Conditions and Treatment
Laser hair removal is used to treat unwanted hair on the face, back, bikini area, arms, underarms, and legs. It works by zapping the hair with heat. A topical anesthetic may be applied to minimize pain.
A targeted beam of light is directed through the skin into the follicle of the hair below the surface. The laser beam is converted to heat, which destroys the follicle but leaves the surrounding skin unharmed.
- Avoid tanning six weeks prior to treatment.
You must avoid tanning in the sun or with self-tanning products.
- No bleaching, tweezing, or waxing.
During the six weeks prior to your treatment.
- Apply a topical bleaching cream four to six weeks before treatment.
Only if you have a darker skin type.
- Stop shaving a few days before.
Do not shave in the days leading up to your treatment.
- Tell us if you have a history of fever blisters.
If so, you may need an antiviral medication beginning the day before treatment.
Immediately after treatment, you may experience swelling for a few hours and redness for two to three days. Your hair will begin to shed five to 14 days after treatment and can be wiped away with a wet cloth.
Avoid sun exposure and use a sunscreen at all times during the course of treatments. For six weeks after a treatment, you may shave and use depilatories, but do not wax, use electrolysis, or tweeze.
Treatments are typically scheduled at four-to-six-week intervals.
The ideal candidate for laser hair removal has pale skin and dark hair. Darker skinned individuals will require more treatments and are at a greater risk for side effects. Side effects may include pain, redness, swelling, white spots, dark spots and blistering, as well as scarring and infection.
If you are taking Isotretinoin (Accutane®), you must wait 6 to 12 months before having laser hair removal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I expect to be hair free in the treated area after the series of treatments?
No, most patients experience an 80-90% reduction in the amount of hair in a given area after the series of treatments, but should not expect to be hair free.
Laser hair removal is spoken of in terms of permanent “reduction” of hair, rather than “removal”, since removal denotes 100%. Most experience an 80-90% reduction in hair.
The laser does not remove the hair at the time of treatment. The hair will fall out, or “shed”, around 1-3 weeks after treatment.
Why doesn’t the laser work well on blonde, gray, or red hair?
The laser energy interacts with melanin or pigment in the hair root. These hair colors either do not have melanin, or the type of melanin does not respond well with the laser.
The hair root has to be present for the laser to work. Do not pluck, wax, or receive electrolysis for 6 weeks prior to treatment.
Why must tanning be avoided for 6 weeks before and after treatment?
Tanning should be avoided at all costs, as it leads to the formation of skin cancers. Melanin formation in the skin as a response to sun exposure decreases effectiveness of the treatment, and increases risk of hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation or blistering from the treatment.
Shave the areas to be treated 2-3 days before each appointment. Do not wax or use depilatories. An over-the-counter topical anesthetic cream such as LMX cream can be applied 30 minutes before the treatment to lessen discomfort. Please arrive 30 minutes early for in-office application of topical numbing cream.
What are possible side effects of laser hair removal?
Side effects can include blistering, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation or scarring. Risks of these side effects are minimized if treatment instructions are closely followed!
There is a stinging sensation felt during the treatment. Most patients report less pain with the GentleLASE than with waxing or electrolysis. Arrive early for topical numbing cream.
Yes, with the exception of eyelashes and eyebrows due to the proximity of the eye and danger of eye injury with the laser.
The GentleLASE is a high powered laser system and can cause eye injury if proper eyewear is not worn while the laser is used.
Depending on the planned treatment area, it could last anywhere from 1-2 mins to up to an hour.
The skin in the treated area will have some erythema or redness, and the hair follicles will “welt” up and appear like goose bumps on the skin for around 1-2 hours. This effect can last up to a couple of days in some patients.
Depending on the individual, the treatment parameters, and area of the body involved, it may take anywhere from 1-2 months before any re-growth is observed.
“Test areas” are small areas of skin that are treated at various laser energy levels prior to treatment of a large surface area on darker skin types. Test areas are performed on darker skin types to determine the level of energy that is best for the individual. Your practitioner will determine if a test area is best for your skin and safety!
No, laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure.