Ditch the Razor, Choose Laser Top 5 Questions about Laser Hair Removal ANSWERED

CHELSEY BECKER, MSN, FNP-C

CHELSEY BECKER, MSN, FNP-C

Spa Director & Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner

Whether it’s with a razor, waxing, sugaring, or tweezers….eighty percent of men and women across the globe remove facial and body hair regularly. Not a fan of these tedious, never-ending tasks? As one of the most common cosmetic treatments in the United States, laser hair removal is most definitely an option to consider. Laser hair removal is the process of hair removal through exposure to pulses of laser light that destroy the hair follicle. You can officially throw the razor out and benefit from fast, easy, personalized treatments that are the perfect match for each unique skin type.

1) Is it safe for my skin & does it hurt? 
Laser hair removal is a highly effective solution for hair removal, and is very safe when treated by a licensed professional. Never hesitate to ask questions about your provider’s experience and qualifications. Lasers offer a variety of wonderful treatment options, but can be dangerous if your provider is not properly trained and certified.

We often have patient’s ask if laser hair removal hurts. Short answer…NO! The most common sensation felt during treatment is a small pinch, almost like a rubber band being lightly snapped against your skin. The feeling only lasts a second and generally stops when the laser does. Our chiller (cooling equipment) helps to minimize discomfort and works as a great distraction tool. We use the latest laser technology available on the market today, making the treatment relatively painless.

2) Does laser hair removal work for everyone? Will it work for my skin tone? 
Laser hair removal is most effective when the hair is pigmented…meaning dark. These lasers are color-loving, meaning they cannot target white, gray, or blonde hair. The best way to know if laser hair removal is an option for you would be to come in for a consultation. Your provider will be able to do an assessment to determine if you’re a good candidate.

Whether or not laser hair removal will work for your skin tone largely depends on the laser machine being used. Some lasers can be used for laser hair removal, but weren’t specifically designed for that treatment thus making the treatment less effective and can limit the skin tones that can be safely treated. For example, BBL and IPL are light therapies that CAN be used for hair removal BUT, they are not true laser treatments. The biggest difference is that light is creating a thermal energy to multiple layers of the skin, whereas the laser targets the depth of the hair follicle only (when properly used). Here at Aurora, we use the Elite IQ laser platform which leverages Skintel®, the aesthetic industry’s only live Melanin Reader™, to offer customized laser hair removal treatments and permanently reduce unwanted hair for all skin types.

Armed with patented Skintel® technology, which measures melanin and reads specific skin types of patients allowing for real-time adjustment of treatments settings, the Elite IQ laser solves the challenges historically encountered by providers when treating men and women with darker skin types. Laser hair removal treatments are extremely customized not only with skin tone, but also depending on the cause of the hair growth. For instance, treatments will look a little different for patients who have hormone-induced hair. These patient’s absolutely have treatment options, however, they may need to be seen more often for maintenance. It’s so important to see a provider who asks all the questions and treats you according to your needs.

3) How should I prepare for laser hair removal?
We typically ask that patients shave within 24 hours of each appointment. Ideally, we don’t want the hair visible on the surface of the skin during treatment. If you have rapid hair growth, it might be best to shave the day of treatment. It is also recommended to halt any waxing or plucking for 3 to 4 weeks before treatment, and after beginning the treatment series, you would not want to wax or pluck between appointments. You can shave as often as necessary, but waxing or plucking would remove the hair follicle which is what we’re targeting with the laser. Here at Aurora, we also ask that our hair removal patients avoid prolonged sun exposure, spray tans, and sunless tanners for 2 weeks prior to treatments to help ensure that there’s no additional pigment on your skin that the laser might pick up.

How many treatments are needed & what areas can be treated?
A series of treatments is always recommended to achieve optimal results. We strongly encourage our patients to complete a series of eight treatments. This is because we need to target the hair at each point of the hair growth cycle to ensure it doesn’t grow back. It’s common to feel as though the hair is gone after the first few treatments. However, around treatments 4-6, the hair we treated in those first couple sessions will start reappearing. While finer and less dense, those hairs still need to be treated at that point. As far as frequency goes, depending on the area, treatments will span anywhere from every four to every twelve weeks (Most are 4-6). The laser we use for treatments can be used anywhere on the body including the face, back, chest, arms, underarms, bikini area and legs.

4) How long until I see results & is it permanent?
Lasers will permanently reduce the amount of hair growth. Some areas of the body will experience permanent removal of hair while other areas may need some maintenance from time to time. After each visit, hair growth will be further reduced and you will require fewer sessions. We see 15-20% hair reduction after the first treatment, and roughly an additional 10-15% reduction in each subsequent treatment, so patients often report noticeable reduction as soon as the first treatment!

If you think laser hair removal might be something you’re interested in, I highly recommend scheduling a consultation to get that one on one time with your provider to further answer any questions you might have.