Hair Removal Options
Women have long tried to rid themselves of unwanted hair of the face, legs, underarms, abdomen, and groin. Waxing, plucking, and electrolysis have proven painful and must be repeated regularly. Laser hair removal is the newest treatment trend.
Laser Hair Removal
The laser causes controlled damage to hair follicles, causing them to go into shock temporarily. While in shock, the follicles do not generate hair. About three to six treatments are recommended over three years for the best results. Hair will eventually return but may not do so for 2-4 months in most people (really lucky people will go for 6-12 months without re-growth).. When hair returns, it is usually thinner and lighter, with (typically) 75% reduction in hair growth. Arrested hair growth following six treatments has been reported but should not be expected.
Treatments are performed in your doctor’s office by a nurse or a trained technician and last from 15 to 90 minutes depending on the size of area treated. Treatments are associated with mild discomfort, not unlike a small rubber band snapping against skin. The discomfort is well tolerated when small areas are treated, but if large areas are treated, discomfort may interfere with the procedure. Discomfort can be minimized by the use of ice immediately prior to the laser application. Treatments usually do not require sedatives, pain medications, or injections of local anesthetic. You may return to work immediately after treatment. Unlike waxing, you may shave immediately prior to your laser hair
removal. Anticipate that your treated skin may turn pale purple, and this will persist for several days. Some areas may scab and blister temporarily.
Cost ranges from $100 to $1000 per session. The more areas treated, the more you pay in general.
Laser Hair Removal is Not Permanent
Laser hair removal has never been proven to be permanent. Advertising laws, however, allow the providers to claim that
it is permanent if it lasts for at least three months. More than likely, you have heard these claims before. Do not be deceived, this treatment is not permanent.
Avoid the Sun
As with all laser therapies, you should avoid unprotected sun for three to six months afterward to prevent sunburn and dark discoloration. You may also develop light spots on your treated areas. Both problems usually normalize within a few weeks. Wearing sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher will help protect you from dark discoloration.
If you like to tan, this can be a problem, as quarterly or biannual treatments will prohibit tanning year around.