If you are tired of shaving, tweezing, plucking, waxing or threading to achieve soft and smooth skin, laser hair removal could be the answer for you. Traditional hair removal methods can be painful, time-consuming and expensive, making the long-lasting effects of laser hair removal an appealing alternative.
But what, exactly, is laser hair removal – or more precisely – laser hair reduction?
Laser hair reduction beams a highly concentrated light into the hair follicle to slow or stop between 90% and 95% of unwanted hair growth. The laser is so accurate that it only destroys the hair growth you wish to stop. The most frequent targets for laser hair reduction are on faces, legs, arms, underarms and bikini lines, although the technique can also be used on nearly any body part with unwanted hair.
It is worth noting that reduction of hair in female faces is not permanent because changing hormones can stimulate hair growth. The procedure does result in permanent reduction in other areas of the body, as those follicles do not regenerate.
Research and a visit with a qualified dermatologist for an evaluation are your first steps on the road to smooth and soft skin. Read on for things you should take into consideration.
The type of equipment matters
Not all lasers are created equal. Some lasers don’t reduce hair well on darker skin tones. Does that mean people of color are out of luck?
Not at all.
Some lasers are specially designed to reduce hair on darker skin tones. Uptown Dermatology in uptown Dallas uses the Sciton laser, which has special settings that allow it to work well on all skin types. It is also effective in treating ingrown hairs.
The ideal candidates
You’re an ideal candidate if you have thick, coarse and dark hair in the area where you want less hair.
Fair-haired? Never fear. There’s hope for everyone. The first step, of course, is making an appointment for an evaluation to determine if the process can be effective for you. All candidates for treatment, especially those with lighter hair color, are asked to not use self-tanning products, and to wait for a tan to fade before starting treatment. This helps increase the contrast between hair color and skin color, improving the laser’s ability to precisely target hair follicles.
How long it takes
How long the individual treatment sessions themselves and the overall course of treatment lasts depends on a number of factors, including laser type, hair color, hair type and hair thickness. Most treatments require between three and seven sessions.
Treatment sessions are spaced out every four to six weeks. This interval allows new hair and hair follicles to grow, giving the laser something to target at each successive appointment.
Clients will only see results from the first treatment several weeks later. Even though you see a reduction of hair growth, it is critical that you attend every session. Because hair follicles tend to be in different stages of growth, attending every session ensures the laser gets a chance to target each one.
Occasionally, you may need to return for a touch-up treatment. One such example of that is for reduction of hair on women’s faces, where hormones can stimulate the regrowth of follicles.
Certain ethnic backgrounds, such as those of Mediterranean origin, may require laser treatment every six to twelve months after the initial series.
What to do before the treatment
In the six weeks leading up to your treatment, you should avoid tweezing, waxing or plucking any unwanted hairs.
At least three weeks before and following treatment, you should use extra sun protection or even avoid the sun. Doing so prepares your skin for the procedure and protects it as it heals.
The day of your treatment, it is important to shave the area being treated. Don’t wax or tweeze, which completely removes the hair, making it difficult for the laser to locate the follicle.
What to expect during the session
Our trained medical staff will adjust the laser for your specific skin color, hair thickness and the location of the hair being treated. The procedure will likely cause some discomfort, but most patients tolerate the treatment well. If targeting a sensitive area of the body, a topical anesthetic may be applied prior to treatment.
Our medical staff will activate the laser on the targeted body part. A small area such as the upper lip may take 1 minute while a large area, such as the upper leg, may take up to an hour.
Immediately after the procedure, cold water, ice packs or an anti-inflammatory cream may be applied to help lessen any pain you may feel. Most patients describe their skin as feeling slightly sunburned after the laser hair reduction treatment.
Hello, smooth skin
Following recommended before- and after-treatment care recommendations will give you the best long-term results.
Clients should avoid saunas, hot showers, heavy exercise and sweating for 24 hours after the treatment to minimize the chance for bacteria growth in the treated area. Failure to avoid these conditions in the initial 24 hours post-treatment could result in temporary funny-looking spots on your skin from bacteria growth that will then need to be treated before additional laser hair removal sessions can continue.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of using extra care outdoors, or even avoiding the sun between treatments. Being extra-kind to your skin protects it and allows your body time to heal between procedures, leaving you the soft and smooth skin you deserve.
Book your laser hair removal or other cosmetic appointment at Uptown Dermatology today by calling 214-303-1102 or by filling out the form below.