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.
How it works
What are the benefits of laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is a popular cosmetic treatment that uses concentrated beams of light to remove unwanted hair. The benefits of laser hair removal include:
- Long-lasting results: Unlike traditional hair removal methods like shaving and waxing, laser hair removal provides long-lasting results. In most cases, patients experience a significant reduction in hair growth after just a few sessions.
- Precision: Laser hair removal targets hair follicles with precision, leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.
- Less painful: Laser hair removal is generally less painful than other hair removal methods, such as waxing or epilating. Most people describe the sensation as a slight pinch or mild burning.
- Faster: Laser hair removal is faster than other hair removal methods, especially for larger areas such as the legs or back.
- Reduced ingrown hairs: Because laser hair removal destroys the hair follicle, it can also help reduce the occurrence of ingrown hairs.
- Convenience: After a series of treatments, many people find they no longer need to shave or wax, saving time and money in the long run.
Overall, laser hair removal can be a safe and effective way to permanently reduce hair growth and improve the appearance of the skin. However, it is important to choose a reputable provider and follow all pre- and post-treatment instructions to minimize the risk of side effects.
What are the contraindications to laser hair removal?
Please review the list of contraindications below, as they may prevent you from being a candidate for laser hair removal.
- Accutane use is a contraindication and must be discontinued at least six months prior to laser hair removal.
- Tattoos in the treatment area may prevent laser hair removal from being effective or cause damage to the tattooed skin.
- Hair in the treatment area must be shaved prior to laser hair removal to ensure that the laser can effectively target the hair follicle.
- Sunburned skin is a contraindication and laser hair removal should not be performed until the skin has fully healed.
- A recent sun tan or fake tan can increase the risk of skin damage during laser hair removal.
- Self-tanners should be discontinued at least two weeks prior to laser hair removal to avoid skin irritation.
- Herpes simplex virus I and II can be a contraindication for laser hair removal, and may need to be treated prior to treatment.
- Hair should not be removed by tweezing, waxing, or using creams for at least one month prior to treatment, as the hair follicle needs to be present for the laser to be effective.
- Hair bleach should not be used prior to laser hair removal, as it can irritate the skin and prevent the laser from working effectively.
- Lotions, makeup, and perfume should not be worn to the laser hair removal session, as they can cause irritation or interfere with the laser treatment.
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal operates on the principle of "selective photothermolysis", which involves matching the appropriate wavelength of light and pulse duration to the intended tissue. By doing so, only the target tissue is affected while the surrounding tissue remains unharmed. This can be likened to wearing black pants on a sunny day, where the black color absorbs light energy, resulting in the heating of the pants. Similarly, dark tissue containing melanin selectively absorbs light energy, leading to the destruction of the dark tissue. This is why laser hair removal is most effective on individuals with dark hair, particularly when combined with light skin.
How do I prepare for laser hair removal?
Before you go for laser hair removal, it's important to prepare your skin and body properly. Here are some steps you can take to ensure a safe and effective laser hair removal treatment:
- Avoid sun exposure: It's important to avoid direct sun exposure or tanning beds for at least two weeks before the laser hair removal treatment. Sun exposure can increase the risk of complications and reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.
- Shave the area: Shave the area you want to treat before your appointment. Do not wax, pluck or use depilatory creams as these methods remove the hair from the root, making it difficult for the laser to target the hair follicle.
- Avoid using skincare products: Do not use any skincare products, including lotions, creams, or perfumes, on the treatment area before your appointment. These products can interfere with the laser's ability to target the hair follicle.
- Consult with your doctor: If you are taking any medications or have any underlying medical conditions, it's important to talk to your doctor before undergoing laser hair removal.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before and after the treatment to keep your skin hydrated.
- Follow post-treatment care: Follow your provider's instructions for post-treatment care, which may include avoiding direct sunlight and applying a soothing cream to the treated area.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your laser hair removal treatment is safe and effective.
What are the post care instructions for laser hair removal?
After undergoing laser hair removal, it's important to follow some post-care instructions to ensure optimal results and reduce the risk of complications. Here are some general post-care instructions for laser hair removal:
- Avoid sun exposure: It's important to avoid sun exposure for at least two weeks before and after the laser hair removal treatment. If you have to be in the sun, wear protective clothing and sunscreen with a high SPF.
