Truth About Laser Hair Removal

The removal of unwanted hair with lasers has rapidly gained popularity. However this form of treatment is not for everyone and it is important that consumers become educated as to the different and competing hair removal procedures available.

Some procedures still in use are outdated, whilst some are more suitable for certain hair and skin colors.

What are laser hair removal requirements?

It is most important that the surrounding skin is lighter than the hair. Also very dark skins absorb excessive laser energy which is not ideal.

Patients with light hair and tanned skin should not consider laser hair removal treatment.

However if you have dark hair and a tan, you must wait for the tan to fade before having treatment. Note that you will require several treatments depending on the body areas, and although relatively cheaper that electrolysis, laser hair removal costs could exceed $1000.

How much will laser hair removal cost?

This depends on the size of the area being treated. Top treatment centers average around $500 a session, and generally four treatment sessions are prescribed.

Whole back or leg areas will cost a lot more, whilst small upper lip areas could be cheaper. You would need to have an individual assessment by the laser center for more exact costing.

What is the effect of skin color on laser hair removal?

Light skin:

  • Easier to perform
  • Fewer treatments
  • Better and faster results

Darker skin:

  • Slower results
  • More sessions
  • Greater expertise required
  • Individualized treatment required

What is the effect of hair color on laser hair removal?

Dark hair:

  • Absorbs more laser energy
  • Easier to treat
  • Coarse dark hair gives best response

Light hair:

  • More difficult to treat
  • Blonde or red hair is very difficult to treat
  • Multiple treatment sessions are required
  • Results are variable

How many treatments are required for laser hair removal?

A single laser session could result in long-term hair removal, however multiple treatment sessions are usually required for best results. This is mostly due to the fact that hair grows in cycles and individual strands are not all in a growth phase at the same time which is when laser hair removal is most effective.

What body areas can be treated with laser hair removal?

Anywhere except next to the eye. The most requested areas are:

  • The face
  • Upper lip
  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Periareolar
  • Underarms
  • Back
  • Abdomen
  • Bikini line
  • Legs

Are laser hair removal results permanent?.

Hair removal techniques such as waxing, shaving, and plucking all have temporary results. Some newer lasers show positive evidence that laser hair removal produces permanent hair reduction after each treatment on an accumulative basis. However results can be individually variable, even using the latest lasers.

Some Important Laser Hair Removal Considerations.

  • There are no guarantees. Exact laser hair removal results for each individual patient are unpredictable, particularly with regard to the number of treatment sessions required.
  • It is highly recommended that you choose quality over price when selecting a laser hair removal clinic. This procedure is an exact science, and the best results come from the centers with the most experience.
  • Properly performed laser hair removal is effective in the vast majority of cases. It is usually only those with blonde or red hair that do not respond well.
  • Laser hair removal is not compatible with tanning as it will reduce it’s effectiveness and increase the number of sessions required.
  • Some light or dark skin pigment changes may occur and persist for months, but these are usually temporary and very rare in untanned patients with fair skin.
  • Rarely blisters and burns may occur, especially in dark skinned patients.
  • As beta carotene darkens the skin, it’s consumption should be avoided for several months prior to treatment.
  • African-Americans and those with dark skins can take heart that new lasers and techniques available at specialized laser hair removal centers can now provide effective laser hair removal for most patients, no matter what their skin type.

Latest Advancements In Laser Hair Removal

Lasers for hair removal from tanned and black skin have continued to advance with new long wavelength multi-pulse lasers.

Specialized laser clinics can offer at up to three different laser hair removal technologies for optimal treatment of different skin and hair types:

  • multi-pulse alexandrite
  • single-pulse alexandrite
  • multi-pulse Nd-Yag lasers

Skin cooling techniques should be used before, during and after the laser pulse as the best way to keep discomfort at a minimum during the laser hair removal session.

All laser hair removal settings must be determined for each individual patient’s hair and skin color, as well as for the location and coarseness of the hair to be treated and the patient’s reactions.

It could be dangerous to use topical anesthetic creams or solutions excessively. Better to avoid them completely if possible, particularly whilst the proper laser settings are being initially determined.