- 7 Laser Hair Removal Questions, Answered
- Buyer Beware: The Facts About Laser Hair Removal
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Dermatologists Debunk Common Misconceptions About Laser Hair Removal; American Academy of Dermatology
- Laser Hair Removal: Permanent or Temporary Fix?
- How long does laser hair removal last?
- How many sessions does it take?
- Does it really last forever?
- Am I a good candidate for laser hair removal?
- Can I have it done anywhere on my body?
- Is there any downtime?
- How should I prep for treatment?
- Should I switch up my products?
- Laser Hair Removal Pre- & Post-Treatment Care
7 Laser Hair Removal Questions, Answered
Never shaving again seems like an impossible dream, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to retire the razor for good and still have silky soft legs, a hair-free underarm with no work, or a bare bikini line with zero maintenence?
Open up discount apps and sites like Groupon and you’ll find hundreds of laser hair removal centers that promise to make that dream come true-all for the low price of $40 to $100! But is laser hair removal something you should really be buying on a group discount site? After all, it’s technically a medical procedure, even if it’s not as major as open heart surgery.
“Groupons are okay for laser hair removal, so long as you follow a few basic rules,” says Jennifer Lee, M.D., a Tennessee-based dermatologist and clinical assistant professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Always research the center you’re purchasing from (check their website and Yelp to find out if they’re doctor-run and if other people have had good experiences); be wary of generic chains: “If something does happen, how will you be able to contact the doctor or the person who performed your procedure?”; and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If most options are priced at $100, and one is just $40, that’s probably not a good sign.
But what else should you know before saying buh-bye to shaving for good? Lee gave us the lowdown on what you need to know before laser hair removal.
Is It Permanent?
Laser hair removal is permanent hair reduction, not permanent hair removal. According to Lee, it’s not uncommon for patients to require maintenance treatments once a year, even after the area has been fully treated. The reason: The laser targets and destroys your current hair follicles, but new follicles can develop thanks to hormonal changes or shifts in weight.
What Are the Risks?
“The biggest risk with lasers is eye damage,” Lee explains. “Both you and the person operating the laser should be wearing goggles specific to the type of laser that’s being used.” Other risks include blistering, scarring, and burns that can discolor your skin. “It’s normal for there to be some redness and swelling, but if you’re getting burned or blistered, then the technician is using the wrong type of laser for your skin type,” Lee says.
Does It Hurt?
The procedure hurts-but not a lot. “It stings,” Lee says. “It’s universally described as a rubber band snapping against your skin.” But it only stings for a millisecond-the time it takes for the laser to target your hair follicle and zap it away (of course, this means that it will sting for each hair follicle zapped). While your skin may be a little red and puffy after the procedure, you shouldn’t feel any pain in the area by the time you leave the office, Lee says. (Don’t miss: The Bizarre History of Hair Removal.)
Do I Need to Go to a Doctor Or Is It OK to Hit Up a Spa?
While you don’t necessarily need to go to a doctor’s office for this procedure, you do need a doctor present. Lee suggests looking for a med-spa or a laser hair removal center that’s run by a doctor in one of the four core aesthetic specialties: dermatology, plastic surgery, ENT (or otolaryngology), or ophthalmology. “Doctors from these core specialties are required to understand the different lasers in residency and on their board exams, while non-core doctors are not,” Lee says.
Because laser hair removal is all about choosing the right laser for your skin type, the doctor should also be the one to examine you and determine which laser is best. I went to a doctor-run facility for a consultation, and the technician wanted me to consult a nurse practitioner over Skype-Lee says this is a big no-no. “Some medications, such as antibiotics, can make your skin sensitive to the laser,” Lee says. “A doctor will know what drugs you can’t take while getting laser hair removal done, and they need to talk to you and examine you in person.”
Will It Work on My Skin Type and Hair Color?
