‘Permanent hair removal’ should be distinguished from ‘permanent hair reduction’.
It requires an understanding of physiological hair cycle. Selective-photothermolysis ensures laser absorption only by the target chromophore and subsequent microscopic damage to the concerned tissue, thus responding to the reduction in hair growth.
Laser Hair Reduction
So laser session is advised in the growing phase of the hair for better response. The colour of skin and hair, as well as hair shaft characteristics, play a role in successful laser hair removal treatment. Lasers used in hair removal are many.
The choice of laser depends upon the skin type and the hair type.
The general rules to follow in laser hair removal are:
- Determine the cause of hirsutism/ hypertrichosis.
- Observe the skin colour type.
- Dark thicker hair is easier targets compared to finer hair.
Why is it advised?
It can be taken as an aesthetic treatment, or indicated in medical conditions like PCOS, hypertrichosis, hirsutism, etc.
How and where is laser done?
The laser can be done on all the body parts, where you have hair growth, i.e., face, arms, legs, upper lip, abdomen, back, etc.
How does laser work?
The laser light beam is absorbed by the melanin of the hair, thus it works on the hair root, without harming the surrounding skin, thus reduces hair from the root and prevents further growth.
How long does the treatment take? Does the treatment period differ from person to person?
The usual gap between each session would be 4 to 6 weeks, which may vary as per the area treated. Although a definite reduction in hair growth is seen in early sessions that are around 6 to 8 sessions. Follow up sessions are needed every few months depending on the growth of the hair, which differs from person to person.
What to expect after taking the treatment?
As a general rule, 6 to 10 laser sessions are required during, the first year to achieve long-term epilation. With most laser systems, a single treatment can reduce hair by 10–20%; three treatments by 30–60% and repeated treatments as much as 80-90%. These results are maintained at post-treatment follow-up for as long as 24 to 36 months.
Pros of laser treatment
FDA approved lasers are used, for the procedure, so it is safe.
Results are permanent.
Hassle free technique, with no pain.
Since laser reduces hair growth, it also reduces the chances of one getting the ingrown hair, which is most commonly seen with procedures like waxing.
It also would help people avoid skin pigmentation, which is usually seen in waxing, in areas like arms and legs.
Precautions to take before Laser Hair Removal
- It is also useful for us to know that there are certain precautions that we may benefit from knowing about before starting the laser hair removal procedure. These need to be taken before and after laser treatment for hair removal sessions in order for you to achieve the best results.
- Avoid tanning body areas where you want to get the hair removal done. Tanning should be avoided 4-6 weeks before the treatment, as this can have an impact on the effectiveness of the treatment. This means avoiding self-tanning creams and sprays as well.
- Avoid plucking, bleaching or waxing 3 weeks before the treatment. Preserving the root and the pigment of the hair is important for the success of the laser hair treatment.
If you do so pluck, bleach or wax the hair prior to treatment, you risk the hair not entering into the regrowth phase. If this happens, there would be nothing for the laser to aim for.
- Wash the area being treated completely and remove any kind of oil present on the skin. Most dermatologists will advise you to ensure you clean your skin thoroughly before treatment, ensuring that your skin is not oily before your treatment session, in order to achieve the best results.
- Moisturise the area well before and after the laser, for smooth and better response.
These are some of the precautions one should take before going ahead with laser hair removal.
However, if followed accurately you can really feel some great results.
About The Author
Dr. Anusha Gutta – MBBS, MD, DVL