Laser Hair Removal – Adelaide
We all hate waxing, tweezing, and shaving to remove our undated body hair. Removing hair using laser hair removal is an option that is well worth considering.
Interestingly, laser hair removal procedure is the most common cosmetic laser treatment performed in Australia. Many Australians have realised the benefits and time savings that can be achieved by laser hair removal.
In a nutshell, laser hair removal works by beaming concentrated light into the root of the hair follicle. The pigment in the hair follicle root absorbs the light energy, generating heat which destroys the follicle root.
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Lasers are an excellent way to remove unwanted hair anywhere on the body including; bikini line, underarms, legs, face etc.
The benefits of laser hair removal are;
Precision: Lasers work by targeting the dark pigment in hairs. The energy in the laser beam is absorbed by these dark pigments whilst leaving the surrounding skin unharmed.
Speed: The energy from the laser is delivered in pulses. Each pulse is capable of treating several hairs simultaneously. Small areas such as the lips or panty line can be treated very quickly. Large areas, such as the back will take much longer.
Predictability: After approximately three to seven treatments, most patients will experience permanent hair loss.
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure, it is not just zapping unwanted hairs with a laser. The technician should have proper training to perform this procedure. It is always wise to check the credentials of the doctor and technician performing the hair removal procedure. Rest assured at Advanced Cosmetic Medicine all our staff have specialised training and know how to minimise any risks.
- The laser treatment targets the follicle root to disable it. It is important not to pluck or wax your skin for a period of six weeks before the treatment, as this would make the treatment less effective.
- Avoid sun exposure for six weeks before and after having your hair removal treatment. Tanning before the treatment would cause the laser energy to be absorbed by the skin pigmentation. It also makes complications after the treatment much less likely to occur.
Please see the list of contraindications below, which may prevent you from being a candidate for laser hair removal.
Many types of medications are photosensitizing, which means they make the skin more sensitive and prone to damage when exposed to laser light. Please do not take antibiotics for two weeks prior to your treatment. Always check with your doctor before stopping your medication. At the time of booking you laser hair removal treatment, please inform the consultant that you are taking antibiotics so that an appropriate booking can be made.
2) Tattoos in the region that hair is to be treated.
3) Hair in the treatment area that has been unshaven.
4) Having sunburned skin or
5) A recent sun tan or fake tan.
6) Stop self tanners two weeks prior to having laser hair removal
7) Herpes simplex virus I and II is a contraindication and must be treated prior to laser hair removal.
8) Do not remove hair by tweezing, waxing or using creams for a period of one month prior to treatment. The hair follicle needs to be present for laser hair removal to be effective.
9) Do not use hair bleach prior to laser hair removal, as this can irritate the skin as well as preventing the laser from working as efficiently.
10) Do not wear lotions, makeup or perfume to your laser hair removal session, as these may cause further irritation.
The principle behind laser hair removal is “selective photothermolysis”. It sounds complicated but basically it means matching the specific wavelength of light and the pulse duration to the target tissue. Only the target tissue will be destroyed, leaving the surrounding undamaged. A good analogy is wearing black pants on a sunny day. You will notice the black colour absorbs the light energy causing heating of your pants. In the same manner, dark tissue containing melanin will selectively absorb the light energy, causing heating and destruction of the dark tissue. This is why laser hair removal work best on people with dark coloured hair. Light skin and dark hair are the most effective combination when it comes to laser hair removal.
Often people think that laser hair removal is a one stop deal where all your hair will be removed after one treatment. Unfortunately this is not the reality of laser hair removal.
Each hair on your body has a three stage growth cycle. At the end of the cycle the hair falls out and then starts growing again from the hair follicle. The three phases are the anagen (growth phase), catagen (shrivelling phase) and the telogen (resting phase) phases. The phase that matters the most for laser hair removal is the anagen phase. It is only during this phase that the hair is able to be disabled by a laser. The length of the anagen phase is variable depending on the area of the body treated, hair colour, skin type, age and the genetics of the person. Laser hair removal is a progressively permanent solution to permanent hair removal. Normally approximately 90% of hair follicles are in anagen phase at any one time. It will take several treatments spread over several months to catch all hairs in the anagen phase. We all want hair removal to be quick and easy. But when it comes to permanent hair removal you need to have an understanding of the biology and be realistic about your expectations to avoid disappointment.
Before you have your treatment, your hair will be trimmed just above the level of the skin. The technician will adjust the setting of the machine according to the thickness, colour and location of the hair and also according to the colour of your skin.
During the procedure, both the technician and the patient will wear appropriate eye protection, since lasers can be very damaging to the eye if exposure occurs. The outer layer of the skin is also protected by applying conductive gel as well as the cooling head of the laser device to cool the skin before and after each pulse is issued.
A test pulse will be performed by the technician to ensure the correct setting are used and to watch for any bad reactions to the energy used. Different skin types will react differently to the light energy delivered, so a test pulse will ensure the settings used are correct for your skin type.
It is normal for redness and mild inflammation to occur after the procedure. To minimise this anti inflammatory creams and ice packs may be used after the procedure to help prevent any discomfort.