Laser hair removal works on almost every skin type-from very light-skinned people (or what’s known as Type I on the Fitzpatrick scale, a skin-typing test) all the way up to Type V or even VI (which is dark skin), Lee says. Some terminology to know: Light-skinned people will usually receive treatment from an Alexandrite or Diode laser, while darker-skinned people will receive treatment from an Nd:YAG laser.
Blonde, gray, or light red hair is difficult to treat, Lee says. If the facility you’re looking into advertises lasers that work on every hair color, they’re probably using Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to remove lighter hair. “IPL emits a broad spectrum of light, which means it’s not as ‘smart’ as a laser,” Lee says. “It’s more difficult to target the hairs with a broad spectrum, so IPL has a higher risk of causing burns.” Blondes and redheads need to do extra research to ensure that the facility they choose is experienced with IPL.
How Long Does It Take?
The actual procedure time depends on the area being treated. Each hair follicle is zapped in a millisecond, so a small area (such as the armpits) will take less than five minutes to complete, while a larger area (such as the legs) might take a half hour.
As for the amount of time you’ll need before you’re completely hair-free, Lee suggests five to six treatments. “Be wary of a Groupon that tries to sell you a huge bulk package of laser treatments,” she says. “Most people see drastic reduction after three or four treatments, and six is probably the maximum number of treatments you need on any one area. Any Groupon for, say, 10 treatments is either ripping you off or providing sub-par care to drag your treatments out.”
Where Should I Remove Hair?
The only place you must avoid is around the eyes-eyebrows (including a unibrow), upper cheeks, and temples will need to be tweezed or waxed for the rest of your life-because of the risk of eye damage from the laser. But everywhere else gets the green light, Lee says.
“Definitely get your armpits done, and your bikini line if you want it,” she says. “I know a lot of women are going full Brazilian these days, but I’ve heard from several older patients that there might be a time when you’re older, and after you’ve had kids, that you’ll want a little hair coverage down there…because everything will be sagging.”
- By Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Many people struggle with unwanted hair. Lots of women get sick of shaving all the time and waxing or bleaching can be very irritating to your skin.
The No No Hair Removal System claims to give you no hair with no pain and no hassle.
But does it really do that?
It’s one of the more expensive products we’ve tested, and the cost is the thing that has many of our viewers hesitant before they plunk down their money and give it a try.
No No claims to give you spa-like hair removal results at home by using a device with thermicon technology that takes heat down to the follicle to not only remove the hair, but also inhibit future growth.
That would be great, if it works, right?
“I have hair in a lot of places that I would love to be lighter or gone, so I would love to try it because I’ve done a lot of bleaching and waxing, and that would irritate my skin a lot,” Julie Brain said.
Brain has had her eye on the No No for quite a while, but some negative reviews she read and the price have stopped her from pulling the trigger.
“I’m excited to give it a try,” Brain said. “I’m very desperate for it to work.”
The commercial claims it will work quickly, effectively and safely.
The No No system comes with the device itself, a charger, different tips for body and face, buffing pads for body and face and a quick-start guide that’s geared to helping you using is in ten minutes.
Be aware, you do have to charge the unit for at least five hours, preferably overnight, before the first use. The green bars show it’s fully charged.
Julie decides she wants to try legs and arms first, so she chose the wide tip, lined up the posts, and snapped it into place.
The No No has three treatment levels. The directions tell you to start with the lowest level and move up. In terms of how to use it. The directions stress the word, “glide.”
Eager to get started, Julie goes to work on a leg.
The gliding wasn’t very easy going at first as Julie worked to get the angle and pressure needs to keep the blue light steadily lit.
She also kept seeing little puffs of smoke and right away, the smell of burned hair. All of that is completely normal, according to the directions.
On the arm, it was still jumpy with more smoke, more burned hair smell, but no pain.
Julie agreed to give the No No a try over a period of three times a week for three weeks.
KDKA-TV’s Jennifer Antkowiak went back a little more than three weeks later to see what kind of results Julie was seeing.
