The Basics of Laser Hair Removal

How does laser hair removal work?

A concentrated beam of light is aimed at hair. The light is absorbed by the pigment, which damages the follicle enough to retard future growth. Lasers can remove hair anywhere from several months to years, as the results differ widely from person to person.

Ouch Factor: Depending on a person’s pain tolerance, lasers can feel like a gentle pinch or the snap of a hot rubber band.

Keep In Mind:

  • Laser hair removal gets rid of ingrown hair up to 95%.
  • Treatments are performed anywhere from 4-6 weeks in between sessions.
  • The procedure isn’t permanent. Hair grows in indeterminate cycles, and it needs to be caught in the growth phase for the procedure to be effective. It does reduce hair growth up to 80%.
  • A post-zap breakout is common, because the treatment leaves hair follicles open for a few days. An OTC hydrocortisone cream or antibacterial lotion will prevent blemishes.
  • Tanning-from either the sun or a bottle-is a no-no before a laser treatment, since darker skin absorbs the light before it can reach the follicles.

Skin-saving tips:

  • The area should be clear of any lotion or deodorant and should be clean shaven before each treatment.
  • Avoid any method of hair removal besides shaving two weeks prior to a treatment.
  • 1 week after your first treatment you should exfoliate the area with a gentle scrub to help loosen the shedding hair.
  • Stop using Renova, Retin-A and AHAs-which can make skin fragile and sensitive-several days prior to laser hair removal. If taking Accutane, ask your physician about hair-removal options.
  • Avoid chlorine, saltwater and the sun, for a week after laser hair removal (to prevent irritation and burning.)
  • Don’t subject sunburned skin to any hair removal; wait until the burn subsides.