You will need to have several treatments, spaced four to six weeks apart until all the hairs stop growing. Please expect several treatment to achieve permanent hair removal.
The amount of discomfort will vary from person to person and will vary depending on skin colour, hair colour and texture. The more pigment you have in your skin or hair, the more discomfort you will feel, due to the heat absorbed by the darker pigment. Patients having course hair will also experience more discomfort. After each treatment you receive the hair should become lighter and thinner and the discomfort should not be so great.
Discomfort during the procedure may be reduced by cooling the area prior to pulsing the laser. A topical anaesthetic may also be applied to the area to reduce discomfort. The Excel V laser has a cooling head which helps to cool the skin before, during and after the pulse. This will significantly help reduce any discomfort. People often describe the pain as being similar to the snap of a rubber band against the skin
The number of laser hair removal sessions required will depend on several factors which are unique only to you. These factors include your skin tone, hair thickness and hair colour. Most treatments are under one hour in duration but will depend on the area to be treated.
The take home message is that laser hair removal can never be performed in just one session. Several treatments are necessary to catch as many hairs as possible in the active growing phase or the anagen phase. This is the only phase in which hairs may be destroyed.
Like all things worthwhile, hair removal does take some time. You will be required to return to the clinic for a number of sessions, but in the end the results will be well worth the effort.
The number one rule for laser hair removal is that the hair must be in the anagen or actively growing phase to be removed. The length of the growing phase, however, will be different for different body areas.
The frequency or how often you will need to return for treatments will depend on the body area to be treated. Your laser technician will be able to let you know how often treatments will be needed.
Here is a basic guideline of how often laser treatments are required on different body parts;
1) Bikini Line – four to six weeks.
2) Facial hair – three to four weeks
3) Underarm hair – four to six weeks
4) Leg hair – six to eight weeks
5) Torso hair – every six weeks
6) Arm hair – six to eight weeks
After undergoing the recommended number of laser sessions, you can experience a 70% to 90% permanent reduction of hair in the area treated. The reason 100% permanent hair reduction is not achieved is because not all of the hairs will be caught/ treated during the active growing phase or anagen phase.
The surviving hairs will take some time to recover, so you will still enjoy a longer period of hairlessness until they recover.
In summery,there it no doubt that laser hair removal is more permanent than other types of hair removal, however it does not offer 100% permanent hair removal. You will experience 70 to 90% permanent hair reduction.
While there is absolutely no arguing that Laser Hair Removal is a more permanent, more effective method of hair removal than tweezing, shaving and waxing, it does not result in 100% permanent hair removal. Usually, laser hair removal will offer 70% to 90% permanent hair reduction.
Results also depend on skin type, hair colour, hair thickness and your genetics. It is not an exact science, however laser hair removal does offer superior results compared to other methods.
After a full series of treatments laser hair removal will offer 70 to 90% hair reduction. Hair will grow back between treatments because not all of your hair was in the anagen phase at the time of treatment. Only hair in the anagen phase is capable of being destroyed.
Permanet laser hair removal is a big misnomer, the term should be more appropriately named permanent hair reduction. After approximately eight sessions you will experience a considerable reduction in hair. Hair growth after your treatments have finished can be managed with touch up treatments every year.
There are many reasons for hair regrowth besides not all of the hairs being treated in the anagen phase. Age, ethnicity, genetics, hormonal imbalances are all additional reasons why you may experience hair regrowth. Sometimes the laser and the settings used may affect regrowth. One of the best lasers to use is the 1064 ND:Yag laser which can be used on any skin type. The long wavelength along with large spot size can give a good depth of penetration.
It is also a good idea to be supervised by a qualified doctor trained in the use of lasers to ensure the setting used are appropriate for your skin type, so that you get maximal hair loss but without causing burns.
There have been several studies into how to minimise the side effects from laser hair removal on patients with dark skin types. The main points are;
- Longer wavelengths should be used. The ND:YAG laser such as Excel V is preferred since it operated at 1064nm, a long wavelength .
- Active epidermal cooling should be used. The excel V laser comes with a collide head which cools the skin before, during and after delivery of the laser pulse.
- Use longer pulse durations – The parameters on the Excel V laser can be adjusted by the technician to make the pulse duration longer for darker skin types.
The ND:YAG laser by Excel V is the only laser that caters for dark skin types, greater than skin type V. This is the only laser that should be used on these skin types. Studies suggest that the side effects produced by the ND:YAG on dark skin types are minimal and temporary in nature.
Hair reduction rates using the ND:YAG on darker skin types were also impressive, ranging between 70-90% after the final treatment.
Unfortunately laser does not work well on people with light or blond colour hair.
Melanin is the primary target or chromophore for laser hair removal. Light photons are best absorbed by dark colours. Because of selective absorption only hair with dark colours can be removed. For best results, light skin and dark hair produce optimal results.
It is rare to have serious side effect to laser hair removal.
The most common side effects are;
3) pain and skin irritation
These symptoms usually subside after a few days. If they do persist longer please return to see Dr Targett for a review.