“In three weeks, if I wouldn’t have shaved before, I probably would have looked like a monkey, but I don’t look like a monkey,” Julie said.
Julie said she’s noticed definite results in the time it takes for hair to grow back and in the amount and texture of the hair that does come back.
She points out that the directions say you need to have patience to use the No No to get used to using it and to wait for the best results. She admitted at times she wanted to give those legs a swipe with the razor, but she refrained.
“My legs are actually smooth now, and the hair that’s there it doesn’t feel like it would if I wasn’t using this,” she said.
Julie said she spends about 15 minutes on each leg.
She was especially excited about trying it on her face, which had been really irritated by waxing and bleaching. She showed us how she works around the angles on her face, going against the direction of hair growth and she’s happy with results there.
The directions warn to be careful over curvy areas so you don’t burn your skin. Julie did have an accident around her knuckle.
“It kind of sucked in my skin, but it was really fast. It was a like a quick second, but it burned, and it hurt. I’m not wearing my ring because it’s irritated,” Julie said.
The burn didn’t stop Julie from wanting to continue using the No No. She said she’s excited by the progress she’s seen.
So, does it really do that?
“I think it does really do that, it just takes time and effort and energy and persistence and really wanting to do it,” Julie said.
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Laser hair removal is one of our most popular treatments as it allows our patients freedom from daily hair removal. Commonly treated areas include the armpits, legs, arms, bikini area, back, chest, and the face. Laser Hair Removal treatments provide our patients with long-term hair reduction.
How laser hair removal treatments work: Lasers send specific, controlled pulses of light through the skin that are absorbed by the melanin (pigment) present in hair follicles. This energy is converted to heat, which then destroys the hair follicle (without harming the surrounding tissue) and significantly slows down their ability to re-grow hair. Since hair grows in cycles, the number of treatments varies by patient skin type, hair color, and hair coarseness. But it typically takes about 6 to 8 treatments, spaced every 4 to 8 weeks. Additionally, annual touch-ups may be required to keep you completely hair free.
“Not all lasers for hair removal are created equal. The practice offers only the best lasers with clinically proven results that are permanent.”
— Dr. Dennis Gross
No matter what reason a patient may be seeking out more permanent hair removal, lasers—administered by our extensively trained staff are safe and effective options that can treat both large and small areas of unwanted hair.
Buyer Beware: The Facts About Laser Hair Removal
If you’re considering laser hair removal, consider this: It’s not always a sure thing. “Hair removal lasers aren’t like point-and-shoot cameras,” says Roy Geronemus, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. The results can be great, but if you’re treated with the wrong laser or if it’s on the wrong setting, you won’t get the maximum hair reduction (there’s no such thing as total removal). And you might end up with burns, hyperpigmentation, even increased hair growth (this phenomenon may be seen in darker-skinned women who are being treated on the face, but the risk can be reduced by using a longer-wavelength laser). Many state medical boards allow nonphysicians to use lasers, and there’s little oversight of the many aestheticians performing treatments. For the most reliable results, see a dermatologist (who will charge you an average of $500 for one treatment). But wherever you go—a derm, a medispa, a gynecologist—be sure to ask these questions before “Where do I sign?”
1. How many lasers are on the premises, and are they rented or owned? The more lasers a doctor or medispa has access to, the greater the likelihood you’ll be treated with the safest, most effective one for your skin color and hair type. Be wary if machines are rented: Chances are the outfit is doing only a few procedures a month.
2. What lasers do you use for hair removal, which one is best for my skin, and why? The doctor or technician should be able to articulate why a particular laser is the best match for you (taking into account your skin tone, hair texture, and color) and any potential complications. Geronemus, whose practice owns more than 50 lasers, uses the alexandrite laser for hair removal most often; the diode and nd:Yag lasers are particularly effective as well. Intense pulsed light machines can also remove hair, but only on light skin, and the quality of those machines can vary.
