Laser Hair Removal - Everything You Need to Know
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Laser hair removal is a commonly sought-after aesthetic treatment that removes unwanted hair by using laser light to target the hair follicles. Achieving your desired results using laser hair removal is considered a safe and effective method, giving long-lasting hair reduction on facial hair and body hair, including areas like the upper lip, chin, legs, arms, back, and bikini line. In addition, laser hair removal technology has significantly improved over the past few decades, making the procedure safe and effective on different skin types.
Services & Products
Laser hair removal treatments are offered at medical spas, dermatology clinics, and laser centres. Choose a licensed, experienced technician using Health Canada and FDA approved laser hair removal devices. Some providers may offer complimentary consultations to determine if this procedure suits you.
Why it's done
Many people choose this procedure to achieve smooth, hair-free skin without the hassle of daily shaving or frequent waxing. It is also an excellent option for those who struggle with ingrown hairs or sensitive skin.
Laser hair removal has risks and potential side effects like any medical procedure. While serious complications are rare, knowing them before treatment is important.
Some possible side effects of laser hair removal include:
The most frequently occurring adverse effect is skin irritation, manifesting as redness, swelling, or itching in the treated area. It usually goes away within a few hours to a few days.
Pigment changes: It can cause temporary or permanent changes in skin colour, especially for those with darker skin tones. This can happen due to hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) or hypopigmentation (lightening).
Burns: Laser hair removal uses heat to destroy hair follicles; if the heat is too intense, it can burn the skin. This is more likely to occur in people with sensitive skin or areas with thin skin, such as the upper lip.
Scarring: While rare, laser hair removal can cause scarring in the treated area.
Eye injury: If the laser beam comes into contact with the eyes, it can cause serious injury, including blindness. This is why it’s essential to wear protective eyewear during treatment.
It’s important to note that these risks are minimized when a qualified and experienced technician or dermatologist performs laser hair removal. Choose a reputable provider and follow their instructions carefully to reduce your risk of complications.
How to Prepare For Your Treatment
Shaving the treatment area: You’ll likely be instructed to shave the area to be treated before your appointment. This is because the hair on the skin’s surface can absorb the laser energy, reducing its effectiveness.
Avoiding sun exposure: It’s important to avoid tanning or getting sunburned in the treatment area for at least four weeks before your appointment. This is because melanin can absorb the laser energy in the skin, which is also responsible for tanning.
Avoiding other hair removal methods: You should avoid plucking, waxing, or using depilatory creams in the treatment area for at least four weeks before your appointment. This is because these methods can remove the hair follicle, which is necessary for this procedure to be effective.
Provide your medical history and avoid certain medications: Some can increase your sensitivity to light and make the treatment riskier. Tell your provider about any medicines you’re taking, especially if they’re photosensitizing.
Arranging for someone to drive you home: The discomfort during the laser hair removal procedure depends on the specific laser used and the treatment area. Topical anesthetics or sedatives may be administered to reduce any potential discomfort. It is essential to note that such medication can affect your driving, so arranging for someone else to drive you home after your appointment is crucial.
The laser technician will then use a handheld device to deliver light energy to the targeted hair follicles. Patients may feel a slight warming or snapping sensation during the procedure, compared to the feeling of a rubber band being snapped against the skin.
It’s important to note that the sensation varies based on the individual’s pain tolerance, the treated area, and the type of laser used. Some lasers, like the Nd: YAG laser, are designed to be more comfortable for patients with darker skin tones or coarser black hair, while others may be more appropriate for patients with lighter skin and finer hair.
The technician will adjust the laser’s settings based on the patient’s skin type, hair colour, and treatment area. They will also use a special handpiece to protect the surrounding skin from the laser’s heat and prevent accidental damage.
During the Procedure
The patient will typically lie on a treatment table or chair during the procedure. The skincare technician will then apply a cooling gel or spray to the treated area to protect the skin and help reduce any discomfort. The duration of the procedure can vary depending on the size of the treated area, ranging from a few minutes to an hour.
