Facts About Laser Hair Removal at Home
It's good to know about the precautions and aftercare involved with laser hair removal before starting your treatment. This will ensure that the procedure is safe and you get the desired results with no side effects.
The main reason that people use laser hair removal is for aesthetic purposes, as has been the case with hair removal since ancient times. It is also used to treat medical treatments like hirsutism, hypertrichosis, and PCOS.
How and where is laser treatment done?
Laser hair treatment can be used on any part of the body where there is hair growth. It can be done on the arms, face, upper lips, legs, back, abdomen, etc.
For best results, the laser should be used during the growing phases of the hair. The hair shaft characteristics, the color of the hair, and the skin all play a role in the effectiveness of laser hair therapy. There are different intensities and kinds of lasers used for the removal of hair, and the selection of the laser depends on:
- Cause of hirsutism/hypertrichosis.
- Skin color.
- Hair color; thick dark hair is easier to target compared to finer hair.
How does laser hair removal work?
The melanin of the hair absorbs the laser, so it works on the hair root to reduce hair growth. It doesn't harm the skin or other surrounding tissues. The devices used for at home laser hair removal utilize the same principle.
What is the duration of the treatment? Does the treatment period differ from person to person?
The usual gap between sessions is 4 to 6 weeks. It may vary depending on the area treated. In the early session period, which is about 6 to 8 sessions long, there will be a visible reduction in hair growth. Depending upon the growth of the hair and the availability of the client, there can be follow up sessions every few months. The schedule of the follow-up sessions also depends on the individual. There is no way to precisely determine the hair growth cycle, which is different for everyone. All bodies grow and react to treatment differently.
What should I expect after the treatment?
To get the benefits of long term epilation, you'll need 6 to 10 laser sessions. A reduction of 10-20% can be seen after a single treatment session with most laser systems. Three treatments can reduce hair growth by 30-60%, and repeated treatments after that can reduce the hair growth by 80-90%. The results also depend on the follow-up sessions over the subsequent 24 to 36 months.
What happens during laser hair removal?
Before the treatment starts, the area has to be cleaned thoroughly to remove any product residue. Some patients, depending upon their sensitivity, can receive a numbing gel. Numbing gel is most beneficial when a small area has to be treated. It comes in handy when a patient is not comfortable with the prickly or tingling sensation that may occur during treatment. The numbing gel can take 30-60 minutes to work.
The laser treatments generally take place in a room that is expressly designed and set up for the treatment. Everyone in the room has to wear protective eye gear to shield their eyes from the laser. When the procedure begins, the skin is held taut. Many patients associate the feeling of warm pinpricks with the treatment.
The laser removes the hair by vaporizing it. You may notice a sulfur-like smell from the small plumes of smoke that result. The at-home laser hair removal might not give off such strong odors. The duration of the treatment depends on the size of the treatment area. For example, the upper lip can take a few minutes, while larger areas like the legs and back can take more than an hour.
Is there downtime?
The laser hair treatment doesn't require any downtime. The immediate after-effects of laser hair removal are some minor redness and soreness, so patients can quickly return to most aspects of their normal routine immediately afterward. In this sense, it’s like any other hair removal procedures.
When will I see the results after having laser hair removal?
Most patients see the results almost immediately after the treatment, although the extent of the results will vary significantly from patient to patient. The results will be affected by the color of the skin, type of laser used, and the area treated. Patients can expect 10-20% reduction in hair after the initial treatment. A minimum of 2-6 treatment sessions is required. Most patients experience no hair growth in the treated area for several months to several years. When the hair eventually grows back, it’s either too sparse or too fine and light to be noticeable.
How long will the results of laser hair removal last?
Most patients don't experience hair growth in the treated areas for months to years, but it depends on the number of treatment sessions they have had. Most patients do have to have occasional touch-up sessions. This is one instance in which the laser hair removal at home devices are useful.
When is it safe to have another laser treatment for hair removal?
This varies from patient to patient. To see the desired results of almost complete hair removal, the patients have to commit to several sessions that can be done between 4 to 6 weeks apart. It's best to discuss it thoroughly with the technician, since they can give a better judgment on how many sessions are needed and how frequent they should be.
Pros of Laser Treatment
- The lasers used are FDA approved, so you can feel confident that the procedures are safe.
- The results are semi-permanent.
- There is no real pain and the procedure is hassle-free.
- It reduces not only hair growth but also the chances of ingrown hairs.
- There is no issue of skin pigmentation.
