Laser Hair Removal

LASER HAIR REMOVAL PATIENT INFORMATION

HOW DOES THE LASER HAIR REMOVAL WORK?

Hair removal is achieved by the absorption of laser light when the pigmented hair shaft is present within the hair follicle.  Therefore, waxing, tweezing and bleaching are not recommended for at least 6 weeks before the procedure.  White, gray and light-colored hair will not be treated effectively.

HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE NEEDED?

Hair grows in cycles (3 phases) and laser hair removal works when hair is in the active phase of growth (anagen).  Therefore, in order to obtain permanent hair reduction, multiple treatments are needed.  Typically, 4 to 6 treatments are necessary to obtain the degree of hair thinning or elimination that you desire.

The frequency of treatments will vary depending on the area treated.  Typically, every 4 to 6 weeks for the facial region and 6 to 12 weeks for all the other areas. Individuals with dark coarse hair and a lighter skin tone are the best candidates.  Many factors influence your treatment outcome.  Certain medications, diseases and hormone imbalances may hinder the hair removal process.  Your age, ethnicity and metabolism can also influence the outcome.

WHAT OTHER OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR HAIR REMOVAL?

Options for hair removal include shaving, waxing, tweezing, use of depilatory creams and electrolysis. Bleaching may also be used to camouflage the hair. These methods can be very time consuming and costly. Electrolysis will provide a decrease in hair growth however this technique is extremely tedious and for larger areas can be quite costly. Laser treatment can provide safe and effective permanent hair reduction with minimal discomfort and in comparison, to other methods; hair removal with the laser is quick and affordable.

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR TREATMENT?

  • Must avoid tweezing, waxing, electrolysis and bleaching for 6 weeks before treatment.
  • Avoid sun/intense light exposure (sunlight or tanning booth exposure) and self-tanning agents for 2 weeks before and after.
  • If there is a history of perioral herpes or genital herpes in the area to be treated, then prophylactic antiviral therapy may be prescribed, starting the day before the treatment and continue for the day of treatment.
  • Skin must be clean and shaved (no stubble), absolutely no lotions, creams, make-up or deodorant in the area of treatment.

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE DAY OF TREATMENT?

  • Laser safety is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE. The client and all personnel in the treatment room will wear protective eyewear.  This is to reduce the chance of damage to the retina (eye).
  • For treatment of the upper lip, moistened gauze may be used between the lip and upper teeth to protect sensitive teeth.
  • Some patients may feel a slight discomfort, best described as the snapping of a rubber band on the skin. This discomfort resolves in several seconds and is minimized by the cooling applicator.

WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I TAKE AFTER TREATMENT?

  • Immediately after treatment there may be erythema (redness) and edema (swelling) at the treatment site, which may last 2 hours or longer. The erythema may last up to 2 to 3 days. The treated area may feel like sunburn for a few hours after treatment.  The use of cool cloths or ice packs during the first few hours after treatment will reduce the discomfort and swelling that may be experienced.
  • Ice packs, cool gel packs, cool aloe vera gel are all acceptable to be used following treatment.
  • If a blister or break in the skin develops, then an antibiotic ointment may be used twice a day until healed.
  • Make-up may be used the following day unless there is blistering or a break in the skin.
  • Although the possibility of infection is low, it is recommended to use new make-up or no make-up to reduce the chance of infection.
  • Avoid intense light/sun exposure and self-tanning agents at all times throughout the course of treatment. This is to reduce the chance of hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin).  A sunblock with SPF 30 or greater should be used.
  • Avoid picking or scratching the treated skin.
  • Do not use any other hair removal treatment products or similar treatments (waxing, tweezing, and electrolysis) that will disturb the hair follicle on the treatment area for 4 to 6 weeks after the laser treatment is performed. Shaving or depilatories may be used.
  • Following treatment to the axilla (underarms), use a powder instead of a deodorant for 24 hours after treatment to reduce skin irritation.
  • Avoid creams or lotions which contain alpha hydroxyl or glycolic acid for 3 days after treatment. Many anti-aging and acne products contain these acids.  Please check the ingredients of your products.
  • 5 to 14 days following treatment, shedding of the treated hair may occur and this appears as new hair, but it is not new growth. You may clean and remove these hair remnants by washing or wiping the area with a wet cloth or loofa sponge.

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS AND RISKS?

  • Temporary redness on the treated area, which usually last for a few hours.
  • Swelling in the treated area, which usually subsides within 24-48 hours.
  • The skin may appear red with small “bumps” immediately following treatment.
  • Pigmentary changes-Hypopigmentation (lightening of skin) or hyperpigmentation (darkening of skin) may occur within 2 weeks of treatment. These areas will fade over several months.  Hyperpigmentation may worsen if the laser treated area is exposed to intense light/sun.  Hypopigmentation may occur in areas of skin that have had prior treatment as with dermabrasion or phenol peels.  The pale areas usually darken or pigment in 3 to 6 months but in rare cases it could be permanent.
  • Infection in individuals with a history of herpes simplex, reactivation may occur when the perioral, pubic or bikini area is treated. Prophylactic antiviral agents should be started the day before the procedure.
  • Folliculitis-inflammation about the hair follicle may develop from ingrown hair and may be aggravated by strenuous exercise or activity or the use of hot tubs. Avoid these for several days following the procedure.
  • Blistering/Scabbing-occasional breaks in the skin may develop requiring the use of topical ointments such as Bacitracin, Neosporin or Bactroban.
  • Pain during the procedure and skin tenderness or a burning/stinging sensation may last up to 24 hours after procedure.
  • Skin texture change or scar may occur as a result of infection, loss of freckles or lightening of tattoo’s pigmented lesion may occur.

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