Are you tired of shaving, waxing, or tweezing your legs to get rid of the ingrown hairs that usually creep back after a week or two? Then, laser hair removal is your best option. This revolutionary treatment is the newest popular trend of avoiding the traditional razor and messy creams to remove unwanted hairs on the lower legs, underarms, chest, bikini line, chin, and upper lip. It is painless, quick, efficient, and effective.
What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal works by using highly concentrated light (laser) to destroy the hair follicles. To prevent pain or discomfort, the doctor will apply a cooling air spray or cool gel to the skin before pressing a handheld device to trigger the laser to emit light. The pigments in the hair follicles absorb the light and effectively disrupt further hair growth. It can be used to treat ingrown hairs in almost any area of the body, excluding the eyelids, eyebrows, and their surrounding area because of the possibility of serious eye injury. This treatment is also perfect for people who suffer from hirsutism or excessive hair growth.
What are the advantages of laser hair removal?
- Speed – It only takes a fraction of a second for each laser pulse to treat a size of a quarter. For larger areas like legs, chest, or back, the entire procedure can last up to one hour, while smaller areas like the upper lips only take less than one minute.
- Precision – The laser targets the treatment area without damaging the surrounding skin.
- Predictability of results – Permanent hair loss can happen after three to seven sessions.
Are there risks and side effects?
The common side effects and potential risks depend upon your choice of treatment plan, hair colour, type of skin, as well adherence to the pre-treatment/post-treatment care.
- Pigment changes – The treatment can cause lightening or darkening of the affected skin, temporarily or permanently. Skin lightening usually affects people who exposed themselves before or after the laser hair removal. Those with darker skin are also vulnerable.
- Irritation – After the procedure, you may experience swelling, redness of the treated areas, and temporary discomfort. They usually disappear after a few hours.
- Rare effects – The effects vary depending on the patient’s tolerance of the laser light and other factors. Some of the rare effects are changes in skin texture, scarring, blistering, crusting, and greying of treated ingrown hairs. Dark-skinned people are also prone to experience excessive hair growth around the treated spots.
Is laser hair removal effective on all types of skin?
Laser hair removal is safe to use on all skin types, but it is most effective for those with light skin and dark hair. The fundamental principle of light skin-dark hair is that the hair pigment and not the skin pigment absorb the light energy. This prevents damaging the skin while destroying the hair follicles. Blonde, red, white, and grey hair colours do not absorb the laser light very well, making it less effective. The skin-hair colour contrast delivers the best outcomes, lessening the possible risks. Thanks to the advances and innovation in laser technology, it is also possible now for people with darker skin to get laser hair removal when they want to.
How do you prepare for laser hair removal?
The first crucial step you need to do is find a board-certified, experienced cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist. This will give you peace of mind since you will be under the hands of a specialist who is adept at using a laser. The doctor will check your medical history, discuss the risks and benefits, and answer all your questions, including the treatment plan and cost. In the UK, the cost of laser hair removal treatment depends on the area to be treated and the number of treatments. Typically, a single treatment procedure would cost you around £85 for the upper lip area, £110 for the underarms, and £270 for the arms.
Here are some of the specific instructions that they may give:
- Days before the procedure, you need to avoid sun exposure (also after the treatment). When going out, make sure to use an SPF30 sunscreen.
- Avoid darkening skin creams. The doctor may give you bleaching skin if you have darker skin.
- Don’t use any blood-thinning medications like aspirins and anti-inflammatory drugs before the procedure.
- Avoid plucking, electrolysis, or waxing methods for about four weeks to prevent disturbing the hair follicles.
- Shave and trim the treatment one day before your laser treatment to ensure that there will be no surface skin damage due to burnt hairs.
While it effectively inhibits hair growth for some time, laser hair removal does not bring permanent results. It is necessary to have multiple treatments after the initial procedure to keep the body hair-free.