Laser hair removal is a very common cosmetic treatment that employs the use of a laser, or ‘intense pusled light’, targeting and destroying hair follicles and thus disrupting hair growth. Laser hair removal is generally used to remove unwanted hair from areas like the legs, arms, face, and bikini line. The procedure generally works more on women with dark hair and pale skin rather than women with dark skin as the laser is attracted to certain hair pigments more than others.
People may choose to undergo laser hair removal in order to reduce skin irritation, make skin smoother, reduce ingrowing hairs or general hair growth, and to avoid the task of shaving or waxing in the future. It may be recommended to women with hirsutism (excessive hair growth) as a form of treatment if they are unhappy with their appearance.
The day before undergoing laser hair removal treatment, it is necessary to shave the area that is going to be treated. As it is a relatively painless procedure, local anaesthetic is not necessary, but the patient will be given a pair of specially designed goggles in order to protect their eyes from the intense light of the laser. A cool gel or air spray is applied to the skin before the specialist uses a hand-held device to zap the hair follicles. Patients have described it as feeling like being flicked with an elastic band. The length of each laser hair removal session may vary from 15 minutes to an hour, and the number of repeat sessions needed will depend on skin and hair type, and the system being used.
In order to prepare for a laser hair removal session, it is essential to avoid tanning or sunbeds for at least a month, as laser hair removal is more effective on lighter skin. For this reason, many people opt to undergo treatment in winter, or put on a minimum of SPF15 if they venture out into the sun. It is also necessary to avoid waxing or plucking hair for two weeks to a month before laser hair removal treatment. Shaving is okay, and is recommended a day or two before treatment. The specialist will also require the area to be treated be clean and free of cosmetics and creams.
A day or two after laser hair removal, the treated area may come out in a rash or have the appearance of being sunburned. Holding an ice pack or bag of frozen peas to the affected area can help alleviate any possible discomfort. After laser hair treatment, the skin will also be sensitive to the sun. For this reason it is necessary to avoid the sun and sunbeds for at least a week after laser hair removal treatment. If is recommended that one applies suncream if they are to venture outside into the sun.