We all have unwanted hair somewhere on our bodies that causes us to feel uncomfortable, self-conscious, or annoyed. We use razors to shave it off, hot wax to pull it off, and tweezers to pluck it out. Sometimes these methods can lead to irritated skin, acne breakouts, and unsightly razor bumps. Laser hair removal is an effective, non-invasive, and favored treatment used by many men and women to remove unwanted body hair. The specialists at the Dermatology Center of Arcadiana in Lafayette, Louisiana are available to help you with all your hair removal needs.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is a treatment that uses laser light pulses to destroy hair follicles to prevent the growth or regrowth of hair in the target area. The lasers work by targeting the melanin within the follicle and burning the follicle away. The hair’s follicle pigment absorbs the laser’s light pulse, damaging the follicle enough to slow down hair regrowth significantly. The results can last several months, several years, or can eliminate hair growth permanently for some people. A majority of patients who receive this treatment will need the occasional maintenance treatment later.
Who Can Receive the Treatment?
Laser hair removal is safe for both men and women of all ages, but results may vary depending on the skin’s condition, skin tone, hair condition, and hair type. Since the lasers target the melanin in the follicle, coarse hair, dark hair, and lighter skin tones respond most effectively to this treatment. The lasers may have difficulty with red-colored hair and grey colored hair on lighter skin tones because it can not easily differentiate between the color of the hair and the skin that surrounds it. Likewise, darker skin tones with dark-colored hair are also tricky for the lasers to detect.
For each case where skin tone and hair color create challenges for the lasers, there should be a professional dermatologist or licensed skincare professional overseeing the treatment process and progress. These cases may also require more treatment sessions than usual before the patients see the results.
What Are the Advantages Over Shaving, Plucking, or Waxing?
The most significant advantage that laser hair removal has over alternative treatments is the practical, long-lasting results. Though it is a treatment that requires multiple sessions, over time hair will be reduced significantly or even permanently eliminated. This treatment is safe, so virtually anyone can take advantage of it, and there is no recovery downtime after the treatment session is complete.
Waxing, shaving, and plucking the hair will require never-ending treatments every one to four weeks, on average, because the hair’s ability to grow back remains unaffected by these methods. Waxing and plucking the skin can also cause significant damage to the skin’s surface with burns, irritation, ingrown hairs, and even scarring. Shaving may cause unsightly razor bumps or painful cuts that can scab over or scar.
What Areas of the Body Can Be Treated?
You can treat any area on your body that has hair. The most common areas that people target are the hard-to-reach places where their hair grows faster than they can keep up with. Being able to find a longer-lasting or permanent solution is more convenient for many people. Areas that get treated most often include:
- Genital and anal regions
How Long Does the Treatment Take?
The time needed to perform the hair removal treatment will vary from patient to patient. The time it will take to complete the treatment will depend on the patient’s needs, goals, and the condition of the skin. These variables include any dermatological restrictions, how large the target area is to work with, how easy it is for the technician to locate the hair follicles, and what the overall condition of the skin and hair is. The Dermatology Center of Arcadiana in Lafayette, Louisiana, reports that large areas can take at least 45 minutes to complete and smaller areas can take as little as five minutes to complete.
Another advantage is that there is no recovery time needed afterward, which gives you the freedom to come in and receive the treatment and carry on with your day as usual after you finish.
How Many Treatments Are Necessary for Best Results?
Hair actively grows in one of three stages, and the laser method of hair removal only affects the hair that is actively growing. To adequately treat an area and notice the results, you will need to have at least three to six treatments, on average. Once that area is successfully laser-treated, those hair follicles can no longer grow hair as quickly as before, so you can enjoy a longer-lasting hair-free result.
It is best to consult with your dermatologist to determine how many treatments you will need and when you should have them scheduled. Some dermatologists recommend spacing your treatments out every eight to twelve weeks; others may recommend that you take a shorter interval between treatment sessions. The treatment schedule is customizable to meet the needs and goals of the patient.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Hair Removal Treatments
Do you want to improve your hair removal results? There are several things you can do easily to get the most from your hair removal treatments. Here are some expert tips to keep in mind before you start your hair removal treatment regimen:
Consult With a Professional
You should consult with your dermatologist or the skincare specialists at the Dermatology Center of Arcadiana in Lafayette, Louisiana to determine if this treatment is right for you. If they are familiar with your behaviors and history, they may make recommendations that can help improve the results of your treatment sessions. They may even help customize a plan for you.
