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Laser Hair Removal – Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal systems emit a gentle beam of light that passes through the skin to the hair follicle. The hair absorbs it, the energy from the laser is transformed into heat and the hair follicle is disabled.
How does laser hair removal compare with electrolysis?
Electrolysis can be a tedious, painful process destroying each hair follicle one at a time. This can sometimes require treatment over years at regular intervals.
Laser hair removal on the other hand can treat hundreds of hair follicles simultaneously so the process is much quicker.
Is laser hair removal for anyone?
With CoolGlide's unique design, there is now the flexibility to treat all skin types with laser hair removal. Before CoolGlide, tanned patients and persons with darker skin could not expect good results from laser hair removal treatment.
A CoolGlide device has a longer wavelength which allows it to treat all skin tones. While patients with fair skin still respond the best, medical studies indicated that patients with tanned or dark skin can now achieve hair reduction equal to fair skinned patients without undesireable side effects.
Other Laser Hair Removal Devices
With some laser hair removal equipment, an absolute requirement is that the hair must be darker than the surrounding skin.
White skin with dark hair responds best. Persons with dark, coarse hair are the easiest to treat as dark hair contains melanin, a dark pigment which attracts the laser light so more laser energy is absorbed. Fewer sessions are needed.
Light colored hair is more difficult to treat and blonde and red hair are very difficult to treat requiring multiple laser hair removal sessions with varied results.
Anyone on a diet high in beta-carotene will need to change eating habits if they want best results from laser hair removal. Beta-carotene, found in vitamin A, carrots, squash and other vegetables produces a yellow or orange color in the skin which absorbs the laser energy and interferes with it reaching the hair follicle.
As beta-carotene can remain in the body for months, an adjustment in diet may be needed well in advance of laser hair removal treatment for optimum results.
Persons with light skin are the easiest to treat, requiring less laser hair removal sessions as the results are faster.
Persons with dark skin or sun tanned skin take longer to get results because melanin, the dark pigment in hair, is also present in skin. Melanin absorbs some of the laser light.
There is the danger of dark skin being burned in these instances so a laser beam with a lower energy level is used. For this reason also a higher level of expertise is required on the part of the laser hair removal clinic.
How long does laser hair removal treatment take?
The time involved with laser hair removal treatment varies from person to person with skin, hair coloring and coarseness of hair all affecting the time.
Here are some estimates which can give an approximate guide.
Back 1½ -3 hours
Shoulders 10-20 minutes
Underarms 1-2 minutes
Bikini Line 8-10 minutes
Upper lip less than 1 minute
Chin 2-3 minutes
Legs 1½ -3 hours
At least 2 or 3 treatments are necessary, and hair that has been waxed or removed with tweezers could need from 5 to 8 treatments.
Why are repeated laser hair removal sessions necessary?
Hair goes through cycles. Anagen refers to the growth stage of hair. Laser hair removal treatment works best on hair that is in the anagen stage.
While one laser hair removal treatment may have long lasting effects, repeated treatments are necessary for best results to catch all the hairs as they enter the anagen stage.
Is laser hair removal safe?
Yes. The laser uses a wavelength of light which passes through the skin. Unlike x-rays, there is no residual left in the body.
Skin may appear pink or red after treatment. This disappears - in some cases after some minutes, in other cases after a few hours, or in still other cases, a few days. Use of cold packs will speed up the recovery time.
Is laser hair removal painful?
This varies from person to person depending on their sensitivity. Some have described the sensation of laser hair removal to a slight sting on the skin. Others say it feels like a pinch on the skin.
When can I expect to see results from laser hair removal?
After the first treatment hair will gradually fall out over the next two months. Repeated laser hair removal treatments are necessary to catch all the hairs in their various stages of growth.
How much does laser hair removal cost?
This depends on the size of the area needing laser hair removal treatment. A consumer guide on laser hair removal treatment gives $500 per treatment session as a reasonable average with 3 to 4 sessions often necessary.
The whole area on the back or the legs can cost considerably more while smaller areas such as the upper lip can cost less. Individual consultations are necessary to establish accurate laser hair removal pricing.
Is Photo-Epilation the same as laser laser hair removal treatment?
Photo-Epilation or pulsed light devices use the same principle as lasers but they are not lasers. An intense pulsed light is used to disable hair follicles with minimal side effects.
It can be effective in hair removal but requires a higher level of skill in operating as it is more difficult to adjust than lasers.
Due to it's larger spot size, large areas of the body such as the back or legs can be treated rapidly. One study showed a 50 to 60 percent clearance of hair in 12 weeks.
Can results be guaranteed with laser hair removal?
No. Due to the variables involved it is impossible to predict exactly what the results will be for any individual with laser hair removal. Many reputable laser hair removal clinics avoid giving guarantees for this reason.
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