By: Shanéa Pebbles, Cosmetic Specialist
Before we know it, summer will be here! It’s time to start planning vacations, activities, outfits, new summer skin care, and those pool days. Summer means more time for bathing suits, shorts, cute skirts, and dresses. The only downside is unwanted hair. Waxing, shaving, and depilatory creams are all solutions for many, but these solutions only last anywhere from a couple of days to a week. The effects of waxing tend to last longer, but waxing is typically more painful. Shaving, though less painful, can last as little as a day for some people. Then there are depilatory creams – it dissolves hair in minutes, but the smell can be unpleasant.
Is there a more permanent solution? One that won’t require you to constantly buy razors or plan your days around shaving or appointments for waxing. There certainly is! At Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery, we offer the gold standard in hair removal – the GentleLase Pro®. It’s simple and minimally invasive while providing successful hair reduction on most skin types. We’ve gathered your top laser hair removal questions and provided answers below.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser hair removal works by penetrating the hair follicle and destroying the root. It uses pigment or melanin as a target to focus a beam of light, which is then absorbed by the skin and turned into heat, leaving the surrounding tissue unaffected.
Laser hair removal treatment is only effective when the hair follicle is in its active growth phase. When hair is in the resting (telogen) phase, it cannot properly absorb light or generate enough heat to cause damage to the root. Since the hair on your body is at different growth stages at any one time, multiple treatments are necessary to obtain the best results. These are spaced out six to eight weeks apart to allow for hair growth. The number of treatments needed is also dependent on the treatment area and your specific needs as a patient.
Laser hair removal can be performed on just about any area of the body. These areas include armpits, back, bikini area, face (especially upper lip and chin), neck, chest, legs, and shoulders. Some areas will be more sensitive than others, and numbing can be provided if desired. Some patients describe the sensation as snapping a rubber band against the skin.
Treatment times will vary depending on the size of the area being treated; however, most sessions can be done in under one hour. You will be able to get back to your day after your appointment, making sure you follow the instructions from your Provider.
How Do I Prepare for My Laser Hair Removal Appointment?
For about 4-6 weeks before your appointment, you should avoid plucking, waxing, bleaching, and electrolysis. Avoid sun or UV exposure two weeks prior to treatment. Tan skin cannot be treated.
It is recommended that you shave the treatment area either the night before or the morning of your treatment. The laser can see the hair’s pigment, and top growth is not needed. On the day of your treatment, the skin should be cleansed of any makeup, creams, oils, topical anesthetics, or self-tanning products.
What Are the Post-Treatment Care Instructions?
After your treatment, the area may be pink or red, with little bumps around the hair follicle. This usually resolves itself after a few hours or within a few days. Cold compresses may help if you have some discomfort. Avoid sun exposure, and make sure to apply sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you venture outside. Do not scrub your skin or use abrasive cleansers or dry brush in the first few days after your treatment. You will notice the hair will start shedding about a week after treatment.
Is Laser Hair Removal Effective on My Hair Type or My Skin Color?
Laser hair removal is effective on most hair densities; however, it will not work as effectively on white, gray, blonde, or red hair as there is not enough dark pigment for the laser to target. Patients with darker skin types should consult with their Provider before treatment, and a test spot may be recommended. There is a higher risk of pigmentary changes in certain patients. Depending on your needs, your Provider may recommend other lasers that could be more effective.
At Advanced Dermatology and Skin Surgery, we aim to deliver a patient-centered experience with highly-skilled Providers. If you have any questions about our laser hair removal services or would like to get started on a smoother, hair-free body, book an appointment at one of our locations in the Greater Spokane – Inland Northwest area.