3. How many laser hair removal treatments have you performed? There’s no standard “laser hair removal certification,” so this is the best way to gauge a person’s experience level. The answer should be at least a few hundred.
4. How many sessions will I need? The average number of visits necessary to see permanent hair reduction is four to six—but some people respond well in two sessions, and others need a dozen. That is why a “package deal” offered for laser hair removal is often more advantageous for the doctor or technician than for the patient.
5. Can you treat me if I have a tan? If the answer is yes, head the other way. “The only way to treat tanned skin without causing burns is to use such low settings that treatment wouldn’t be effective,” says Ranella Hirsch, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Dermatologists Debunk Common Misconceptions About Laser Hair Removal; American Academy of Dermatology
November 26, 2018 14:00 ET | Source: American Academy of Dermatology
ROSEMONT, Ill., Nov. 26, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — When performed by a doctor, laser hair removal is a safe, effective and permanent solution for removing unwanted face and body hair. This clinically tested, FDA-approved treatment has been around since the mid-1990s and is a very common procedure among young adults ages 20 to 45. However, the results don’t occur overnight, say dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology, and in inexperienced hands, laser hair removal can be dangerous. Performed improperly, the treatment can result in burns, permanent skin color changes and even scars. To reduce the risk of possible side effects and ensure an effective treatment, the AAD recommends that consumers only seek laser hair removal from a medical doctor who is extremely skilled in using lasers and has in-depth knowledge of the skin.
“Because of its popularity, laser hair removal might seem like a procedure that anyone can do, but in the wrong hands, it can cause serious skin damage,” says board-certified dermatologist Carolyn I. Jacob, MD, FAAD, an associate clinical instructor of dermatology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “Since it’s not without risks, it’s important for people seeking laser hair removal to make sure that the person treating them is a physician. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the procedure, as a lot of misconceptions exist about what laser hair removal is and what it can and can’t do.”
To help separate fact from fiction, Dr. Jacob addresses the most common misconceptions about laser hair removal, as identified below:
- “It’s effective on blond, white, gray or red hair.” Although laser hair removal has come a long way since the mid-1990s, unfortunately, it won’t work on blonde, white, gray or red hair, as lasers that can effectively target light-colored hair haven’t been developed yet. If you have blonde, white, gray or red hair, be suspicious of any business that says it can perform laser hair removal on you.
- “If you have dark skin, you can’t have laser hair removal.” Today, laser hair removal can be performed on all skin types, as long as there is a contrast between your skin and hair color. However, since people with darker skin are more prone to burns and hyperpigmentation (dark marks), make sure the doctor treating you has experience performing laser hair removal on darker skin tones. In addition, ask what type of laser will be used, as there are specific lasers for people with darker skin tones, such as the Nd: YAG laser, which has a 1,064-nm wavelength.
- “Anyone can perform laser hair removal.” When performed by a board-certified dermatologist, laser hair removal is safe and effective, and potential side effects are rare. However, a common misconception is that anyone can perform laser hair removal, even those without a medical degree. As a result, dermatologists are seeing more and more patients visit them with complications, including burns, blisters, infections and skin lightening or darkening, after having their laser hair removal performed by an inexperienced provider. Unfortunately, these complications are sometimes permanent and result in scarring. To prevent complications, make sure your laser hair removal is performed by a board-certified dermatologist, who has the education, training and experience needed to provide the best cosmetic treatment available.
- “It’s not permanent.” To most people’s surprise, laser hair removal is permanent on most areas of the body, except for the face in women, due to hormones. This is because laser hair removal destroys the hair follicles for actively growing hair, and these follicles don’t regenerate in most body parts, like the underarms, bikini or lower legs. However, it can take six sessions or more to target all of the hair follicles while they’re in the growing stage. If the hair follicle isn’t in the growing stage or isn’t completely destroyed, the hair will continue to grow.
