Laser hair removal is also known as ‘permanent hair reduction’. It is a method of permanently eliminating unwanted hair growth from the face and body. The procedure can be done for women as well as men. If you’re troubled with unwanted or excessive hair growth that you regularly need to shave, tweez or wax, then laser hair removal may be an option worth considering. Laser hair removal is ideal for facial hair growth in women who have hormonal disturbances, for women who suffer from ingrown hair and for men who like to sport a clean hair-free skin.
How does laser hair reduction work?
Lasers for hair reduction work on the principal of selective photothermolysis. When beams of a certain wavelength of light are passed through the skin, they get selectively absorbed by the hair follicles. This heats up the follicles and eliminates them.
Which areas of the body can be treated for laser hair removal?
In women, lasers are most commonly used for removing unwanted hair from the face, underarms, bikini-line, legs and arms. Men usually approach me for beard reshaping and removal of hair from the chest, back and abdomen. All hairy areas of the body can be treated to reduce the hair growth.
How to prepare for laser hair removal?
If you are planning to undergo laser hair removal, you should avoid plucking, threading and waxing for at least 4 weeks before treatment. That’s because the laser targets the hair roots, which are temporarily removed by waxing or plucking. Shaving is ok, however, since it does not disturb the hair follicle.
What to expect during laser hair removal?
You will need to shave the area to be treated on the 6-10 hours before the procedure. During the procedure, a cooling gel is applied and the laser is moved on the skin. The procedure is painless and feels like a warm massage.
When will my next session of laser hair reduction be done?
I usually recommend my patients to drop by after 3-4 weeks to show me their hair growth in order to plan the next session. A typical interval between 1st and 2nd session is about 3-4 weeks. These intervals go on increasing as the treatment progresses. The interval between 5th and 6th session is about 3 months for facial hair and about 4-6 months for body hair.
What to expect after the procedure?
You might notice slight redness and small dots like mosquito bites for 30 to 60 minutes after laser hair removal. We generally apply Aloe Vera gel or Calamine lotion to sooth the skin if required. Make sure you use a sunscreen daily and avoid harsh sun exposure for 2 days e.g. A day on the beach or street shopping. Over the next 1 to 2 weeks you may notice tiny hair which grows and sheds off on its own.
Costs of laser hair removal
Laser hair reduction sessions are very affordable. The price varies according to the area treated.
Number of treatments required
I recommend a minimum of 6 sessions for a good treatment result. Results of laser hair removal vary greatly from person to person, and might depend on what area of the body or face is treated. After 6 sessions, maintenance treatments may be required once in 3-6 months. Most patients have permanent hair loss after 6 sessions.
Time required for each laser session
Small areas such as the upper lip can be treated in less than a minute while large areas, such as the back or full legs, may take up to an hour.
Does it work if I have a hormonal imbalance or hirsuitism?
Yes it does. If you have a history of PCO or hormonal imbalance, I will be prescribing some tests and some medications to balance the hormones before the laser sessions are started. The treatment may be slightly longer and maintenance sessions will be required.
Words of wisdom!
Laser hair removal is more than just ”zapping” unwanted hair. It is a medical procedure that requires training to perform and carries potential risks if not done correctly. Like all laser procedures, this procedure too should be done either by your dermatologist or under close supervision of your dermatologist. If a physician’s assistant or licensed nurse will do the procedure, make sure your doctor supervises and is available on-site during the treatments. Be cautious about spas, salons or commercial clinics that allow nonmedical personnel to do laser hair removal.