What is Laser Hair Removal (Reduction)? Is it permanent?

Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) is an effective, long term alternative to electrolysis, shaving, or waxing your unwanted body and facial hair. There is no laser equipment that can guarantee permanent removal of your unwanted hair. The FDA has only cleared lasers for permanent hair “reduction” and not permanent hair “removal”, which is advertised by many clinics. There are a number of factors that can affect the success of a series of Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) treatments. Generally, after each treatment, you’ll see a noticeable reduction in the number of hairs that re-grow, finer version of the hair, or combination of both in the treatment area. Successful “Hair Removal” has been defined as an 80% reduction of re-growing hairs 6 months after a series of treatments. To maintain results, maintenance treatments are always recommended every 6-12 months as needed.

How does Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) work?

The laser uses a beam of light which penetrates your skin and is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in your hair. The absorbed light is converted to heat and travels down your hair shaft to your hair root, or follicle. The heat damages the follicle so further hair cannot grow. Because the heat is not sustained, your surrounding skin is left untouched and undamaged.

How many treatments do I need?

The number of treatments required depends on multiple factors: hair thickness, the area being treated, in addition to your hair’s growth cycle. All hair on the body grows in three stages (active growth, regression, and resting). Lasers are most effective at targeting growing hairs in the “active” growth stage. Typically, only 25% of the hairs treated in an area are in this “active” stage making additional treatments in a series necessary to obtain desired results. A series of 6-8 treatments is recommended (some individuals may require more) at intervals of 4-8 weeks depending on which area is being treated.

Will the hair grow back?

No – laser can destroy all of the hair follicles, leave some follicles destroyed, while others are miniaturized into fine hairs, and others are shocked into prolonged dormancy. Many people grow new hairs throughout their life and fluctuation of hormones caused by pregnancy, menopause, the start or stop of birth control pills, or other illnesses that cause hormonal imbalances also trigger new growth. Most require maintenance treatments periodically after their initial series of treatments to control this new growth and maintain their results.

Can I achieve the same results with electrolysis as I can from Laser Hair Removal (Reduction)?

Electrolysis is a tedious, invasive, and painful process that involves inserting a needle into each individual hair follicle that delivers an electrical charge to them one at a time. Electrolysis often requires years of treatments at regular intervals. Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) delivers light energy to hundreds of hair follicles at a time, effectively treating an area in just seconds that would take over an hour with electrolysis. Although for blond and gray hairs that lack pigment (melanin) found on areas such as the upper lip and chin, electrolysis is often the better option.

Is Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) safe? Will it hurt?

Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) is one of the cosmetic medical industry’s most well-known and researched uses of lasers. Here at SWINA we use one of the most advanced Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) systems called the Soprano™ XL by Alma Lasers. The Soprano™ XL is a laser that integrates a sophisticated cooling system with the advanced In-Motion™ technology. Previous laser technology emits laser light that blasts the skin with a massive amount of heat using a painful pulse method that feels similar to a “rubber band snapping”. These high temperatures contribute to a higher rate of burns, blisters and other adverse events. By contrast, the Soprano™ XL technology uses low heat levels at a very fast delivery rate. The gradual heating provides a level of safety unlike any other Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) procedure currently available. In addition, most people find their treatment with the Soprano™ XL technology extremely comfortable with very little discomfort, hence their motto Pain-Free, Hair-Free™. While pain tolerance is subjective, most people compare their treatment to a “hot stone massage” with no downtime or recovery time, allowing them to return to work or school immediately.

Who CANNOT get Laser Hair Removal (Reduction)?

The overall effectiveness of Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) is dependent on a combination of your hair texture, hair color, and skin color. Laser light is attracted to the pigment (melanin) in your hair, making dark hair, light skin, and coarse hair the easiest to treat. Unfortunately this means the laser light will not be able to treat “peach fuzz”, light blonde, red, gray or white hair, as there is not sufficient pigment in these hair colors. Similarly, if your skin color is darker than your hair, the laser will not be able to identify the pigment in your hair color. In addition, all tanning activities must be discontinued 4 weeks prior to beginning your series of treatments. Additional time may be needed for your tan to fade before we can safely treat you. WE CANNOT TREAT TANNED SKIN. Exclusions from receiving laser treatments are those with pacemakers, pregnant or breast feeding, metal plates or screws in treatment area, those currently taking Accutane or within 6 months after use, or those with open sores or skin conditions in the treatment area.

What areas can be treated?

Any area of the body where you have unwanted hair may be treated. The most popular body areas for Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) include under arms, legs, arms, bikini, back, chest, face and neck.

What do I need to do to prepare for my Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) treatment?

Your hair in the treatment area should be shaved the day of your treatment prior to your arrival to our clinic. This helps make the procedure as effective and safe as possible. Hair removal methods such as waxing, tweezing, or threading should be avoided for at least 6 weeks prior to treatment. These methods completely remove the hair from the follicle leaving nothing for the laser light to be drawn to and making the treatment ineffective. It is recommended to only shave before and during your treatment series, as shaving does not remove the hair from the follicle.

What should I expect during my Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) treatment?

You will be provided with protective eyewear and a cool gel will be applied to the area to be treated. The laser hand piece will be placed over a small section of the treatment area, and the laser light will be flashed through the hand piece. We will continue to pass the laser hand piece over small sections of your skin in a paintbrush-like motion until the desired area has been treated in its entirety before moving onto the next section.

What should I expect after my Laser Hair Removal (Reduction) treatment?

Immediately after your treatment, you may have a mild redness at the treatment area and it may feel like a mild sunburn, which can last up to 2 hours or longer. If you have particularly thick or coarse hair, you may also notice that some or all of your hair follicles are slightly raised and/or swollen. This is a normal reaction and usually subsides within 24 hours. If you experience any discomfort or swelling, you may apply ice or cold compresses in 15 minute intervals for the first few hours after your treatment, or as needed.

After your treatment, you will also notice that the hair remains in your skin. This is because the procedure does not actually extract the hairs. Rather, it destroys them at the root and it can take some time for your body to go through the natural process of pushing the dead hair out of the follicle. While your body is pushing out your dead hair follicles, it may appear as if your hair is growing. This is not the case, as the hair is being gradually pushed up through the surface of your skin until it naturally falls out. You should not attempt to pull out the hairs or try to help them fall out in any way. Once the dead hair has fallen out of the follicle, you will experience a hair-free period. After your first treatment, the hair-free period will be brief, however, after each subsequent treatment; your hair-free period will be longer and longer. When you have completed your treatment series, approximately 80% of hair will not grow back. The remaining 20% of your hair will grow back, thinner and sometimes lighter after an extended hair-free period. You can expect great results from a series of laser treatments. However each case is different and number of treatments will depend on the size of treated area and hair structure. You will be able to return to your normal daily activities right after laser hair removal treatment.