- “It’s for women only.” On the contrary, more men than ever before are seeking laser hair removal as a way to permanently eliminate unwanted hair, as well as issues like razor burn and ingrown hairs. Men receive treatment primarily on their faces, necks and backs, and many men turn to laser hair removal to help sculpt their beards and sideburns.
- “It hurts.” When performed by a board-certified dermatologist, laser hair removal should result in little to no discomfort and is much less painful than tweezing, waxing or getting a tattoo. However, the amount of pain a person feels is dependent on the area of the body they’re treating, as well as their pain tolerance. Patients are given the option of using a topical anesthetic before the treatment, and when this is used, laser hair removal feels like a light rubber band snapping against the skin.
“Although laser hair removal is very common, it’s important to remember that it’s a serious procedure that involves aiming a powerful laser beam at your hair follicle,” says Dr. Jacob. “To prevent complications, make sure your treatment is performed by a medical doctor who is extremely skilled in using lasers and has in-depth knowledge of the skin. If you experience any pain or discoloration after receiving laser hair removal, see a board-certified dermatologist right away.”
In recognition of National Healthy Skin Month, the AAD is reminding the public about how to find trustworthy sources of information on medical and cosmetic procedures, including laser hair removal. A board-certified dermatologist has the education, training and experience to provide the best possible medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment to patients. After earning a bachelor’s degree and medical degree, board-certified dermatologists must complete four additional years of education, including a one-year internship and three years of dermatology residency. Before seeking dermatologic care, the AAD recommends that everyone make sure their dermatologist is board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology, the American Osteopathic Association, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
To find a board-certified dermatologist in your area, visit aad.org/findaderm.
For more information on laser hair removal, visit aad.org/laserhairremoval.
About the AAD
Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 19,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the AAD on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), Instagram (@AADskin1), or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).
To view a media-rich version of this release, go to: https://aad.new-media-release.com/2018/laser_hair_removal/
Laser Hair Removal: Permanent or Temporary Fix?
Laser therapy uses high-heat laser beams as a mild form of radiation. During the process, these laser beams heat up and damage your hair follicles.
Your hair follicles are located just below the skin. They’re responsible for producing new strands of hair. If the follicles are destroyed, then hair production is temporarily disabled.
By contrast, tweezing, shaving, and waxing all remove hair above the surface. These methods don’t target hair-producing follicles.
The AAD deems the following areas as appropriate for laser hair removal:
- bikini line
- face (except for the eye area)
This form of hair removal works best with darker hair colors on light skin tones. This is because the lasers target hair melanin (color). Even if some hairs aren’t removed, the lightening of their color can reduce the appearance of hair on the skin.
Some of your hairs may also shed within a few days of your first treatment session.
Overall, laser hair removal is a relatively quick process. Smaller areas, such as the upper lip, can take just minutes. Larger areas of hair removal, like the back or chest, may take an hour or longer.
If your dermatologist applies a topical pain-relieving gel (anesthetic) first, you may expect to be at the office up to another full hour.
Despite the high success rate of laser hair removal, hair follicles eventually heal. This results in new hair production. To ensure the best results possible, you will need to undergo multiple treatment sessions.
Check out: How to treat and prevent ingrown pubic hair “
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Head to one of 4 sparkling studios in Manhattan and expect to enter an elegant, highly professional space designed to put you at ease in an uber-sophisticated atmosphere.
Don a plush gown, rest atop a soft bed, watch your favorite show and let the technicians work their magic. You can expect permanent hair loss of up to 90% during your sessions, making annoying shaving, painful waxing, and embarrassing ingrown hairs a thing of the past.
The Cynosure Elite+ laser is customizable to your skin tone and comfort level, delivering air-cooling throughout the treatment to create a painless effect that simultaneously tones and conditions the skin.
From red carpet-ready celebs to savvy New York beauty mavens in need of fast results, LaserAway is the secret to your most enviable skin…
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Thinking of trying laser hair removal? Here’s everything you need to know about the procedure before you cough up the funds necessary to go hair-free for good.
