Dealing with unwanted hair is a pain, literally and figuratively. Between waxing, tweezing, shaving, electrolysis, and nasty creams, it’s as if areas of your body with unwanted hair are under siege. Laser hair removal at Saltz Spa Vitoria is so much easier, and it’s permanent!
How does laser hair removal work?
Some people assume the laser energy vaporizes the visible hair. There are two problems with that — the energy needed to do that would hurt the skin, and the hair would still grow back. The key to successful laser hair removal is damaging the hair follicle. And the key to the hair follicle is the melanin in the hair shaft.
We match the wavelength of the laser energy in our Prowave laser to the melanin in your unwanted hair. The melanin gives your hair (and your skin, too) its color. When we direct very short pulses of laser energy down onto those unwanted hair shafts, the melanin absorbs the light energy and it converts to heat. That heat travels down the hair shaft into the follicle at the base. The heat then damages or destroys the hair follicle, preventing it from producing hair in the future.
Preparing For Your Laser Hair Removal Treatment
At Saltz Plastic Surgery/Spa Vitoria, our Prowave laser works best when there is a high contrast between the color of the patient’s skin and his or her hair color. So, avoiding sun is important before your appointment. Here are some things to do to prepare:
- Avoid plucking, waxing, and electrolysis — For the laser energy to get down into the follicle, the hair needs to be actively anchored in the follicle. Plucking, waxing, and electrolysis all disturb the follicle. Shaving is fine, as it doesn’t affect hair in the follicle.
- Avoid sun exposure — If you have a tan, you need to let it fade before coming in for your session. As a rule, we advise patients to not have any sun exposure on the areas with unwanted hair for 4-6 weeks prior to their session.
- Clean your skin — The treatment areas need to be free from cosmetics, lotions, and creams. If you’ve applied deodorant and are having your underarms treated, we will remove it prior to your session.
- Certain skincare products — Certain anti-aging skincare products can cause irritation when interacting with the laser energy. These include alphahydroxy acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and others. We’ll discuss these with you and tell you want to avoid for a few days before and after your appointment.
How long is a single laser hair removal session?
As with cost, the duration of your treatment session depends on the area or areas you are having hair removed. Removing hair from your sideburns will take just a few minutes, but treating your legs could take an hour. It’s wise to plan on between 10 minutes to an hour. You should also plan for 20 minutes or so for the topical numbing anesthetic to fully take effect.
Is laser hair removal permanent?
The FDA approved lasers to be used for “permanent hair reduction.” This usually means around 85 percent hair reduction. This means 85 percent of your unwanted hair will be gone.
Why not 100 percent? First, lasers only damage hair in the anagen (growth) cycle. But hairs can also be in the catagen (transitional phase between growth and rest) or the telogen phase (resting). The catagen and telogen phases involve stopping nourishment to the hair, shedding it, and restarting a new hair shaft. That’s why lasers don’t affect hair in these phases; they’re already on their way out. And the laser energy can’t get into the follicle to damage it. Every hair on the human body is independent and works alone. Considering that the human body has around five million hairs on it (men have a few hundred thousand more than women), those are a lot of hair follicles to hope to catch in the anagen phase for effective laser removal.
Second, damaged follicles can rebuild with hormonal changes. Plus, if a follicle is only partially damaged, it may heal and begin to regrow hair.
Obviously, if you are doing a small area, such as your upper lip, you can more easily achieve higher levels of permanent removal than a larger area such as your legs.
Recovery From Laser Hair Removal
There may be mild discomfort during treatment, but most patients tolerate laser hair removal easily. Following the treatment, you can return to normal activity right away, but the areas may be a bit red and swollen. This reaction can last up to 48 hours. It will take up to two weeks for the hair to fall out. Between treatments, you shouldn’t tweeze or wax hair (because the hair root is the target), but you can shave.
Does laser hair removal hurt?
At Spa Vitoria, our laser hair removal sessions are comfortable. First, we apply topical numbing cream to your treatment areas. Second, our Prowave laser has a cooling mechanism in the tip of the handpiece. This monitors the skin and helps keep you comfortable. This isn’t true of some lasers used by other practitioners, where the skin can get hot. During your treatment when the laser delivers its pulses, it feels like a small rubber band is snapped against the skin. After your treatment is complete, we apply a topical steroid and ice to help with any post-treatment discomfort.
Cost Of laser hair removal
The cost of your laser hair removal session varies, as you would assume, based on the area or areas being treated. For instance, removing hair from above your upper lip is much simpler than removing hair from your legs. When you come in for your consultation, we can give you an idea of what each treatment will cost.
Here are some examples of costs of single sessions for these areas:
- X Small area = $50/session
- Small area = $90/session
- Medium area = $120/session
- Large area = $140/session
- X Large area = $210/session
risks Of laser hair removal
Lasers were first approved for laser hair removal almost 30 years ago. To earn those FDA approvals, the process was extensively tested prior to becoming commercially available. Laser hair removal has proven to be reliable, effective, and safe. The most common side effects after treatment include skin irritation, such as redness and slight swelling on the treatment sites. This usually passes within a few hours.