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How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser hair removal is a safe and effective way to remove unwanted hair. It works by using heat from a laser to destroy the hair follicles and prevent them from growing hair in the future.

A medical professional typically performs it. They will assess your skin tone and choose the best laser for you.

laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is a safe, effective way to reduce unwanted hair permanently. The laser’s heat kills the hair follicle and prevents it from growing new hair. It is less painful than plucking, tweezing, or waxing. However, it is not a permanent procedure; hair usually regrows, and multiple treatments are needed. The treatment is performed by an experienced practitioner who wears protective goggles to shield your eyes from the laser light. A cooling gel or a device that blows cool air might be used to protect your skin and reduce any discomfort.

Before your session, trim and shave the area to be treated. Shaving removes surface hair and will allow the laser to reach the pigment (color) of the hair follicle. The procedure works best for people with dark hair and light skin, because the contrast between the two colors makes it easier for the laser to target the follicle and not the surrounding skin. It may not be as effective for blond, red, or gray hair.

During your treatment, the practitioner will press the tip of the laser instrument against the skin to start the process of killing the hair follicles. This feels like a warm pinprick and is not as uncomfortable as waxing. Some people experience a little bit of redness or swelling after the treatment. It is important to avoid sun exposure after laser treatment, as well as to use sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30.

When your hair grows back, it will enter the catagen or transitional phase. During this short phase, the hair will shrink and break away from its dermal papilla, which supplies it with nutrients. The follicle then regresses into the resting or telogen phase and will no longer grow hair. This is why laser hair removal requires repeated sessions to ensure that all the follicles have been killed or regressed and can no longer produce new hair.

Once a follicle enters the telogen phase, it can take years for it to grow new hair. During this time, it is possible to perform maintenance treatments, which are more focused on targeting the specific hairs that have grown in.

Preparing for Laser Hair Removal is a critical step in ensuring that the treatment will be effective and safe. Your doctor will review your medical history and assess the area to be treated. Then, they will design a treatment plan that is best for you. During this consultation, your doctor will also provide you with specific instructions to promote healing and optimize your results. This may include avoiding direct sun exposure, using sunscreen, and keeping the treatment area clean and moisturized.

You should also avoid sunless skin creams that darken the color of your skin, and any other methods of hair removal such as plucking, waxing or electrolysis. You should also avoid blood-thinning medications like aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs. You should also shave the treatment area the day before your laser hair removal appointment. Shaving removes surface hair that can interfere with the laser light’s ability to target the pigment of the hair follicle.

Before the treatment, you should also gently exfoliate your skin. It is important that you do this carefully because too much friction can cause cuts in the skin. These cuts can make the treatment painful and ineffective. After your treatment, it is important to use a gentle cleanser and lotion on the treated area. It is also important to avoid sun exposure and tanning beds for at least two weeks after your session.

During the treatment, you will be given protective goggles to protect your eyes from the laser light. Then, your technician will apply a cooling gel or another device to the treatment area before the laser pulse is delivered. Most people compare the sensation to a warm pinprick. You should not feel any pain during the procedure, but you will experience temporary redness and swelling after treatment.

Once the laser targets the pigment of the hair follicle, it destroys the follicle and prevents future growth. However, some hair will still regrow, as not all follicles are destroyed successfully during the first treatment session. This is why a series of treatment sessions are necessary for the most effective results.

When the laser beam is activated, it passes through your skin to reach the hair follicles below. The pigment in the follicles absorbs the light energy, which converts to heat and disables the follicle from producing future hair growth. A few treatments over a period of time are necessary for permanent hair reduction. Depending on the area being treated, your sessions might take only a few minutes or up to an hour.

Prior to your session, you should shave the area that will be treated. This will create a stubble that allows the laser to target the hair follicles and prevents the skin from absorbing too much energy. You should also avoid waxing, tweezing, or plucking the hair in the treatment area. You may be given a topical numbing cream to apply to the area, which will lessen the discomfort associated with the pulses of laser light that are delivered during the procedure. You should wear protective eyewear as the technician operates the laser equipment.

During the treatment, you’ll feel a slight sensation like a rubber band snapping against your skin with each laser pulse. The pulses of light are quick and painless, although some areas are more sensitive than others. After each pulse of the laser, you’ll feel a cooling device or gel being applied to the area that was treated.

A good laser technician will adjust the laser according to your hair color, skin tone and body location. They will use a spot size, which refers to the width of the laser beam, and fluence, which measures the amount of energy that is transferred to the target area. They will also evaluate your medical history and note any hormone imbalances that might affect your results.

Because your hair grows in cycles, you will need regular maintenance sessions to keep your unwanted hair from regrowing. For facial hair, you might need to come in for a touch-up every four weeks, while body hair might require more frequent sessions. However, if your desired outcome is permanent hair reduction, then you can expect to require fewer and longer sessions over time.

Laser hair removal is a safe and effective procedure when done by a professional at a reputable clinic like However, it is still a treatment that requires some aftercare for maximum effectiveness. Proper skin care can extend the time between laser treatments, help prevent side effects, and keep your skin smooth and healthy for as long as possible.

For the week following a laser treatment, avoid direct sun exposure and use sunscreen generously whenever you go outside. This is important as the treated skin will be prone to sunburn and pigmentation changes.

A cooling compress or aloe vera applied to the treated area can be used to soothe the skin and alleviate any pain or discomfort that might arise as a result of treatment. Mild redness and swelling are common after a laser treatment, but should subside with time. Avoid picking at or scratching the skin, as this can lead to scarring.

During the first four weeks after a laser treatment, you might experience a period of stubble or blackheads on the skin as hairs that were only partially grown at the time of your treatment begin to shed. Exfoliating the affected skin a few times per week will accelerate this process and diminish the appearance of these sporadic growths.

After the initial four-week period, it is important to only shave the area you have had treated as waxing, plucking and threading will interfere with the effectiveness of future laser sessions. Shaving only trims the hair and does not destroy the root, which is necessary for the laser to reach it during a session.

It is also advisable to avoid using any other cosmetic body treatments such as CoolTone muscle toning or electrolysis on the areas you have had laser hair removal performed. The laser targets the pigment in these hair follicles, which may affect the results of these other treatments. If you are unsure of what treatment to use on an area of your body, consult with the practitioner that performed your laser treatment.