How long does laser hair removal last?
Years ago, you might have needed 10 or more sessions, plus upkeep treatments, to combat hair growth, but lasers have come a long way. Now, most people will be left hairless after an initial round of laser hair removal treatments and minimal follow-up, thanks to advancements in technology.
So how long does laser hair removal last? “There is a potential for permanent results, and many people require infrequent touch-ups,” says Estee Williams, MD. “In-office lasering is the only treatment that comes close to a full claim of permanent, long-lasting hair reduction because it attacks the hair deep in the follicle, whereas other treatments cut the hair mid-shaft.”
How many sessions does it take?
“The new technology has really changed the game.”
“I’d say 50 percent of patients are done after four treatments while 100 percent are done after eight,” says Scott Callahan, PA-C and founder of Dolce Vida Medical Spa, who uses the Venus Velocity laser for treatment.
Patients are seeing results much quicker than they used to, says Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, founder of PFRANKMD. The key to destroying the hair for good? Booking your treatments at four-week intervals. “Longer than that could delay results,” he says.
Does it really last forever?
Hormonal changes, like the ones you experience during pregnancy, can bring on new, unwanted hair growth. So don’t be surprised if, after you have a baby, you discover some patches of hair even though you went through a round of laser treatments in your early 20s.
Am I a good candidate for laser hair removal?
When laser hair removal was first introduced, it worked best on light skin. But the treatment is now effective on all skin types. “At one time, hair removal lasers didn’t work so well for people with medium to dark skin,” says Dr. Williams, who uses the Lumenis LightSheer device on patients in her practice. “Now, awareness around inclusivity and advances in technology have allowed for some of these same women to experience hair removal via laser.”
Not only is it now available for people of all skin types, but it’s also proven to be safe and effective. “In early years the lasers couldn’t treat darker skin types because there was a risk of burns, but the new technology allows us to perform the treatment on all skin types,” says Callahan.
Although the treatment is definitely more inclusive, it still isn’t for everyone. If you’re a blonde, it’s best that you skip out on a laser session. “In over 20 to 30 years there have been many studies trying to treat blonde hair, white hair, and gray hair,” says Callahan. “None of them have worked.”
Can I have it done anywhere on my body?
Coarse hair yields the best results. “The bikini line, upper lip, chin, and sideburns all see great results, but some require maintenance treatments,” says Callahan. “That’s because it doesn’t work as well on fine hair.”
Is there any downtime?
“Immediately after treatment, you’ll notice mild redness and swelling just around the hair follicle (think pink goosebumps), which is actually the desired endpoint and predicts a great response,” says Dr. Williams. “This can last up to 24 hours.”
Although some patients still compare the discomfort during the session to the feeling one gets when being snapped with a rubber band, the speed of the treatment certainly minimizes any discomfort. “The major difference with the new technology is that it’s much, much faster, so patients don’t need to endure discomfort for long,” says Callahan. “You can essentially remove all of the hair from the back in five minutes.”
How should I prep for treatment?
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Once you’ve set a date for your first treatment, hold off on your usual hair-removal routine if it involves removing hair from the root. “The laser is attracted to the follicle pigment, so you should not wax,” says Dr. Frank. But you should shave the night before your appointment. That way the laser can focus just on the root of your hair, without getting sidetracked by length.
Should I switch up my products?
Prepping for your treatment can start up to a week before and may entail switching out some of your favorite products for the time-being. “Pay attention to what you put on your skin once you’ve scheduled a treatment,” says Dr. Williams. She says to stop using the following active ingredients at least five days before your appointment: glycolic and salicylic acids, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids like tretinoin and adapalene.
One more thing to skip? “Avoid the sun entirely or, at the very least, use proper sun protection,” says Dr. Williams. “Proper protection means using broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher. Tinted moisturizer or foundation with SPF isn’t adequate.”