Precautions to Take Before Laser Hair Removal
The areas you will be treating should not be tanned for at least 4 to 6 weeks prior to treatment, since tanning can have an impact on the effectiveness of the procedure. This includes self-tanning sprays and creams.
The area should not be plucked or bleached for at least three weeks before the procedure. The preservation of the roots and the pigment of the hair is crucial for laser hair removal to be successful. If the hair is bleached, plucked, or waxed too soon before the procedure, then it may not regrow in time for the treatment to be done. If this happens, there will be nothing for the laser to aim for on the skin.
There should be no product residues or oils present on the skin, so the area to be treated must be washed thoroughly. Most dermatologists recommend cleaning the body well before undergoing the procedure to ensure the best results.
The skin should also be thoroughly moisturized after, and sometimes before, the treatment.
Things to Know Before Laser Treatment
- Avoiding sun or UV exposure for a minimum of seven days post- and pre-treatment is the best way to minimize the risk of side effects.
- At least two weeks before the treatment, tans and sunburns must be avoided.
- Seven days before the treatment, sunless tanning products must be avoided.
- The technician in charge must be provided with an up-to-date medical history of the patient. This will ensure that the procedure is effective and safe.
- Pregnant clients are advised to wait until after labor, as the process is not recommended for pregnant women and people under heavy medications.
- Clients with tattoos may have trouble using this treatment, as treatment over tattoos is very tricky. Sometimes the procedure cannot be done at all.
- People with epilepsy should not use this treatment.
- Side effects are uncommon but may include: Hypopigmentation (loss of skin pigmentation), Hyperpigmentation (darkening of skin), mild to moderate burns or blisters, temporary redness, permanent skin discoloration, follicular edema (little pink/red “puffiness and small bumps like "goosebumps"), itching in the treated area, swelling , rashes, bruising, hives, and lack of desired results.
- The area to be treated must be shaved clean before treatment. Clients who are unshaven might have to be rescheduled.
- UV exposure must be avoided at least seven days before the treatment.
- Clients who are suffering from sunburn or tan must avoid any additional skin damage and wait up to a minimum of two weeks to get the treatment.
- Any sunless tanning products must be avoided seven days before the treatment. It is also recommended that any residual products be removed by exfoliating the area thoroughly.
- All products, skincare, or makeup must be removed before the treatment. Numbing cream can be applied 30 to 40 minutes before the treatment.
- For the treatment of the skin on the face, clients need to rinse and wash their faces thoroughly at the clinic.
- A minimum two weeks before the treatment, any chemical peels and other laser procedures must be avoided as well.
- For seven days before the treatment, avoid Differin, hydroquinone retinol/retinoid, alpha-hydroxyl, and beta hydroxyl products (AHA/BHA) and Tazorac.
- Before the treatment, clients with any abnormal moles, spots, or lesions must receive medical treatment.
- Clients must stop chemical epilation, tweezing, and waxing for three weeks before treatment.
- It is recommended to take an anti-viral medication like Valtrex before your treatment if you are prone to cold sores. People with active cold sores are not advised to be treated.
- Clients who have been prescribed Accutane or other similar products within the last six months shouldn’t have laser hair removal treatments.
- Clients are recommended not to perform any physical activity that might increase body temperature and blood pressure for 2 hours after and before treatments.
If someone has dermal fillers or Botox in the area to be treated, then they must wait for at least 14 days both after and before the injection to receive treatments.
- It is recommended that a personal physician be consulted before treatment if the client is on long-term use of antibiotics. Since antibiotics can increase photosensitivity, the medications need to be stopped at least seven days before the treatment.
- Boots should not be worn immediately after leg treatments.
Any blisters that form should not be punctured. If the skin is broken, then an antibiotic ointment must be applied until it’s healed.
Tylenol can be used for post-treatment discomfort.
Extended UV exposure should be avoided for at least seven days after treatment.
Over the counter medications are also recommended for post-treatment discomfort. Restorative Gel, ice packs, or aloe Vera and cool towels can be used to alleviate discomfort due to heat.
A broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 30 or higher should be used after and before laser treatments. It is recommended to assist ongoing maintenance as well.
Discuss any side effects, such as prolonged redness or swelling, hypo- or hyper-pigmentation, a histamine reaction, or blistering with the technician.
The treated areas must be exfoliated to minimize the risk of ingrown hairs.
Whether someone opts for laser hair removal at home or from a professional, the results will be far better than any other hair removal treatment out there. As long as you take the necessary precautions, the results will always please you.