The average American woman devotes 84,126 minutes of her life (that’s more than 58 days in total) to shaving, and spends over $10,000 on related products. Seventy-five percent of men shave their faces daily, and many “manscape” the chest, back, and beyond. There is a better way to look neat and well-groomed without the daily chore of shaving, the mess of depilatory creams, or the discomfort of waxing, threading, and plucking. Laser hair removal is performed by Dr. Pamela Carr of Carr Dermatology in Sugar Land, TX.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser energy, delivered as pulses of light, is absorbed in the pigmented root of the hair. The heat generated by the light energy destroys hair follicles in the active growth phase. With each treatment, hair growth becomes thinner. Your body continues to produce some new hair follicles, so no laser treatment can get rid of 100 percent of hair permanently. Usually, though, only a touch-up session or two each year is needed to stay smooth.
What Areas On The Body Can You Get Laser Hair Removal?
The most popular areas of laser hair removal are upper lip, chin, underarms, and bikini for women. Men commonly get laser hair removal on the ears, neck, and back.
What To Expect From Laser Hair Removal
Because the laser targets color, the ideal candidate has a lighter skin with contrasting dark hair growth. However, Dr. Carr has advanced laser equipment to safely and successfully treat most situations. Laser hair removal should be done when your skin is at its lightest – it is important not to tan before an appointment. Laser energy targets the hair root, not the shaft, so feel free to shave, but please do not wax, pluck, or thread before treatment.
At your laser session, hair is trimmed to a few millimeters above the skin surface. The technician adjusts the laser for your hair color and thickness, and the body area being treated. The device is passed over the treatment area, while a cooling feature keeps skin temperature comfortable.
How Many Laser Hair Removal Sessions Will I Need?
Treatment time and the number of sessions are customized for your needs. For example, underarms and bikini area typically require five to six treatments. Facial hair has a finer diameter shaft and is lighter in color than body hair, so more sessions may be needed. Simply schedule your next appointment when you see evidence that another growth cycle is beginning.
Laser removal can be a timesaving and cost-effective way to achieve permanent hair reduction.
What Is Recovery Like After Laser Hair Removal?
In certified hands, no wounds are generated, so there is no downtime and no specific aftercare required. You may see some slight swelling or redness, similar to a mild sunburn, which resolves quickly. Dr. Carr will talk with you about using cold packs or a soothing cream if your skin is very sensitive. All patients should wear daily sunscreen to promote even skin tone.
What Our Patients Have To Say
“Dr. Carr has a fantastic bedside manner and makes you feel very comfortable. The staff is very very sweet, I always have a pleasant experience when I visit!”
How Many Laser Hair Removal Treatments Will I Need?
How many treatments you receive vary on several factors:
- Skin color of a person – Lighter skin types with darker hair receive fewer treatments than darker skin types.
- Laser Settings – The lower the settings, the more the treatments.
- Growth Cycle – The laser will react better to growing hair cycles than hair that is resting. That means that it is better to get laser hair removal in the middle of your growth cycle rather than at the end when the hair is done growing.
- Medical Conditions – Certain medical conditions can cause more challenges when reducing hair. You are battling not only external factors (the hair) but internal components as well. (ex: Hormones-Polycystic ovaries, and Cushing Disease)
- The size of the areas being treated
- The thickness of the air
- Discomfort tolerance of the person
What Are The Side Effects Of Laser Hair Removal?
The most common side effect of laser hair removal is swelling and redness around the hair follicle. This is especially common when hair is removed from the face. Typically, this will subside in 1-2 days.
Other Side Effects Include:
- Ingrown hairs
- Pigment change – This occurs if the laser is more drawn to the skin instead of the hair, causing it to lighten or darken the treated area. This risk is higher in darker skinned individuals.
- Laser-Induced Hypertrichosis – This is when the laser promotes increased hair growth. The risk of this occurring is very slim but individuals with darker skin tones have a higher risk of having this happen.
- Herpes – If a patient has a history of Herpes, there is a possibility of break-out when treating the upper lip or chin.
- Eye exposure – Exposure to the laser can be harmful to your eyes. Wearing goggles during the procedure protects the eyes from laser exposure
- Discomfort – Some discomfort may be experienced during the procedure, especially when treating areas with thicker hair. The laser is more attracted to thicker density hair than finer hair so you may feel more tender when treating those areas. It should never be painful (like hot grease splatter) but will feel uncomfortable (like a rubber band snap). Darker skin tones also have a higher risk of experiencing burning, crusting, weeping, infection, and scarring. These conditions can also be the result of having the laser on the wrong setting.