Although laser hair removal may keep unwanted hair away for months or even years, it does not ensure permanent hair removal.
Laser hair removal is a procedure in which unwanted hair is removed using a laser. The laser destroys the hair follicles and prevents hair growth. It is considered the best treatment for unwanted hair removal, but laser hair removal is not permanent.
The destroyed hair follicles inhibit hair growth for longer periods; however, the hair regrows after certain periods. The hair that grows after the laser treatment is usually finer and lighter in color.
Important things to know about laser hair removal
- Stay away from the sun
- Painless procedure
- Few and temporary side effects
- Quick procedure
- More than one session is often required
How does laser hair removal work?
During the hair removal procedure, the laser emits light, which is absorbed by the hair follicles. This light is converted to heat and destroys hair follicles in the skin from where the hair grows. This damage in the hair follicles may stop or delay hair growth. In most people, the hair grows back in a few months. Follow-up sessions of laser treatment may delay hair growth.
Common areas where laser hair removal is frequently performed include:
- Bikini line
Facial hair removal should be avoided around the eyes to avoid eye injuries.
Usually, six to eight sessions of laser treatments are required for maximum hair removal. In these eight sessions, maximum hair follicles are damaged but not all. The follicles are damaged and shrunk in size, which results in finer and lighter color hair, and the growth occurs very slowly.
As mentioned, 100 percent of hair removal is not expected; 75 to 90 percent of hair removal is seen.
Results may vary from person to person depending on the following:
- Area of the treatment (hair removal done on the face may require several sessions for satisfactory results)
- Settings used during the procedure
- The number of follow-up sessions taken
- An individual-specific hair growth cycle
Studies have reported that laser hair removal is effective in people with lighter complexions and darker hair because the color contrast makes the light travel easily and destroys the follicles. However, in people with darker skin, more sessions are required.
Who can have laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is indicated in the following people:
- Hirsutism (women grow dark and thick hair in the areas where generally men have hair)
- Hypertrichosis (excess hair growth can be seen either in men or women)
- Using medications such as anabolic steroids and birth control pills, which results in excess hair growth
- Increased androgen levels
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
Laser hair removal is contraindicated in people with the following conditions:
What are the risks and side effects of laser hair removal?
Side effects of laser hair removal are very low, but may include:
What happens during laser hair removal?
Several steps are involved in laser hair removal, such as:
- Your doctor cleans the area to be operated on.
- You will be provided with protective glasses, and your healthcare provider may also wear protective glasses.
- Anesthetic gel or cream is applied to the area, and the skin is treated with a laser.
- You may feel a series of mild stings.
- The procedure takes little time, from a few minutes to hours, depending on the area to be treated.
- Smokey and hair-burning smells can be noticed as the procedure involves burning the hair follicles with the heat produced by a laser.
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