Laser Hair Removal FAQ
Laser uses targeted photons of light which scatter beneath the skin’s surface. The light from the laser is attracted to the pigment (known as melanin) in the hair follicle. Dark pigment acts as ‘fuel’ and absorbs the light energy which is then converted into heat. In order to destroy the hair follicle the hair needs to be in the anagen stage (active growth phase) and we need to achieve at least 70 degrees of heat to effectively treat unwanted hair. If this temperature is not reached, The hair will not be able to be permanently removed and instead merely damaged, which will result in the hair growing back finer and lighter (instead of being permanently removed). This is the major difference between laser hair removal, and other substandard methods such as IPL and Diode treatments. The thicker and darker the hair, the more pigment it will hold, therefore more light will be absorbed giving you a higher likelihood of permanently removing the hair.
On average, we recommend that clients undergo a course of 6-8 treatments spaced between 6-8 weeks apart. The number of treatments depend on certain factors such as age, genetics, hormones, medical factors and medications. In some cases, clients may require ongoing maintenance treatments due to:
Age: As we get older both men and women may have a natural increase in hair growth. Men, for example can experience an increase in the chest, back, shoulders, cheeks, and back of neck. Women can experience an increase in facial hair. For this reason, we can only attempt to destroy the hair that is growing today, not the ones that are yet to appear with age.
Genetic Factors: Differences in genetic makeup will vary greatly from person to person and some will naturally have more hair than others.
Hormonal factors: An imbalance of hormones may affect hair growth. Woman who fall pregnant while undergoing laser treatments may notice an increase of hair growth even though they are having laser treatment; this is due to the imbalance of hormone levels.
Medical Factors: Very low body fat leads to increased hair growth in some cases. In addition, certain medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome can affect hair growth in women. While laser treatments will remove the hair that is present at the time of treatment, certain medical conditions can cause clients to grow more hair which will require additional and possibly ongoing treatments. Speak to one of our paramedical therapists about your condition as we offer a 15% discount for eligible clients.
Medications: Certain medications can cause an increase or decrease in hair growth. Once the medication is stopped hair growth may then increase or decrease. For example cancer drugs, steroids, and the contraceptive pill may alter hair growth. Any medication that affects hormone levels will also affect hair growth. You must always ensure that you inform your therapist of any medications that you are taking while undergoing any form of laser treatment.
The two most important factors when it comes to achieving results is the colour of the hair follicle and the colour of the skin. The laser is attracted to pigment (known as melanin), and for this reason clients with light skin and dark hair will generally get the best results. However, at Victorian Cosmetic Dermal Clinics, we successfully treat darker skins types using our medical grade lasers and specific operating parameters to ensure maximum safety and efficacy.
The thicker and darker the hair the better the results
Red, grey, white and blonde hairs will not respond regardless of the number of treatments
Fine pigmented hairs may become a little bit finer and lighter
The lighter your skin the better the results
Darker skin types will require additional treatments
Treatments are usually performed every 4-6 weeks for facial hair and every 8-10 weeks for body hair. It is important to ensure your treatments are performed at the right times depending on the location on the body.
Throughout our body we have three different stages of hair growth. The first stage is called the Anagen phase where the hair is attached to the root. This is the active growth stage and may last between 2-6 years. This is the only stage in which we can attempt to successfully destroy the hair follicle. The second stage is called the Catagen stage where the hair follicle has moved upwards and is no longer attached to the root. This stage usually lasts 1-2 weeks. We cannot remove any hair that is in this stage of growth. The third stage is called the Telogen stage where the hair follicle is totally separated from the root. This stage lasts between 5 and 6 weeks, we cannot remove the hair that is in this stage of growth. This is the reason you require a course of treatments.
- Redness and slight swelling
- Erythema (red and bumpy looking skin)
- Sun burnt feeling
- Temporary heat on the area
- Pigmentation changes where the skin becomes lighter and darker (RARE)
- Crusting (RARE)
- Blistering (RARE)
Prior to a laser treatment you must ensure that you are fully shaved and you do not wax, pluck, thread or use any other hair removal method where you are removing the hair from the root. We need to ensure the root is present at the time of treatment in order to destroy it. The reason we shave the area before a laser treatment is to ensure that all the heat travels to the root of the hair and is not absorbed by the tip of the hair follicle. This will result in the most effective treatment possible. While some clients believe that shaving can cause more hair growth, there have been studies to prove that this is simply a myth. The other reason why it is important to shave before having a laser treatment is to reduce any chances of epidermal damage. Prior to a laser treatment you must also ensure that you are not tanned from any source, including sun tan, solarium, spray tans or fake tans for a minimum of 1 month. The reason for this is because the laser is attracted to pigment and cannot distinguish between the pigment in a hair follicle or the pigment in the skin. You must ensure you inform your therapist of any sun exposure you have had prior to having a laser treatment and apply a SPF 30+ or greater everyday during the course of your laser treatments. You must also ensure that you do not engage in any activities that will generate extra heat to the body including but not limited to exercise, saunas, spas and swimming.
After having a laser treatment you must treat the area like you would if you had been sun burnt. Avoid any hot showers, saunas, spas, exercise, sun exposure, products with active ingredients (AHA’s and BHA’s) and any other activities that will generate more heat to the area (and surrounding areas) for up to 1 week. Everyone responds differently to laser treatment therefore healing times will vary. Applying a topical anti bacterial, anti inflammatory agent such as Skinstitut Laser Aid is essential to aid in soothing, calming and cooling the skin. What you will notice in 2-3 weeks (7-10 days on face) after your laser treatment is that the hair may appear as though it is growing back. Don’t be alarmed! The hair in fact is not growing back, it is the hair that was treated falling out of the follicle. You can encourage this hair to fall out by gently rubbing the area with a soft cloth or exfoliating once your skin has healed from the laser treatment.
While laser hair removal is most effective on clients with light skin, here at Victorian Cosmetic Dermal Clinics we have medical grade lasers that can safely treat darker skin types. Additional treatments may be required.
With laser hair removal, ingrown hairs are a thing of the past. While there are many creams and lotions out there that claim to remove ingrown hairs, laser hair removal is by far the most effective treatment. The reason for this is that the follicle is being destroyed once and for all. Clients who suffer from ingrown hairs may also suffer from scarring, therefore the sooner you treat the area, the less chances you have of developing scarring around the area.
There are many differences between lasers and IPLs. The biggest difference is the wavelength of light. When treating a hair follicle we must ensure the light travels at the correct depth in order to reach the root of the hair. The Candela GentleLASE has a wavelength of 755nm ensuring we reach the root of the hair most effectively. IPLs on the other hand have varied wavelengths, which means that not all the light is penetrating at the right depth to target hair. It is for this reason that the Alexandrite GentleLASE is the market leader worldwide.
Treatments performed with medical grade lasers are generally performed every 4-6 weeks on the face and every 8-10 weeks on the body compared to every 4 weeks for the entire body on an IPL.
We can safely treat every single part of the body except within a close proximity of the eyes. We cannot shape eyebrows however we can treat the mid brow. We are confident that we can effectively and safely remove unwanted hair permanently. Come and experience Victorian Cosmetic Dermal Clinics difference today. What have you got to lose? Except unwanted, unsightly hair!