Shaving is incredibly time-consuming. Waxing is painful. Tweezing and plucking can’t address unwanted hair in large areas, like the legs. Luckily, there’s a much better way to achieve hair removal, and with incredible advances in medical technology, it is faster, safer and more comfortable than ever. At Amachi MedSpa in Marietta, GA, we only invest in the most state-of-the-art lasers to ensure the best experience and results for our clients. Today, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about laser hair removal, including how you should prepare for treatment.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal refers to a treatment that has been available on a large scale since 1997. Between 1995 and 1996, a great deal of research and development went into making this type of hair removal safe and effective. But the innovation hasn’t stopped. Today, the most advanced lasers can safely, effectively and comfortably target unwanted body hair, even when there is little contrast between skin tone and hair color.
What Areas Can I Treat?
Essentially, you can use laser hair removal wherever you want except for your eyebrows. While you are given specially designed eye protection for your laser hair removal treatment, we strongly recommend against seeking laser treatment for the removal of eyebrow hair. You need to wait at least six weeks after waxing to receive hair removal via laser treatment. You must also not tweeze.
Does Treatment Hurt?
It used to be that laser treatments were uncomfortable at best or painful at worst. This is not the case with our state-of-the-art lasers. Before treatment, we will treat the affected area with a topical numbing cream so you will experience neither pain nor discomfort. Depending on your unique situation, you may have a cold laser used to treat your unwanted hair.
How Many Treatments Will I need?
Nobody has hair in the same phase of the growth cycle at the same time. Therefore, you may need between four and six laser hair removal treatments, spread out between intervals of four to six weeks, to achieve your ideal results. Laser treatment for hair removal only targets hair in the active growth phase. Dormant hairs cannot be treated with laser light.
How Does the Laser Target the Hair for Removal?
Lasers use electric pulses and light energy to heat the hair follicle, destroying the roots without damaging the surrounding tissue or skin. By targeting the hair follicle, future hair growth is drastically stunted. Once the follicles are sufficiently destroyed, it will be a year or more before you need to come in for a follow-up treatment.
What Can I Expect During Treatment?
During treatment, the outer layers of your skin will be protected by a special cooling device or cold gel. This serves the dual purpose of helping the laser light penetrate the deeper layers of your skin while keeping you comfortable during treatment. Your laser technician will administer a pulse of light to the targeted site, then watch the area for several minutes to ensure the best settings for your unique skin tone and hair color are being used.
How Long Does Treatment Last?
Our lasers can treat an area the size of a quarter in only a second. Therefore, small areas, like the underarms, can be treated in mere minutes. However, you will need to wait between 20 and 30 minutes for the topical numbing cream to take effect. You should expect to be in our office for around an hour depending on how many sites you are targeting, the size of those sites and whether we have to shave your treatment site for you.
What Can I Expect During My Initial Consultation?
Before your initial consultation, you must shave your desired treatment area. During your consultation, we will review everything you can expect during your treatment as well as what you need to know about our lasers. With your consent, we will photograph the site that will be treated for the purposes of before-and-after comparisons.
Am I a Good Candidate?
Everyone’s aesthetic goals, medical history and current health are unique. Therefore, you must come in for a one-on-one consultation to determine if laser therapy is right for your hair removal needs. However, there are a few general rules of thumb that help determine who is a suitable candidate for this treatment:
The Fitzpatrick Scale
The best candidate for laser hair removal has dark hair and fair skin. This is because the laser can focus its light energy on the pigment inside the hair and not become confused by the pigment within the skin. If you have darker skin and darker hair, don’t worry. Our lasers are state-of-the-art and can safely and effectively target the pigment of your hair without damaging or burning your surrounding skin tissue.
If you have blonde, red, white or grey hair, you may need more treatment sessions than someone with coarse, dark hair and fair skin. This is because there is very little contrast between the pale skin and the hair with barely any pigment in it. However, you are not immediately disqualified as a candidate for this type of treatment no matter what your hair or skin color.
Besides your hair color and skin tone, there are other factors to consider when deciding if hair removal via lasers is right for you. For example, it is essential that you do not have an open wound, tan, infection or active skin rash on the day of your treatment session. If you develop skin irritation before your treatment, let us know as soon as possible so we can reschedule.
