Shaving, waxing, depilatory creams – when it comes to removing unwanted hair, the options are endless. But what if we told you that there was a better way? And the better way is lasers.
Easily one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures, laser hair removal is a quick, virtually pain-free solution to ridding yourself of unwanted body hair for life.
How It Works
If it sounds like a dreamy sci-fi fantasy, you wouldn't be far off, but cosmetic technology has come a long way and laser hair removal is perfectly safe for use on your back, arms, legs, bikini, even on areas as sensitive as your face.
It's simple. Laser hair removal works by beaming highly concentrated light into the hair follicles. The pigments in the follicles absorb light, and this is what destroys the hair. The process selectively targets dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.
Before treatment, your hair will be trimmed to a few millimetres above the surface of the skin, and the equipment will then be adjusted according to the colour, thickness and location of the hair being treated, as well as the colour of your skin. A layer of cold gel or special cooling device is applied to the area to help the light penetrate the skin, as well as protect the outer layers of skin.
From start to finish, the full laser removal process is quick - each pulse of light takes a fraction of a second and can treat many hairs at the same time. The laser can treat a small area every second. Small areas, like the upper lip, can be treated in less than a minute, while larger areas, like the back or the legs, can take up to an hour. In most cases, patients report permanent hair loss after an average of three to seven seconds.
After the procedure is complete, you may be given ice packs, anti-inflammatory creams or lotions, or cold water to ease any discomfort you may be feeling. You can schedule your next treatment for four to six weeks later.
Know that laser hair removal is considered a professional procedure that requires specialized training to perform, as it carries potential risks. Before booking your appointment, make sure to do your due diligence and check the credentials of the salon, technician or doctor performing the procedure.
Good To Know
Clients should limit or cease plucking, waxing and electrolysis treatments for at least six weeks before heading in to a laser hair removal appointment. These processes tend to remove the hair root and this is what the laser targets during laser hair removal.
You should avoid sun exposure for at least six weeks before and after treatment. Sun exposure makes laser hair removal less effective, and can increases your chances of experiencing complications after treatment.
For several days following treatment, your skin may look or feel sunburned. A cool compress and moisturizers may help. If you had the treatment on your face, you can wear makeup to minimize redness unless your skin is blistering.
Over the next month, your hair will fall out. You should wear sunscreen to help prevent temporary changes in the colour of treated skin.
Though rare, blisters on the skin can occur in people with darker complexions. Other less serious side effects include swelling, redness, and scarring. Permanent scarring or changes in skin colour are rare.