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Laser Hair Removal Pre- & Post-Treatment Care
Potential Side Effects
- The best way to minimize the risk of side effects is to avoid UV exposure for 7 days pre- and post- treatment.
- Avoid sunburns and tans for at least 2 weeks prior to treatment.
- Avoid sunless tanning products for 7 days before treatment.
- Provide your technician with an accurate and up to date medical history in order to receive safe and effective treatments.
- Side effects are uncommon but may include; Hyperpigmentation (darkening of skin), Hypopigmentation (loss of skin pigmentation), mild to moderate burns or blisters, permanent skin discoloration, temporary redness, follicular edema (little pink/red “puffiness and small bumps like “goose bumps”), swelling and itching in the treated area, hives, rashes, bruising, and lack of desired results.
- Clients who are pregnant cannot be treated.
- Technicians cannot treat over tattoos.
- If you have epilepsy, Simplicity is unable to provide treatment.
- The area to be treated must be clean-shaven. Unshaven clients will be rescheduled.
- Avoid UV exposure 7 days prior to your treatment.
- Clients who are sunburned or tanned must wait 2 weeks before being treated to avoid additional skin damage.
- Avoid sunless tanning products 7 days prior to your treatment. It is recommended that you exfoliate the area to remove any residual color.
- If applicable, apply numbing cream 30 to 40 minutes prior to your treatment. All products must be completely removed prior to treatment.
- Clients should come to appointments with clean skin in the area to be treated. All clients who are treating any part of their face or neck will be required to cleanse their entire face in the clinic.
- Avoid chemical peels and other laser procedures in the area to be treated for 2 weeks prior and two weeks after your laser treatment.
- Avoid all alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxyl products (AHA/BHA), hydroquinone, retinols/retinoid, Tazorac, and Differin for 7 days before treatment.
- Clients with any abnormal lesions, moles or spots on the area to be treated must be cleared by a medical practitioner prior to treatment.
- Clients must stop waxing, tweezing and chemical epilation 3 weeks prior to treatment.
- If you are prone to cold sores, it is highly recommended to take an anti-viral medication (such as Valtrex) prior to your treatment. Clients with active cold sores will not be treated.
- Clients who have used Accutane or similar products within the last 6 months CANNOT have laser hair removal treatments.
- Client should not perform any physical activity that increases body temperature or blood pressure within 2 hours before and after treatments.
- If you have Botox or dermal fillers in the area to be treated, wait 14 days both before and after injection to receive treatments.
- Antibiotics may increase photosensitivity. We recommend that you check with your personal physician prior to receiving laser treatments if you are taking a long-term antibiotic. If you become ill and begin taking an antibiotic, you will need to be off the medication for 7 days before laser treatment.
- Boots may not be worn immediately after leg treatments .
What to Expect From Your Treatment
- Check these diagrams to see exactly what will be included in your treatment areas.
- Clients with red, grey or blonde hair in the area to be treated should consult with a Simplicity Laser Technician prior to receiving treatments, as the laser is less effective on these hair colors.
- During your treatment you can expect slight discomfort, similar to a rubber-band snap on your skin. An over the counter numbing cream is available for purchase. Consult your laser technician with questions.
- You may experience slight redness, bumps, and swelling in the treated area for up to 72 hours. If these conditions persist, topical creams such as Restorative Gel (highest recommended), aloe, calamine or hydrocortisone may be applied.
- Allow a minimum of 7 to 14 days post treatment for hair to “fall out” or shed from the skin.
- On average, clients experience up to 30% reduction after each treatment.
- For best results, allow your technician(s) to customize your treatment schedule based on your needs.
- Be advised, clients may not bring children under the age of 12 to their appointments.
- Avoid extended UV exposure for 7 days post-treatment.
- If blisters occur, do not puncture. If skin is broken, apply an antibiotic ointment until healed.
- Tylenol is recommended for post-treatment discomfort.
- Over the counter medication is recommended for post treatment discomfort. You may also apply Restorative Gel (highest recommended), cool towels, ice packs or aloe vera to alleviate discomfort due to heat.