How Should I Prepare Before This Treatment?
Before your first session, it is essential to avoid the use of tweezers or waxing. Both tweezing and waxing remove the hair follicle from the root. Unfortunately, during hair removal with laser energy, the laser must be able to identify the hair follicle. You must also stay out of the sun. Do not visit a tanning bed or sunbathe during the six weeks before treatment. You should also avoid excessive sun exposure by applying broad-spectrum sunblock every four to six hours when going outside.
Shave Before Treatment
You should shave within 24 hours of your scheduled laser appointment. Your laser technician cannot treat areas that have hair above the skin. You cannot even receive treatment if there is rough stubble because this may create too much heat for the pigment of your skin.
If you miss any hairs while you shaved, and you do not feel comfortable with your technician shaving you, your technician will need to avoid treating those areas. Alternatively, you will need to reschedule your treatment session until such time as you can shave your desired treatment site yourself.
We strongly recommend that you shave with a clean, new razor to avoid any potential post-shaving irritation or stray hairs. Using a clean razor also guarantees that there will be no bacteria present on your skin that could cause contact dermatitis, a delayed allergic reaction that often occurs after shaving.
If you suffer from situational anxiety or another mood disorder, take steps before your treatment to ensure you are comfortable. For example, you may benefit from avoiding caffeine for 24 hours before treatment or taking Benadryl or another mild sedative as advised by your doctor to calm your nerves. We will apply a topical numbing cream to the treatment site to ensure you feel no pain or discomfort. There is no need to worry about your treatment.
What Can I Expect After Treatment?
After treatment, you are free to return to work or your regular daily routine. There is no downtime. However, you should expect your hairs to start falling out during or immediately after treatment. It takes roughly 21 days for all your hairs to fall out. This is around the time when you are ready to reschedule your next appointment.
After your laser therapy for hair removal, you will be given anti-inflammatory cream to prevent any discomfort after the anesthetic has worn off. Cold water and homemade ice packs are equally effective for mitigating the risk of irritating inflammation. Before you leave, we strongly recommend that you schedule your next treatment session for four to six weeks out.
This gives your treated hair plenty of time to fall out. Once you’ve had one treatment session, you may find it ideal to schedule treatment sessions roughly three weeks after your current session depending on how quickly your hair falls out.
Proper skin care following hair removal with laser energy is essential. Before you go outside during the day, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with Zinc and a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 20 if you are above a III on the Fitzpatrick scale. If you are between I and III on the Fitzpatrick scale, we strongly recommend an SPF of at least 55.
You should avoid tweezing or plucking your hair between laser treatments for hair removal. However, you should shave as necessary. Make sure you shave the day before your follow-up treatments, too. Remember, any area not shaved sufficiently will have to be skipped over during treatment. After your “final” hair removal treatment, you will not need to shave, pluck or wax any longer. You can enjoy a year or more of not fussing over your unwanted body hair every day.
The results you can expect from this type of treatment will vary on a case-by-case basis. But, to an extent, they can be generalized. You can generally expect to need between four and six treatments spaced three to six weeks apart to achieve silky smooth legs. If there is little pigment in your hair, you may need between eight and 12 treatment sessions to remove unwanted hair thoroughly.
Regardless of the contrast between your skin pigment and hair pigment, you can expect roughly an 80% reduction in hair growth and a drastic thinning of hair after every treatment session. Your unwanted body hair will be reduced to the point where it is barely imperceptible. However, laser treatment does not destroy every single hair follicle in a treatment area. Maintenance appointments may be required, and changes in hormone levels may cause unwanted hair growth in the future.
Achieve Long-Lasting, Silky Smooth Legs Today
Thanks to incredible advances to laser technology, it is now safer, more comfortable and more effective than ever to turn to laser hair removal to reduce unwanted hair. To schedule your initial consultation, contact the professional beauty experts at Amachi MedSpa in Marietta, GA today. We can’t wait to meet you and help you achieve your ideal aesthetic safely, comfortably and quickly.