Are you thinking about trying Laser Hair Removal this summer? If so, this article will prepare you for what to expect & answer some of our most commonly asked questions.
Is LHR permanent? Yes and no. Yes, you’ll enjoy a permanent & dramatic reduction in the hair’s growth. No, this doesn’t mean that none of the hair will ever grow again. Generally speaking, a maintenance treatment once every few years is all you’ll need to keep your skin smooth & stubble-free!
Is it painful? LHR is often described as feeling like a rubber band snap against your skin. But for some people, that snap hurts worse than others. All things considered, LHR is still among the more comfortable laser treatments that we do at DLVSC. Although rarely requested or needed, we do offer numbing cream if you feel like you need it.
What areas can be treated with LHR? The most common treatment areas for laser hair removal are the legs, underarms, upper lip, chin, neck, bikini, and back. Certain areas, such as eyebrows, should only be treated by a board-certified dermatologist who has expertise in lasers & laser safety. The reason for this is that the eyelid skin is very thin – meaning laser treatments around the eye require more advanced techniques, training & knowledge about the skin.
What are the risks & potential side effects associated with LHR? The most common side effects are minor, temporary swelling and/or redness of the skin. For most patients, these mild discomforts subside within a few hours & don’t interfere with daily routines. The greatest risks are associated with the level of expertise of the person who is performing your treatment. After all, LHR does involve the use of a laser. So you’ll want to focus on finding a highly-trained, dermatology medical provider to care for your skin (aka, skip the Groupon).
How does LHR work? The lasers that we use in dermatology can be categorized by what they target in the skin – usually it’s either pigment/melanin, blood or water. With LHR, we target pigmented hair follicles. The laser energy is absorbed by this pigment, creating heat that damages the hair follicles & drastically slows down or stops the hair from growing back. To do this effectively, there should be a clear difference in the color of the hair and the skin so that the laser is better able to see its target. Therefore, a person who has darker hair and lighter skin is the ideal candidate for LHR.
Tips for Improving Your Laser Hair Removal Results
At Your Treatment Consultation
- Bring a complete list of your prescriptions & vitamins. Several antibiotics & blood pressure medications, Vitamin A (including Retin-A), St. John’s Wort, and Niacin (just to name a few) are all linked to photosensitivity – which increases your risk for an adverse reaction to LHR treatment.
4 to 6 Weeks Before Your Treatment:
- Avoid sun exposure and stop using tanning sprays/lotions or tanning beds.
- Cease all methods of hair control other than shaving. This is critical to your results because tweezing, threading & waxing all remove the hair at the follicle. If the hair follicles are gone at the time of your treatment, they won’t be affected by the laser.
- Discontinue hair bleaching – LHR doesn’t work if the hair color is too light
Days Before Your Treatment
- Shave the area the day before, unless instructed otherwise.
- Avoid applying any products to the treatment areas on the day of your appointment. If you’re having your underarms treated, try to skip or very lightly apply your deodorant that day.
After Your Treatment
- Closely follow your post-care instructions & keep your scheduled follow-up appointments. LHR is much more effective when it is performed at regular intervals.
Dr. Munavalli on Laser Hair Removal:
“Every year, laser hair removal ranks in the Top 5 most requested cosmetic treatments. Yet, it’s also Top 5 for complications, like burns & scars. This tells me that too many patients – through no fault of their own – are being treated by someone who is inexperienced and/or unqualified. It also highlights the need to choose your treatment provider very carefully. At DLVSC, laser hair removal is only done by myself, Dr. Kosari, or an NP or PA who we’ve trained extensively. Our patients deserve the peace of mind that comes with receiving the highest standard of care, and we believe it’s our duty to give them nothing less than just that.”