There are many hair removal options on the market. From plucking and threading to waxing and lasers, we now have many methods to choose from. Recent studies show that laser hair removal is a growing medical treatment, projecting to reach over 1.5 billion people by 2022. Many dermatologists offer this treatment for their patients as a long-term solution to unwanted hair.
Before scheduling an appointment, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about laser hair removal.
What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is a procedure that involves using laser light pulses or wavelengths to remove body hair by destroying the hair follicle. You can remove hair from any body part. The most common areas patients treated include the underarms, back, bikini area, legs, upper lip, arms and eyebrows. The best candidates for this treatment are those with darker hair, as the laser beam can easily target the hair’s melatonin.
Until 1996, this procedure was done by dermatologists only on an experimental basis. The first laser hair removal technology created in 1960 caused burns and only minimized hair growth. From 1960 to 1996, many machines slowed down hair growth, but never permanently removed the hair. In 1996, two scientists, R. Rox Anderson and Melanie Grossman, discovered that the stem cells within the hair follicles can be partially, yet safely, damaged. A year after their discovery, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved laser hair removal. Since the early 2000s, it has become a common treatment in medical offices.
What are the benefits of laser hair removal?
There are many benefits associated with laser hair removal. Proper treatments can help avoid ingrown hairs, leave your skin soft, leave no scars, give long-lasting results and thin out any returning hair. It is also the least painful hair removal method. Laser machines, like the one we use at Columbia Skin Clinic, offer permanent hair loss after a few sessions due to its precise and fast treatments.
Ways to prepare for laser hair removal?
The steps you can take to prepare for your appointment include limiting all forms of hair removal treatments except shaving six weeks before your appointment. You should also avoid sun exposure six weeks before and after your procedure. If you do plan on going outside, wear sunscreen on the areas that will be treated, as the sun can damage the hair follicles.
What should I expect during my appointment?
Laser hair removal appointments are fast, efficient and usually painless. First, the technician will trim the hair to right above the skin’s surface. The technician will also apply topical numbing cream 20-30 minutes before the treatment to help deter laser pulse stings. Since it takes time for the cream to activate, the technician will take that time to set the laser equipment based on your skin color and the color, thickness and location of the hair.
What should I expect after my appointment?
For most patients, the recovery process after laser hair removal is easy. Many people return to their regular routines. Doctors recommend patients continue wearing sunscreen to help prevent irritation. Immediately after the procedure, your hairs will be noticeably reduced. Within two to eight weeks after your procedure, you may notice an increase in hair growth. There is no need to worry because not all hair follicles respond at the same rate to the laser. For permanent hair removal, you will need between three and eight sessions and a yearly touch-up session.
Laser hair removal in Columbia, Lexington, Camden and Irmo
Laser hair removal treatments are not for everyone. Before trying this procedure, consult your dermatologist to go over the best options for you. For more information about laser hair removal or any other cosmetic dermatology services, contact us today.