After the Procedure
Post-treatment, temporary redness or swelling in the treated area is a typical side effect of the heat energy produced by the laser, and patients may experience this. The technician may apply a cooling gel or spray to soothe the skin and reduce discomfort.
Patients should avoid hot tubs, saunas, and strenuous exercise for the first 24-48 hours after treatment, as this can increase the risk of skin irritation. They should also avoid waxing or plucking the treated hairs, disrupting the hair follicle and interfering with the laser’s effectiveness.
It’s important to follow the technician’s aftercare instructions carefully to ensure the best results and minimize the risk of side effects. Some patients may require multiple sessions to achieve their desired results, depending on the size and density of the treated area and their hair growth cycle.
The results of laser hair removal vary based on several factors, including the patient’s skin and hair type, the treated area, and the type of laser used. After undergoing multiple treatments, individuals can anticipate a substantial decrease in hair growth within the treated region.
Many patients experience permanent hair reduction after a series of laser treatments, although some may require occasional maintenance treatments to maintain their results. The necessary number of treatments may vary depending on individual patients and the treated area’s size and density.
It is most effective on darker hair and lighter skin tones, although advances in laser technology have made it possible to treat a broader range of skin and hair types. Individuals with light or blonde hair may experience little outcomes with this treatment since the laser beam targets the pigment within the hair follicle.
Achieving smooth, hair-free skin is possible with a safe and effective method that reduces unwanted hair growth. Patients should consult a board-certified dermatologist or certified laser technician to determine if it is the right treatment option for their needs and goals.
Q & A
Q: Is laser hair removal painful?
A: Most people describe the sensation as a mild stinging or snapping, similar to a rubber band being snapped against the skin. However, many removal devices have built-in cooling systems to help alleviate discomfort— topical numbing creams for additional comfort.
Q: Is laser hair removal safe?
A: It is generally considered safe when performed by a trained and certified technician or dermatologist. However, there is a risk of burns, scarring, and skin discoloration, especially for people with darker skin tones.
Q: How long does a session take?
A: The length of a session depends on the size of the area being treated. Small areas, such as the upper lip, may only take a few minutes, while larger areas, like the legs or full body laser hair removal, can take up to an hour or more.
Q: How many laser hair removal treatments are needed?
A: The quantity of required sessions relies on various factors like the thickness of the hair, the area under treatment, and the growth phase of hair follicles specific to each individual. Multiple sessions spaced several weeks apart are typically needed for the best results.
Q: Can it be done on any body part?
A: The procedure can be done on small or large areas, on almost any body part except the area around the eyes. Common treatment areas include the legs, underarms, bikini area, back, and chest.
Q: Can laser hair removal be done on all skin types?
A: Most devices work best on people with light skin and dark hair. However, newer technologies have been developed to safely and effectively treat people with dark skin tones.
Q: How do I prepare for my first session?
A: Before your session, you will be asked to avoid waxing or plucking in the treatment area and to avoid sun exposure. Shaving the treatment area the day before is also recommended to allow the laser to target the follicles better.
Q: What should I expect after my session?
A: Some redness and swelling may occur in the treatment area, but this typically subsides within a few hours. Protecting the treated area from sun exposure and using sunscreen for a few weeks following the laser hair removal session is essential.
Q: Are there any side effects to laser hair removal?
A: Common side effects include redness, swelling, and mild discomfort. In rare cases, burns, blisters, or changes in skin pigmentation may occur. Choosing a qualified and experienced technician or dermatologist is important to maximize safety and minimize the risk of side effects.
Q: How long do the results last?
A: While the procedure is often called permanent hair removal, it is considered permanent hair reduction, as future hair growth may occur. Therefore, to get long-term results, maintenance treatments may be needed to maintain the desired level of hair reduction.
Book Your Complementary Consultation Today
If you’re interested in achieving smooth, hair-free skin, consider booking a free consultation with Laser Skin Clinic today. Laser hair removal Toronto and Richmond Hill clinics offer top-notch services in hair removal and other skin care treatments. We specialize in laser services and use the gold standard Cynosure Elite iQ with Skintel technology. We can develop an ideal treatment plan based on your skin, hair colour, and desired treatment area and answer any questions or concerns you may have.