts can be treated for hair removal, some more popular areas include:

  • Face – especially the upper lip and chin
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Bikini area
  • Chest
  • Underarms

4. Preparation is Important

Before you begin hair removal/reduction treatments, you should have a consultation with the esthetician. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions and get information on how to prepare for your procedure.

  • Do not tan outdoors or indoors
  • Do not use self-tanning lotions
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher before going outdoors.
  • Shave the area to be treated to reduce damage from burnt hairs.
    • Do not pluck or wax the area

5. Discomfort Varies from Person to Person

Patients report different levels of discomfort during laser hair removal. Most people say it feels like a warm pinprick sensation. The lasers used at Blue Ridge Dermatology have a cold spray that hits the skin simultaneously with the laser light to offset the heat, making it more comfortable. 

6. Following Aftercare Instructions Prevents Side Effects

Side effects associated with laser hair treatments usually include some redness and swelling following a session. Make sure to follow any aftercare instructions you get after the procedure. Some common tips for aftercare include:

  • Wear loose clothing made of breathable fabric
  • Do not have other skin treatments for 2 weeks
  • Do not pluck or wax the area
  • Avoid working out and swimming for 24 hours
  • Bathe with lukewarm water
  • Avoid direct sunlight on the area for at least 7 days
  • Always wear broad-spectrum 30+ SPF sunscreen
  • Do not use tanning equipment
  • Apply a cold compress to reduce mild redness or swelling

7. Hair May Regrow

We all have dormant follicles in our body that hormones can trigger to become active follicles. Some areas that have been treated may have new growth of hair after a while. While the amount of new hair should not be as numerous as it was prior to treatments you may opt to have maintenance treatments done in the future.

8. Procedures Should Be Done in a Medical Setting

Laser hair reduction/removal treatments are generally safe as long as they are performed by a qualified professional in a medical setting. There are spas and other places that offer laser treatments, but you should always opt to be treated by a licensed esthetician certified in using lasers for skin treatments. 

All esthetic and laser treatments at Blue Ridge Dermatology Associates are done by our Licensed Esthetician and Certified Laser Technician, Debbie McKenzie. She is trained in lasers, microneedling, chemical peels, and personalized skincare. If you have questions about any treatments or procedures, call (919) 781-1050 to make an appointment