You might have heard much about laser hair removal and given that you are tired of constantly torturing your skin with razors and hot waxes, you are now considering this new method. You have heard that this is a method by which hair loss is more long lasting, even though it might not be completely permanent. However, before you head to the nearest salon or clinic to have your body hair removed via laser, there are a few things that you need to understand.
You need to know whether you are an ideal candidate for laser hair removal or not:
The most ideal candidates for laser hair removal are people who have coarse dark hair, but light skin. People with white or grey hair, blonde or red hair might not be able to enjoy satisfactory results. Similarly, people with hair that is lighter than their skin colour will also not find too much benefit.
You need to know what happens before the laser hair removal actually starts:
On your very first visit to the clinic, the doctor or professional will take a look at the area that you intend to get treated. They will have to make sure that there are no bruises or scars in that area. They will also have to ensure that there are no effects of tanning, because natural or artificial, a tan will affect the outcome of a laser hair removal procedure. You will also be instructed not to wax or pluck hair from the area of treatment, although shaving might be acceptable. As a matter of fact, you will be asked to shave a few days before the session, because the stubble will make the procedure easier.
Before the treatment can be started, the intended area of treatment will be cleaned thoroughly and a numbing gel, most probably containing lidocaine will be applied. It normally takes anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes for the area to become totally numb and it is only when the same happens, that the procedure will be started.
You need to know what happens during the laser hair removal procedure:
The procedure needs to be done in a room that is equipped for the same and all the people in the room will have to wear protective eye gear. In order to perform the treatment, the skin will be pulled to make it taut and then the laser beam will be directed onto the area. The heat from the laser beam will be absorbed into the hair follicles, leading to their fall and reducing the possibility of the hair growing back.
Since the laser removes the hair by vaporising it, there is bound to be a smell like hair getting burnt or singed and this is completely normal. Many people have described the hair removal sensation as a rubber band being snapped against their skin or warm pins pricking into the skin. The time taken to the complete the procedure will be completely dependent on the area that needs to be treated.
You need to know what happens after the laser hair removal procedure:
There are not too many things that you need to do, but you will be asked to avoid direct sunlight for a few days. You will be asked to avoid tanning beds or sun lamps, because your skin will be delicate for the upcoming days. Your doctor might also prescribe you some cool compresses or lotions, which you will be asked to apply to your skin, as these will help reduce the swelling and redness.
You need to know how much off time you might have to take:
There is actually no downtime as such, because you can return to your normal life, almost immediately. There will be a slight amount of redness and swelling, but if it does not bother you too much, you can resume your daily routine within a few hours.
You need to know how soon you will start seeing the results:
The results should ideally be visible immediately, but these might vary from person to person. Results will also be dependent on the texture and thickness of the hair, the colour of the skin, the extent of the area being treated and the type of laser being used. In the very first session, you should be able to notice a reduction of 10 to 25% body hair. Normally, multiple sessions will be required and the doctor will suggest anywhere between two to eight sessions for complete hair removal.
You need to know how long the effects of laser hair removal will last:
In most cases, the hair will not regrow for months, if not years, and even if there is some regrowth, it will be minimal. In order to keep the area completely hair free, maintenance treatments might be required.
You need to know about the possible side effects:
There is bound to be some discomfort, swelling and redness, but these will not last for more than a few days. If the procedure has been done by a professional, then there should not be any other side effects. However, in rare cases, there could be blistering and scars, infections, change in skin tone and cold sores. In many cases, the changes in skin colour are not permanent, but it is important that you get the procedure done by a certified dermatologist or cosmetologist.
You need to know when you can have the next session of laser hair removal:
Your doctor will tell you that you might require multiple sessions, and you need to know how much of a gap will be required between the same. In most cases, a gap of four to five weeks is required and during this time, there will be visible hair growth too. However, this is completely normal and your doctor will tell you about the same in advance.