Laser hair removal is gaining popularity. Primarily because with all the new skincare and makeup steps we are looking for ways to simplify our routines. We have talked about the other temporary methods of hair removal here and a laser is one of the longer-term solutions.
Let’s talk about what it entails, the procedure, the number of treatments needed for an effect, side effects.
1.What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair semi-permanent method of hair removal that uses a beam of light to destroy the hair follicles. The pigment (melanin) in the follicles absorbs the light which is converted to heat that destroys the hair follicle. Despite the general belief, laser hair removal is not permanent. It does lead to a significant reduction in hair growth in the areas treated. For laser hair removal to be effective, you will need multiple treatments to the target areas.
2. Who does it work best for?
Laser hair removal was not always suitable for all skin types particularly those above the Fitzpatrick scale IV or blonde hair. This is because the laser targets the colour pigment in the hair so worked best for people with lighter skin and dark hair. Without the colour differential between the hair and skin, it could mistake the skin for the hair and cause burns. Due to this most lasers were not suitable for black skin. However, with the development of a new type of laser the ND –YAG, laser hair treatment is possible for darker skin.
3. What does the procedure involve?
It involves the trimming the hair in the target areas, adjusting the laser settings based on colour and thickness taking into account an individual’s skin colour,
To reduce pain and discomfort, a topical anaesthetic is applied to the target areas. Both the patient and technician MUST wear protective goggles during the procedure.
You might feel discomfort, such as a warm pinprick, and you’ll likely feel a sensation of cold from the cooling device or gel. The length of the procedure depends on the area being treated, your upper lip may take a few minutes while your legs up to an hour.
Like in electrolysis, the hairs permanently destroyed are hairs in the growth phase, while those in the dormant phase are not affected.
After the procedure, you might notice redness and swellings for the first few hours after laser hair removal as well as mild pain or discomfort which can treat with over the counter pain relief or a steroid cream depending on how you feel. In order to avoid damage to your skin after laser hair removal , avoid sun exposure and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily.
Most people experience hair removal that lasts several months, and it might last for years, but laser hair removal doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. When hair regrows, it’s usually finer and lighter in colour.
4. Number of sessions needed
For the best results, you need at least 8 follow-up treatments 4 to 6 weeks apart. Once the initial sessions are completed, the maintenance needed are once-or twice-yearly sessions. The interval between treatments will vary depending on the target area for hair removal since they grow at different rates. In places like the upper lip with fast hair growth, treatment needs to be repeated in four to eight weeks. On areas of slow hair growth, such as the back, the treatment might be every 12 to 16 weeks.
5.Advantages of laser hair removal
- Laser hair removal is faster because the laser covers a larger area in a short period of time
- Can be used on hairs on any part of the body
- May make skin colour and complexion more uniform
6. What are the disadvantages?
- Laser hair removal is a long process. Although the actual procedure is not lengthy the process requires multiple sessions over a period of time for the best results.
- Patients with very dark skin may not respond well due to the lack of distinct colour differential between their skin and hair colours
- Blonde or gravy/white hair is less responsive to laser hair removal due to lack of pigment in the hair
- Laser removal is expensive a session costs up to N50k and you need at least 8 sessions.
- Can cause burns or scars if the technician is not properly trained
- People of Fitzpatrick scale IV and above may suffer from pigmentation issues either hyper or hypopigmentation of the area treated.
- There is a risk of adverse reactions like all procedures
- Lasers hair removal can cause photosensitivity so avoid direct exposure to the sun immediately after the procedure.
N55, 000, /per session but this will vary depending on the body part
7. Where can you get it?
Have you done laser hair removal in Nigeria? what has been your experience, Good, bad? let me know in the comments