Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure of removing unwanted hair by means of a laser beam. Highly concentrated light is directed into the follicles of the hair. The pigments in the follicles soak up the light which then results in destroying the hair. It may require multiple sessions with certain period of gaps until the hair stops growing.
The most common areas of hair removal in the body are – face, shoulders, chest, arms, underarms, legs, and bikini area. Any part of the body with unwanted hair can also be treated with laser.
Laser hair removal is not permanent as some may assume but, it reduces the number of unwanted hair. Once the hair follicles are treated with light beams, they stay in a state of dormancy for a long time and when the hair grows back, it becomes lighter, fewer, and finer.
It is estimated that 10 - 25% of your hair will be reduced after the initial session and will eventually reduce. It takes longer for the hair to grow back unlike waxing and, shaving.
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Types of Laser hair removal machine
Some of the most common types are listed below:
- IPL hair remover – good for lighter skin and darker hair targeting on the pigment of the hair follicle
- Nd:YAG Laser – best for dark skin as it has the longest wavelengths among the other lasers. This means it can destroy hair from the very bottom of the shaft
- Alexandrite Laser – suitable for a wide range of skin, best for olive skin and the quickest method among all, owing to its increased spot size and repetition rate
- Diode Laser – best for fair to medium skin, emitting shorter and longer wavelengths with good absorption of melanin
- Ruby Laser – it has a higher melanin absorption rate making it most suitable for very fair skin with fine or light hair
- Consult with a doctor based on experience in hair removal, training and certification, and your comfort level
- Your doctor will discuss the best option for you
- During your initial consultation, discuss your cosmetic goals with your doctor
- Inform your doctor of all previous surgeries and/or medical history
- Inform your doctor of all allergies and current medications
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- Avoid tweezing, waxing, shaving, and electrolysis 45 days before the procedure as they can eliminate the hair root which the laser beams intend to destroy
- Avoid tanning and sunless tanners at least one month before the procedure
- Avoid sunlight at least 6 weeks before the procedure as direct sunlight makes it less effective
- A patch test will be done to determine your suitability and type of treatment
- The hair that under procedure will be trimmed a few millimeters above your skin surface
- Oral medication may be prescribed by your doctor.
- Depending on the area of treatment, it may take a minute or so (for theunder arms) to more than an hour depending on the location
- You will be given a protective eye wear depending on the area being treated and the laser used
- The laser equipment is adjusted according to the location, colour, and thickness of your hair as well as your skin colour
- An ultrasound gel is used in the area to cool and protect the skin
- A hand-held laser devise is used in the area and the area is observed to check for best settings and any sign of reaction
- Once the doctor is satisfied with the setting and response, the procedure is further carried out for the area
- Once it is completed, you will be given ice packs, anti-inflammatory lotions or creams, or cold water to easy any discomfort.
- You may experience some redness or swelling in the affected area
- You may use cool compressors or lotions
- You may use make-up if your face does not have blisters
- Over the next month, the hair that is being treated will start falling out
- Avoid direct exposure of the treated area to sunlight
- Make sure you put on your sunscreen lotion especially on the treated area to protect and prevent temporary colour change in the treated skin.
- You may be scheduled for the next treat after 4 to 6 weeks
- A complete cycle could take 12 – 24 months with gaps in between.
Risks and complications
Fortunately, risks and complications are rare but not without it as with all surgeries. Possible complications are:
- Blistered skin
- Changes in skin colour or texture
- Increased hair growth
- Eye injury
- Allergic reactions
- Infection and bleeding
- Changes in sensation
- Unsatisfactory results that may require additional sessions
Factors affection the cost of Laser hair removal
The cost of Laser hair removal depends on the area of treatment done. Factors that affect the cost are:
- Area of treatment
- Consultation fees
- Location of the hospital
- Choice of the clinic
- Medical care