Do you know the truth about laser hair removal? Here’s the real deal about this popular procedure.
Myth: Laser hair removal is painful, and can cause skin damage.
Fact: Today’s lasers are much more advanced and focused than they used to be, so the pain is tolerable. Some lasers use cooling or suction to reduce discomfort, and some practices will prescribe a numbing cream or serum to be applied several hours prior to treatment that can literally make your experience painless. Ask your doctor for suggestions on how to handle small levels of discomfort, if you are sensitive to it.
As for damage to the skin, as long as the correct laser is used for your particular skin type and the appropriate settings are used you should not have any skin adversities. This is why it’s important to visit an experience practitioner for your laser hair removal.
Myth: Laser hair removal doesn’t work on all skin or hair types.
Fact: It is true that lasers work differently on different types of hair and skin. That’s because they target melanin, which is the dark pigment found in hair and skin, and some lasers cannot differentiate skin color from similarly-colored hair. Lasers are not one size fits all, but most people should be able to have laser hair removal.
There are many types of lasers out there offering different wavelengths. People with light skin and dark hair can use a shorter wavelength like the Alexandrite laser (755nm wavelength). People with darker skin and dark hair should use a longer wavelength like the nd:YAG (1064nm wavelength). Why a longer wavelength for dark skin? It is long enough that it is able to penetrate the skin before it begins looking for pigment, keeping the skin safe.
The only scenarios in which you may not be a candidate is if the hair you would like to get rid of is light in color, blonde, gray or white, the laser simplyskinskin cannot see it. In those situations electrolysis is the only permanent route to go. Other than that most people are candidates and would benefit from laser hair removal.
Myth: Laser hair removal makes more hair grow.
Fact: This is simply not possible. The lasers damage hair follicles to the point that hair cannot grow. However, over the course of our lives our bodies change, and our body hair changes. We lose hair in some places, and grow more in other places. Basically, lasers can destroy the hair follicles that already exist, but they can’t stop new ones from growing. Still, the hair that is removed is gone permanently.
Myth: You can get a significant reduction in hair growth from just one session.
Fact: Laser hair removal is a process that destroys hair follicles over the course of multiple treatments. Each time a hair follicle is hit with laser energy it is cutting off the blood supply that fuels the follicles hair production. Results can be seen within a few weeks of your first treatment, but best results come from a series of sessions, spaced 6 weeks apart. That’s because hair grows in separate cycles at different times, so it can’t all be targeted at the same time.
Each session reduces hair growth about 10-15 percent, so the number of sessions you undergo will be determined by the results you want. So while you will see a reduction with one treatment, more will be needed to achieve 75%-90% reduction which is an achievable goal.
That being said don’t be misled by anyone who tell you that you will never shave again if you have laser hair removal, this is simply not true. We are mammals and we produce hormones that want to produce hair. So laser hair removal will permanently reduce the amount of hair you have, but you will be 100% hairless.
Myth: All lasers, and all laser technicians, are the same.
Fact: It’s important to find a practice overseen by a doctor with experience in laser procedures, with well-trained, licensed technicians. This is especially true if you think your hair and skin color may be more difficult to treat because of its color or lack of contrast, or if you’re afraid of pain.
You need to ask questions and make sure you trust the experience of the practice that will do your procedure. For that reason, laser services offered at spas and salons may not be ideal. It is always recommended to read reviews and see what others are saying, so that you can make the right choice for yourself.
Don’t fall prey to misconceptions about laser hair removal, and remember to take into account safety, convenience, price, and the qualifications of your cosmetic practitioner.