How does laser hair removal work?
- The laser targets the darkness of the melanin pigment in the hair follicle. Since melanin is only produced in the growth phase of the hair, the laser must target the hair follicle during this cycle. At any given time, 10-20% of the hair in a particular area may be in a growth phase. Therefore, more than one treatment needs to be scheduled, preferably at 6-8 week intervals. With multiple treatments all hair follicles can be disabled.
Is the treatment painful?
- This is a common initial concern for many of our patients. Our lasers use a special cooling system that lowers the temperature of the skin at the treatment site before, during, and after laser exposure. Therefore, the treatment is generally not painful and is well tolerated. Some patients describe the treatment as a sensation like the snap of a rubber band and "much less painful than the waxing I used to subject myself to." Topical anesthetic cream is an option for more sensitive areas.
How do I prepare for my laser hair removal?
- Before your first session, it is important for you to avoid waxing for six weeks. This is also the case with the use of tweezers. The laser needs to be able to identify the hair follicle. During this time period, shaving is acceptable.
- You MUST stay out of the sun. Any tanning of the skin can result in pigmentation in the areas you laser.
- If you are prone to nervousness, you should avoid caffeine for 24 hours before your session.
- On the day before your treatment, you should shave with a clean, new razor. By shaving, the lasers will be able to locate the follicles.
What are the risks of hair removal?
- Laser hair removal is a short procedure. There is no recovery time. Patients can return to work or play immediately. These lasers do not remove skin, so the risks are very low. As with any procedure, we have an informed consent that explains all the possible risks.
How many treatments do I need?
- Due to the staggered nature of the hair growth cycle, in which some hairs are actively growing while others are dormant, laser hair removal requires multiple treatments to catch each hair as it enters the “active” growth phase. The number of laser hair removal treatments necessary for complete hair removal varies from person to person, and is best determined during consultation. Most patients require 4-6 hair removal treatments, spread out between 4-6 week intervals.
How long is the treatment?
- Treatment time can vary based on the area. The upper lip takes only a few minutes while the back or legs can take up to an hour.
I have dark skin but I am tired of shaving and dealing with shave bumps and ingrown hairs. Would laser hair removal work for me?
- No matter how dark the skin, our Cynosure Elite laser is capable for treating unwanted hair on darker skin types. Its longer wavelength safely bypasses the skin and targets the melanin in the hair shaft, destroying the unwanted hair follicle. You will love your results!
(If you have blonde or red hair, laser will not be nearly as effective, because the laser picks up the contrast between the hair follicle and the skin pigment. With blonde and red hair, the hair to skin pigmentation difference is much less.)
What areas can I laser?
- Basically everywhere, except eyebrows. We prefer not to get too close to the eyes.