Laser hair removal uses lasers to target hair follicles. The way this works is simple in nature: a concentrated beam of light targets the area on the body where hair removal is desired. A precise process, light from the laser is absorbed into the hair.
Absorption occurs due to the hair’s pigment.
This is why different skin tones are not optimal for laser therapy. Darker skins have darker pigmentation that would absorb the light of the laser and cause skin discoloration or scarring. Darker pigments, like those found in hair, absorb the light of the laser, resulting in the light heating up inside of the hair and targeting the root of the follicle.
Retardation of the follicle occurs, resulting in lesser hair in the targeted area. Full hair removal can occur, but most people will experience minimal hair growth after 6 months. Routine treatments or touchups will allow this growth to be halted.
Lasers allow for large patches of hair to be targeted at one time. Before any treatments are performed on a large area of the body, testing a small patch of hair to test sensitivity is recommended. This will allow you or the clinic to witness how your skin reacts to laser treatments.
Several Treatments Are Needed
The amount of time between treatments depends on the type of treatment conducted. At-home lasers are milder than the lasers found in clinics, so treatment can be performed every 2 weeks, or as directed on the device.
Treatments at a clinic are normally 4 – 6 weeks apart.
Hair grows in two phases: active growth and inactive growth. Throughout the year, every 2 – 4 weeks or so, different hairs will enter into the active phase, or the optimal time for laser therapy. Hairs not in the active phase do not respond to treatments.
Naturally, only 15% of your hairs will be active at any given time, so numerous treatments are necessary.
The number of treatments required to slow growth will vary from 6 – 8 on average. This is just enough time to treat all hair follicles one time. Normally, people start to notice a significant reduction in hair growth after the third treatment is completed.
There is never a guarantee of permanent hair removal, but lessening growth will be achieved. At-home methods will require frequent maintenance treatments that are performed once a month on average. Again, this duration will change depending on your device, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Clinic removal requires maintenance once every 6 – 12 months.
While highly effective, clinics charge $1,000s to perform treatments. At-home methods can be just as effective, albeit a little slower for results to be seen.
Following treatment, redness, itchiness or irritation may occur. It’s recommended to ice any red or swollen areas and to avoid swimming or tanning at this time. The skin should heal very quickly, with most people’s skin back to normal within 1 – 2 days.
You’ll notice that many hairs fall out on their own and when you take a shower.
The following days and weeks should be pain-free, and you’ll start to notice hair thinning.