How Is Laser Hair Removal Done?
Laser hair removal is done with a hand-held device attached to the main machine. It works by beaming very concentrated light into hair follicles. The hair follicles have a pigment that absorbs the light and this destroys the hair.
The laser hair removal device pulses light at a fraction of a second and it can treat a number of hairs at the same time. This means the laser can treat an area the size of a penny every second, meaning that areas such as the upper lip can be treated in less than a minute. Larger areas, such as the back or legs can take up to an hour.
How To Prepare for Laser Hair Removal
The process of laser hair removal is much more that simply ‘zapping’ your unwanted hair. It’s actually a medical procedure that should be undertaken by qualified technicians. Whilst there are usually minimal side-effects, it’s important to have experts do the laser hair removal procedure as they know exactly how to position the device and how quickly to move it to ensure a painless and effective treatment.
If you are thinking about having laser hair removal treatment, then you need to stop waxing, plucking and electrolysis for at least six weeks before having the treatment. This is essential because the laser is targeting the hair root and these are removed by plucking and waxing.
It is also important to avoid exposure to the sun for six weeks before and after the laser hair removal treatment. This is because exposure to the sun makes laser hair removal less effective and also can cause complications after the treatment.
What Happens During A Laser Hair Removal Treatment?
The first thing is that the hair undergoing treatment is trimmed to a few millimeters above the skin’s surface. The laser hair removal equipment is then adjusted according to your hair type – the colour, thickness and location as well as the colour of your skin.
Depending on which type of laser is being used, both you and the technician will need to wear the appropriate eye protection. You skin will also be treated with a special cooling device or cold gel which helps the laser light penetrate your skin.
The technician will then test a small part of the treatment area and wait for several minutes to ensure that the settings are right and that there are no bad reactions.
Once the procedure is complete, you may be given anti-inflammatory creams or lotions, ice packs or cold water to ease any discomfort you may have.
How Long Between Treatments?
It’s usual to wait between four and six weeks between treatments as this gives time for your skin to settle and get back to normal before going through more laser hair removal. You will be able to get treatments until your hair stops growing. This varies between people, but it’s usual (depending on the part of the body) for this to take between 3 and 7 treatments.
Recovery and Risks
For a few days afterwards you may feel like you’ve got sunburn of the area that has been treated with laser hair removal. Common sense remedies like cool compresses and moisturisers will help with this. If you’ve had your face treated you’ll be able to wear makeup the next day unless your skin has blisters – which is unlikely.
The treated hair will fall out over the next month. It’s also advisable to wear sunscreen over the treated area for the next six weeks to prevent temporary changes in the colour of your treated skin.