Laser hair removal we get the inside information from Skin Angel founder Angelina on laser hair removal…
What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal utilises a laser in which light is emitted and absorbed by the pigment of the hair. Once absorbed, the light energy emitted is converted to heat which damages the hair follicle, from which the hair is grown, to inhibit or delay future hair growth. Because of the contrast between the dark pigment in the hair and lighter skin types, the laser bypasses the surface of the skin to target its effect only on the hair follicle. The Alexandrite 755nm previously made it hard for people with darker skin types to access safe laser hair removal, due to the competing pigment in their skin and in turn possible burning or hyperpigmentation of the skin surface. As laser technologies have advanced, we can now treat darker skin types safely with longer wave lengths such as Nd:YAG 1064nm.
Why do people get it?
Laser hair removal reaps of benefits making it an extremely popular choice for men and women for removal of their unwanted hair. The most obvious benefit of this method is it being a low maintenance and cost-effective option. Initially there may be some monetary outlays but in the long run, once the maintenance stage is reached, you will be saving time, money and concern about your unwanted hair growth between appointments. For those who experience ingrown hairs or skin irritation, laser hair removal is also an effective option to ensure a significant reduction if not eradication of those painful side effects from other methods of hair reduction and diminishing the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation associated.
Is it harmful or and dangerous?
Laser Hair Removal is a safe and effective treatment given it is being performed by a trained professional and you are educated and compliant in your pre and post care instructions. I recommend that you do some research before choosing a clinic to perform your treatment and if you are unsure to asks questions about how they have been trained to perform the treatment. As much as it is important to know that your therapist is thoroughly trained and compliant you are also very much responsible for holding up your end of the treatment. Making sure that you are not attending your appointment with old fake tan or not being sun compliant, amongst other things, are crucial in ensuring a safe and effective treatment.
How long does it last?
A common misconception around Laser Hair Removal is that it is a permanent fix for unwanted hair growth. For many, long lasting results are achieved however the treatment aims for an 80% reduction in hair growth as a blanket rule. There are many variables that can contribute to this including fluctuating hormones especially for women who become pregnant or have other hormonal imbalances. When you first start out your treatments you will likely be treated every 4, 6 or 12 weeks depending on the area you are looking to treat. As you progress in your treatments, your visits will be slowly pushed out until you reach a level of reduction that only permits you to visit your clinic approximately every 6 – 12 months for maintenance treatments. Other factors such as waxing or plucking hair before or between treatments can cause the treatment to be ineffective.
What do I need to do before getting laser to maximize the results?
It is important in the lead up to your treatment that you avoid sun exposure and application of fake tan to the treating area for two weeks prior. Depending on your clinic they will advise you if you need to shave or leave a patch for assessment, don’t feel awkward to discuss these details when booking your consultation because each clinic can vary. We also recommend 2 – 3 days prior to your appointment you can also perform a gentle exfoliation the treating area.
Are there alternatives to laser?
We absolutely understand that laser hair removal may not be for everyone for number of reasons, of which you can also opt to try other methods of hair removal including electrolysis, shaving, waxing or plucking/threading. I personally advise against bleaching, depilatory lotions and dermaplaning due to either their toxicity or disruption of the barrier to the skin in effect to remove the hair.