Less commonly seen side effects may include;
5) Skin discolouration
Always choose a clinic which is headed by a doctor for your piece of mind. As with any medical procedure, complications can occur and you will need to be aware of the complications to consent to the procedure. We always do our best to reduce the risk of any complications. Different skin types will react differently to laser.
Be aware that after the treatment your skin will look and feel like it has been sunburnt. It is always a good idea to apply cool compresses and moisturisers to help alleviate any pain. You may wear makeup on your face unless there is any blistering
Your hair will fall out gradually over the next month. Always wear sunscreen when going out in the sun, as sun exposure may cause pigmentation changes of the treated skin area.
For those that have herpes simplex virus I or II, always inform the clinic of your condition before making an appointment. You will need to take anti viral medication for several days before and after having your hair removal treatment performed.
If the laser hair removal treatment is in an area in which a previous herpes breakout has occurred, it is likely that the laser may cause a flare up of the condition. If you have an active herpes outbreak in the area to be treated it is important to reschedule your appointment until after it has cleared up.
Although the ND:Yag 1064 nm laser can work on any skin colour, it is definitely not advisable to have a fake tan at the time of your treatment. The laser light energy will be selectively absorbed by your skin colour instead of the hair follicle, rendering the treatment less effective. For IPL lasers having a fake tan may result in serious burns. Always stop applying fake tan around ten days before your laser hair removal appointment.
Also do not wear body foundations or bronzing agents to your appointment.
There is currently no evidence or direct link to suggest that laser hair removal can have negative effects on your baby if you are breast feeding or pregnant. However, by the same token, there is no evidence to suggest that it is safe either.
Due to the lack of evidence on the effects of laser hair removal on unborn babies, it is best to exercise caution. At Advanced Cosmetic Medicine we do not perform laser hair removal on women that are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Excess hair during pregnancy is often a problem due to the hormonal changes that are happening. We recommend using temporary hair removal techniques such as shaving and waxing until you have finished breastfeeding.
Laser light energy is absorbed by pigment, not by hair alone. Having laser hair removal over a tattoo can cause traumatic burns, due to the dark pigment in the tattoo. A template may be placed over the tattoo, so that the remaining area may be treated safely. Treating hairs in moles will present a similar result/ problem.
In summery, laser hair removal over tattoos can cause, burning, blistering, hyper pigmentation or hypo pigmentation. It is not recommended to get laser hair removal over a tattoo.
Ingrown hairs are often the result of other forms of hair removal such as shaving. The hair gets trapped under the skin and continues to grow under the skin causing an area of local inflammation which often looks like a skin cyst or pimple. Ingrown hairs are best removed with a scalpel and tweezers to remove the offending hair. Laser hair removal is a good treatment to prevent ingrown hairs. By achieving a permanent reduction of hair, ingrown hairs are a much less likely event.
1) Laser hair removal does not get rid of hair forever. However it can reduce hair to the point where you don’t need to shave. It can grow back over time and will need yearly maintenance.
2) It can be done anywhere on the body including face, legs, arms, underarms, torso, bikini line and brazilian. IPL is able tho cover large areas quickly.
3) The pain falls somewhere between waxing and shaving. It is similar to a rubber band flick. The pain does lessen after several treatments as the hairs become finer.
1) It can be a very long process. Up to eight treatments may be required and the time between treatments can be up to six weeks.
2) It can become expensive when you consider how many treatments you will need. Just think of it as a beauty investment. It will also save you a considerable amount of time shaving and waxing, so you will have more time to enjoy life.
3) Laser hair removal works best on light skin and dark hair. This is because the laser light is absorbed by the dark pigment in hair follicles. Nd:Yag 1064 nm lasers can treat dark hair on dark skin. Laser hair removal will not be successful for those with blonde, grey or very light coloured hair.
4) Always choose a skin clinic with a doctor in charge and where the technicians are trained in laser hair reduction. Lasers can cause burns if not used in the correct manner. By the same token the laser output must be sufficient to optimally remove hairs but without causing burns. It is often a fine balancing act which requires the skill of the technician.
Similar to laser hair removal on dark skin types, laser hair removal over moles using IPL and short wavelength laser should not be performed. The pigment in the mole will absorb the laser light energy which may cause a burn and blistering.
Hair removal over dark moles may be performed by a long wavelength laser such as ND:YAG Excel V laser.
Why Choose Advanced Cosmetic Medicine
Our commitment to you is to provide you with the highest standard of service, treatment and patient care. You will always receive personal attention and treatment from Dr Rahma Targett each and every time you visit us.
Dr Targett will take the time to listen to your cosmetic needs and provide you with sound advice and realistic expectations. We will work with you to develop a plan tailored to your specific needs and goals. Dr Targett will take the time to explain the procedure and provide you with expectations of the outcomes.
Following your treatment, we will provide you with the aftercare and advice that you deserve. At Advanced Cosmetic Medicine, you will have the peace of mind that you are being treated by a qualified doctor in aesthetic medicine.
Dr Targett and her team will provide you with everything you need to achieve your aesthetic and health goals.
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