- Avoid using seat warmers immediately after treatment.
- Avoid any additional laser treatments or chemical procedures on the treated area for at least 2 weeks post-treatment or until healing has occurred.
- Using a broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 30 or higher is critical when receiving laser treatments and is recommended ongoing for maintenance.
- If you experience any side effects, such as hypo- or hyper-pigmentation, prolonged redness or swelling, a histamine reaction, or blistering, call or come in for instructions on treatment.
- To achieve the best results, complete the full treatment schedule at the intervals recommended by your technician.
- Exfoliate treated areas to minimize risk of ingrown hairs.
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of laser hair removal. The truth is, when it comes to removing body hair, you’ve got options—and you’ll want to consider all of them before making a decision. You can shave everything away quickly, but the hair grows back in a matter of days. Depilatory creams dissolve hair in minutes, but they have a tendency to smell like wet dog mixed with gasoline. If you want a more thorough hair removal, you might consider waxing or sugaring, which snatches the hair at the root. Hair doesn’t grow back for weeks, but waxing is a painful process, and it itches like hell when the hair grows back.
There are more long-lasting options, like electrolysis. Electrolysis uses a super-fine needle inserted into each hair follicle to send an electric current that kills the hair follicle. If you’re thinking it sounds painful, you’d be right and a session can be time consuming.
And that brings us to laser hair removal, a popular semi-permanent hair removal option that damages the hair follicle to minimize hair growth. “The laser detects the hair exclusively by focusing on the pigment cells that reside in the hair follicle,” Carlos A. Charles, M.D., founder of Derma di Colore, told SELF in a previous interview. Once the melanin in hair is targeted, the laser burns all the way down the hair follicle and root. After a few sessions, you can throw away your razor and cancel your waxing appointments. But before you sign up for your first session (which will be one of many), we’ve broken down the pros and cons of laser hair removal.
What are the pros?
While laser hair removal doesn’t get rid of hair forever (only electrolysis is FDA-approved for permanent hair removal), it does drastically reduce hair growth—to the point that you can stop shaving altogether.
You can get it done anywhere on the body, and the machine can cover large places fast. Legs, back, underarms, bikini line, stomach, face…There is no limit to the places you can get laser hair removal.
When it comes to pain level, laser hair removal falls somewhere between shaving (painless) and waxing (holy hell that hurts). The technicians use ice to help numb the area before and after the laser treatment. It also gets progressively less painful as treatments continue and the hair becomes finer, says Charles.
What are the cons?
It’s a long process. A session of laser hair removal on the underarms takes less than a minute. However, it takes multiple sessions to see real results (anywhere between three and eight depending on the size of the area), and you generally have to wait six weeks between treatments.
It’s expensive. If you add up how much you spend on razors or bikini wax sessions in your lifetime, it might be worth the $200-$400 per session of laser hair removal. You can think of laser hair removal as a beauty investment.
Since the contrast between the color of the skin and the color of the pigment in the hair follicle is what allows the laser to easily pick out what to target, laser hair removal works best on fair skin with dark hair and worse on darker skin. “In patients with darker skin tones the pigment-rich skin competes with the hair follicle for the laser’s attention,” says Charles. This doesn’t mean it’s not a possibility for darker skin types, but you’ll want to make sure the facility you go to is properly equipped. Certain lasers, like the Nd:YAG, are better at distinguishing between hair and skin on all skin types.
If done by an untrained technician, laser hair removal could leave burns or scars on the skin. Unfortunately, licensing procedures vary from state to state, and sometimes there are no requirements at all. Beware of “laser centers” and make sure to ask where your laser technician was certified to do the procedure. Even doctors who want to provide laser hair removal treatments need further training. “Laser treatment is not taught in medical school, so physicians performing laser treatments also need training and certification,” dermatologist Marina Peredo, M.D., told SELF in a previous interview.
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