Laser hair removal is a fantastic way to remove unwanted body hair once and for all. While other solutions exist, laser hair removal does not use chemicals or involve invasive surgery. As a result, undesired side effects of this treatment are limited, but you might still have some questions about laser hair removal.
This is a harder question to answer than you might think. Dermatologists offer a number of ways to reduce discomfort during the procedure, but the possibility for discomfort is very real. Laser hair removal works by exposing hair follicles to intense light, which heats them until they are destroyed. Hair follicles are the tube-shaped sacs contained in our skin that form hair. While follicles are not deep into the skin, they are close enough to nerve endings to cause pain.
Because of the potential for discomfort, some laser hair removal applicators include a cooling device in their tip. Most laser hair removal treatments will start with your dermatologist applying a cooling spray to your skin as well. This cooling counteracts the heat and helps even out any discomfort you may feel.
If your pain threshold is low, topical anesthetics are applied to the treatment area to assist further in reducing possible pain. So, whether or not it hurts can vary from person to person. Some people experience little more than discomfort, while others report feeling a warm, pinprick sensation.
Regardless, pain and discomfort are minimal, especially considering the alternatives. Since you need a few sessions to get the desired results, you’ll become accustomed to the sensations of laser hair removal treatments and they’ll only get easier.
For this question, the answer is usually a ‘Yes.’ Asking means you’re being proactive when considering your skin’s health. Your dermatologist will tell you what to avoid before getting laser hair removal treatment, but we’ll outline a few common preparations you should be making.
A major component of how the laser works to destroy hair follicles boils down to contrast. The more stark your hair stands out from your skin, the more effective your treatment will be. As you may already know, laser hair removal works best for people with light skin and dark hair. That’s not to say it won’t work for darker skin and lighter hair, but you might need more treatments.
In some cases, your dermatologist might determine the treatment isn’t right for your skin-tone or hair color. So, the main thing to keep contrast high is to avoid exposure to sunlight for around a month and a half prior to treatment. When you need to stay out in the sun, use sunscreen daily to keep your skin from tanning.
In some cases, your dermatologist may give you a skin bleaching cream that you can use on the treatment area to help boost the laser’s effectiveness. The skin bleaching is only temporary, and skin returns to its natural color when use is discontinued. For about a month leading up to laser hair removal, you should avoid any kind of hair removal including plucking, electrolysis or waxing. These processes can make the laser miss hair follicles that are simply lying low after their removal, and new hair will grow back.
Last, you will most likely be asked to shave your hair in the area the day before treatment. This lets the laser target the follicle itself without wasting time on the hair above, which can cause superficial burns on the skin’s surface.
Laser hair removal treatment starts working to remove unwanted hair and reduce your hair growth after the first treatment. Hair will fall out over days or weeks after treatment, though, so don’t expect all your hair to be gone in an instant.
The more immediate results can include redness and swelling. Your skin might feel and look like it’s been sunburnt, but this is normal. It’s recommended that a person who has undergone laser hair removal apply ice to the treatment area immediately following treatment.
If your dermatologist notes an allergic reaction, they will administer and prescribe a steroid cream to reduce inflammation and pain. These side effects are short-lived, and don’t often occur. This is because dermatologists have been administering laser hair removal treatments for years, and have a great deal of experience.
If you’re interested in laser hair removal, there are an overwhelming number of reasons not to hesitate. Reach out to your local Northeast Dermatology Associates office and remove your unwanted hair now!