Don’t Remove Hair by the Roots
For best results, avoid removing any hair by the root for six weeks before your first treatment session. The lasers work by targeting the hair follicles in the growth phase. By plucking or waxing the hair, you are removing the follicle temporarily, leaving nothing for the lasers to target.
Don’t Put Anything On Your Skin
When you go in for your treatment sessions, it is best not to wear any make-up, deodorant, or lotion. Keep your skin free of anything that may cover up or clog the pores or block the lasers from reaching the hair follicles.
Don’t Drink or Eat Caffeine
While optional, patients have reported that it is a good idea to avoid eating or drinking anything with caffeine in it for 24 hours before a laser-based hair removal treatment. They say that preventing the intake of caffeine for 24 hours can help reduce any discomfort one may feel during the treatment session.
Shave the Day!
For best results in your laser hair removal experience, it is best to shave the day of your treatment. When you shave your hair, you make it easier for the technician to find and target your hair follicles. When the technician can see your follicles more quickly, it makes the treatment more effective and reduces how long it takes to complete the session.
During your consultation, tell your dermatologist about any medications you take before receiving any laser hair removal treatments. They may recommend that you avoid using certain acne medications or exfoliating agents such as Retin-A or beta hydroxyl acids at least one week before and after each treatment. They may also suggest different options for you to use so you can proceed with your hair removal treatment and maintain a healthy skincare regimen.
While in your consultation, be sure to tell the dermatologist if you have experienced:
- A tendency to scar or burn
- A recent tan
- A keloid or raised scar
- Frequent outbreaks of cold sores or genital herpes
No Tanning or Sun Bathing
Dermatologists recommend that you avoid tanning or exposing treated areas of the skin to the sun for extended periods. For these treatments, you want your skin to be as light as it can be so the lasers can better differentiate between your skin and the hair follicle. You should wear SPF 40+ sunscreen for at least two weeks after each session because sunburns will leave your treated skin irritated.
Exfoliate Your Skin
Dermatologists recommend that you gently exfoliate the treated area after each treatment using a washcloth or gentle exfoliating shower gel. Try to avoid using things that are too abrasive, such as a loofah or sugar scrubs. They recommend gentle exfoliation because it is common for you to notice some hair growth after each treatment session; this is a process known as “hair shedding,” and a soft washcloth will help remove it.
Wear Only Light Colors
If you plan to get laser hair removal on your bikini line, dermatologists highly recommend that you wear light-colored underwear or bikini bottoms. Because the dark colors absorb the laser’s light, the dark fabrics may create undesired results in your treatment.
Unfortunately, you can’t avoid sweating all the time. However, if it is possible, avoid performing strenuous sports or activities for at least three days after each treatment. You should also avoid soaking in hot baths, saunas, or jacuzzis for at least three days after each treatment. The heat and sweat may irritate your treated skin.
Finally, you need to keep in mind that this treatment works quicker and lasts longer than its alternatives; but it still takes time. Because this treatment works primarily on hair that is actively growing, you may not see results until you have had between four and six treatment sessions. Dermatologists recommend that you have a six to eight-week break between treatment sessions to allow your skin to shed all the targeted hair.
Questions to Ask Your Dermatologist
If you want to ensure that your treatment will meet your needs or expectations, it is best to consult with a professional board-certified dermatologist or medical skincare specialist. Here are a few questions to consider during your consultation:
- Who will perform the hair removal treatment?
- How many laser treatments has the technician performed on people with my skin tone?
- How many laser treatments will I need?
- What results can I expect?
- What will I need to do before getting the treatment?
- What are the potential side effects?
- May I see before-and-after photos?
- How much will the treatment cost?
Schedule Your Consultation Today!
Are you interested in receiving laser hair removal treatment? Do you want to learn more about this treatment and if you are the right candidate? Contact the Dermatology Center of Arcadiana in Lafayette, Louisiana, today, and schedule a consultation!