- Avoid hot showers and baths: Hot water can irritate your skin, so it's best to avoid hot showers and baths for at least 24 hours after the treatment.
- Do not apply any products to the treated area: Avoid using any creams, lotions, or cosmetics on the treated area for at least 24 hours after the treatment.
- Avoid strenuous exercise: Avoid any strenuous exercise or physical activity that may cause excessive sweating for at least 24 hours after the treatment.
- Keep the treated area clean: Gently cleanse the treated area with mild soap and water to keep it clean and free from infection.
- Apply cool compresses: If you experience any discomfort or swelling, you can apply cool compresses to the treated area.
- Avoid picking or scratching the treated area: Do not pick, scratch or rub the treated area as this can cause irritation and potentially lead to infection.
- Attend follow-up appointments: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your laser hair removal provider to ensure proper healing and optimal results.
It's important to follow these post-care instructions to reduce the risk of complications and achieve the best possible results from your laser hair removal treatment.
Dr Rahma Targett
Dr Rahma Targett is a General Practitioner(FRACGP), with a specialty in Cosmetic Medicine. She founded Advanced Cosmetic Medicine in 2016 and has since become well known as a trusted and in demand Cosmetic Physician in Adelaide. She has a Diploma in Dermoscopy and a Diploma in Aesthetic Medicine with the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. Dr Targett is a leader in her field and regularly attends Cosmetic conferences to keep up to date with modern aesthetic techniques. At advanced Cosmetic Medicine you can always be reassured that you will be welcomed and treated personally by Dr Rahma Targett.
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Does laser hair removal work?
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.
What should I expect during the treatment?
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.
Does laser hair removal hurt?
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
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments required for laser hair removal varies depending on various factors such as the individual's skin type, hair color, and the area being treated.
In general, most people require between 6 to 8 treatments for significant and long-lasting hair reduction. However, some individuals may require more or fewer treatments depending on their unique circumstances.
It is important to note that laser hair removal requires multiple treatments as it targets hair in its active growth phase and hair grows in cycles. Your provider will be able to give you a better estimate of the number of treatments needed during a consultation.
What is the frequency of treatments required?
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
Is laser hair removal permanent?
Laser hair removal is not always completely permanent, but it can provide long-lasting hair reduction. The effectiveness of the treatment varies depending on factors such as the type of laser used, the skill and experience of the technician performing the procedure, the color and thickness of the hair, and the individual's skin type.
Laser hair removal works by targeting the melanin (pigment) in the hair follicle with a laser, which damages the follicle and inhibits future hair growth. Over time, the treated hair follicles may produce fewer and finer hairs, and some may stop growing hair altogether.
However, because hair grows in cycles, multiple treatments are usually required to achieve optimal results. Even after completing a full course of treatment, some hair regrowth may occur, although it is often much lighter and finer than before.
It's important to note that laser hair removal is not recommended for everyone, and it may not be effective for all skin and hair types. It's best to consult with a licensed and experienced provider to determine if laser hair removal is right for you and to discuss your individual goals and expectations for the procedure.
Why do I get regrowth after having laser hair removal?
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.
Can people with dark skin have laser hair removal?
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.
Can people with light hair have laser hair removal?
Yes, people with light hair can have laser hair removal, but the effectiveness of the treatment may be limited. This is because laser hair removal works by targeting the melanin (pigment) in the hair follicles, and lighter hair has less melanin than darker hair. As a result, the laser may not be able to effectively target the hair follicles, which can lead to less effective results or require more treatments.
However, advancements in laser technology have made it possible to remove lighter hair colors like blond, red, or gray, but it may require a specialized laser with a longer wavelength, such as a Nd:YAG laser, to be effective.
It is best to consult with a qualified laser hair removal provider who can assess your hair and skin type and recommend the most appropriate treatment options for you.
Are there any risks or side effects to having laser hair removal?
What is the recovery after treatment like?
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.
Can I have laser hair removal if I have herpes?
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.
Can I have a fake tan when having laser hair removal?
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.
Can I have laser if I am pregnant?
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.
Can I have laser hair removal over tattoos?
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.
Can it also treat ingrown hairs?
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.
What are the pros and cons?
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.
Can you remove hairs on moles?
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.