Are you thinking about laser hair removal and are looking for some more information to see if it is right for you? If you get hairs that irritate your skin, laser hair removal can help eliminate this concern. While there are so many options in the market for hair removal, laser hair removal can provide you a long-term solution.
Laser hair removal is a long-lasting hair removal as the procedure damages or destroys the hair follicle. However, your hair might regrow if the follicle is damaged and will not grow if the hair follicle is destroyed.
Interestingly the laser hair removal process damages your hair follicle. For this reason, doctors often refer to laser hair removal as long-term hair removal rather than permanent hair removal. Read on to learn about how laser hair removal works, how long it lasts, and the risks involved in the procedure.
Laser Hair Removal Overview
Laser hair removal is typically a medical procedure that uses a concentrated beam of laser light to remove unwanted hair. A laser emits a light absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair during the procedure.
The light energy falling on your skin is converted to heat, damaging the tube-shaped sacs called hair follicles within the skin that produce hairs. This damage inhibits or delays future hair growth.
It is indeed true that laser hair removal effectively delays hair growth for long periods. It usually does not result in permanent hair removal. You might need multiple laser hair removal treatments for initial hair removal. After that you Thereafter, you might also require maintenance treatments as well.
Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light-colored skin and dark hair, but the procedure can be successfully used on all skin types.
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
Hair removal from a destroyed hair follicle is primarily permanent. However, people who undergo hair removal can expect some hair in the targeted area to grow back.
Over time, it is possible to treat the area again to reduce the number of hairs that regrow. In some cases, it may even be possible to eliminate all hair.
Whether or not your hair grows back depends on several factors, including the type of hair and the person’s skill removing the hair.
Many find that when hair regrows, it is lighter, less dense, and less noticeable than it was before. This is because the laser might have damaged the hair follicle even when it fails to destroy it.
If your hair follicle is damaged but not destroyed, the hair will eventually regrow. It is difficult to destroy every hair follicle, so most people might see some hair regrowth.
When your hair regrows in the treated area, it is possible to treat it again. So individuals who want to remove all the hair might need several treatments.
In some cases, the new hair may be too short, too light, or resistant to treatment. In these cases, individuals might choose to use other hair removal methods, like plucking stray hairs.
Why It Is Done
Laser hair removal is an effective treatment used to reduce unwanted hair. Common treatment locations include upper lip, armpits, legs, and chin. However, it is possible to treat unwanted hair in any area of your body, except the eyelid or surrounding area. Also, skin with tattoos should not be treated.
Skin type and hair color influence the success of laser hair removal. The basic principle of the treatment is that the pigment of the hair, but not the pigment of the skin, should absorb the laser light.
The laser should damage only your hair follicle while avoiding damage to your skin. Therefore, a contrast between hair and skin color, meaning dark hair and light skin, results in the best outcomes.
The basic rule is the risk of skin damage is more significant when there is little contrast between your hair and skin color. But the advancements in laser technology have made laser hair removal an option for people who have darker skin.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
The procedure uses a light beam to target the pigment in individual hairs. The light travels down the shaft of the hair and into the hair follicle.
The heat generated from the laser light destroys the hair follicle, and as a result, hair can no longer grow from it.
Human hair follows a unique growth cycle that involves shedding, resting, and growing periods. Recently removed hair is generally in a resting phase and will not be visible to the technician or even to the laser beam.
So you have to wait for a while until it regrows before removing it. For many, laser hair removal requires several treatments over 2 to 3 months.
What to Expect During Laser Hair Removal
Before the procedure, your doctor will use topical numbing medicine applied 20 to 30 minutes before the laser procedure. This cream will help with the sting of the laser pulses.
Then your doctor will adjust the laser equipment according to the thickness, color, and location of your hair being treated. The adjustment is also made based on your skin color.
Depending on the light source or laser used, you will need to wear appropriate eye protection. It is also essential to protect the outer layers of your skin with a cold gel or some particular cooling device. This is because the cold gel will help the laser light from penetrating the skin.
Next, the technician will give a pulse of light to your treatment area. Then they will keep a watch on the site for several minutes to make sure the best settings are suitable for you. They will also check for any sort of bad reactions.
After the procedure is completed, you may be given anti-inflammatory creams, ice packs, or cold water to ease any inflammation or discomfort. You might also schedule your subsequent treatment four to six weeks later. Your doctor will give you treatments until your hair stops growing.
Side Effects and Risks
During treatment, you might experience stinging, burning, or some discomfort. For this reason, many technicians usually apply a numbing cream to the treatment area. However, some people may have skin irritation or allergic reaction in response to the numbing cream.
Minor side effects are commonly seen and might include:
- Skin redness.
- Changes in the skin color, particularly in people with dark skin, which are usually temporary.
- Blistering or crusting of the skin.
- At times, irritation related to hair removal might cause scarring. Though rare, skin infections might spread and become severe.
You should provide a detailed medical history and discuss risks and benefits with your doctor as it would help determine the proper treatment, reducing the risk of severe side effects.
Following hair removal, you should consciously avoid sun exposure. The sun can irritate the treated skin, which could increase the risk of scars and blisters.
If you experience intense pain, a fever, blisters, crusting, or other signs of skin damage or infection, you must seek medical attention immediately.
For a few days afterward, the treated area of your skin might look and feel like it is sunburned. Moisturizers and cool compresses may help ease the pain or discomfort. If the doctor treated your face, you could wear light makeup the following day unless your skin is blistering and healing.
Over the next month, you will notice that your treated hair will fall out. Wear sunscreen for a month to help prevent temporary changes in the color of the skin.
Blisters are rare after the procedure but are more likely in individuals with darker complexions. Other potential side effects could be redness, swelling, and scarring. Permanent changes in skin color and scarring are rare.
How Long Does Laser Hair Removal Last?
The laser hair removal procedure is permanent when the hair follicles are destroyed. When your hair follicle is only damaged, the hair will eventually start to regrow.
The amount of time it takes for your hair to regrow often depends on your unique hair growth cycle. Some people have hair that grows more quickly than others. If your hair is in a resting phase, it will grow back more slowly than hair that is in another phase.
Most people often expect some hair regrowth within a few months. Once this starts to happen, you can opt for more removal sessions.
Does Hair or Skin Color Make a Difference?
Hair removal works best on individuals with light complexions who have dark hair. This is probably because the pigment contrast makes it easier for the laser to target the hair. As a result, the laser beam travels into the follicle and destroys the follicle.
In other words, if you have dark skin or light hair, you might need more treatment sessions than others and may find that more hair grows back.
To permanently remove your hair, the technician should know how to target the hair and select the correct type of laser. One of the researchers published that lasers that produce longer wavelengths work best on dark-colored skin.
Laser hair removal treatment can significantly reduce the amount of body hair in your treatment area. In most people, only some hair will regrow over time.
Even when less hair does regrow, there will be less overall hair. This will produce a smoother appearance. What to expect from laser hair removal procedure? Discuss treatment goals with your doctor. You doctor will suggest what will best suit your skin type.