About Laser Hair Removal in Atlanta
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a single wavelength of light (laser) to remove/reduce unwanted hair. It can be safely and effectively performed on most areas of the body, including the Face, Neck, Chest, Bikini, Legs, Back, Buttocks, Breasts/Nipples, Ears, Abdomen, Underarms, and Arms. Due to serious risk of ocular injury, laser hair removal can not be performed around the eyebrows. The treatment also reduces ingrown hairs and razor bumps.
Laser hair removal is a process that requires a series of treatments to achieve the best results. Because of this, at WIFH, all of our laser hair removal packages include 8 treatments at 6-week intervals. Custom treatment packages can be made to accommodate multiple treatment areas, as well.
Our staff of Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Medical Aestheticians are all licensed laser practitioners by the Georgia Composite Medical Board.
Since 2002, WIFH’s laser medical practitioners have performed more than 1.5 million laser hair removal treatments.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
The power of laser hair removal comes from the absorption of laser energy into the pigment of the hair follicles — also known as melanin. Just as the energy from the sun is absorbed by the black color in clothing — producing a large amount of heat — when applied to the skin surface, laser energy is absorbed by the melanin in the hair follicle. This absorption creates a significant amount of heat that damages or destroys the hair follicle.
So, while commonly known as laser hair removal, the hair isn’t actually being removed, rather, the laser reduces the number of hair follicles and their ability to produce hair by 75% to 90%. Patients will never achieve 100% hair reduction, and WIFH will never guarantee 100% hair reduction. Patients who hear of such promises from other practitioners should not believe these claims.
Following a series of treatments, the remaining hair is typically finer in thickness because of the reduction in follicle size. Hairs will appear lighter in color and grow back very slowly, decreasing the amount of maintenance for the patient post-treatment.
Laser Hair Removal Risks & Side Effects
Laser hair removal is a fairly low risk treatment, safely treating all skin types and ethnicities, provided the practitioner performing the treatment has the appropriate training and experience to take specific patient characteristics such as skin type, body treatment location, and sun-exposed or tanned skin into consideration when selecting the course of treatment.
The most common complication from laser hair removal is hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is the temporary darkening of the skin. This can occur in light skinned patients who have had extended sun exposure resulting in the tanning of the skin.
Hyperpigmentation is less common in darker skin types. Hyperpigmentation is not a burn and isn’t long-term, typically resolving on its own over the course of several days. In rare instances hyperpigmentation can last several months. If a patient experiences any issues or concerns following treatment the patient should contact their provider.
Preparing For Laser Hair Removal
Sunscreen should be used on all skin types all the time, but it is very important for patients who are undergoing laser hair removal to protect their skin from sunburn leading up to each treatment. Patients who have had recent sun exposure resulting in a visible tan or tan lines, it is recommended to reschedule the treatment for a later date, once the tanning has subsided.
Before undergoing a laser hair removal treatment, patients will need to make sure the skin in the treatment area is clean and free of makeup, lotions, creams, and deodorant. This is necessary to reduce the risk of damaging the patient’s skin from burning of the hair during the procedure, as laser energy converts into heat energy.
It is recommended to shave the day-of or the day before the procedure. Do not Wax or Pluck hairs, as Waxing and plucking can reduce the effectiveness of the laser treatment. Patients who have recently waxed or plucked should wait several weeks before having a laser hair removal treatment.
Bleaching prior to the procedure is safe, as bleach only changes the color of the hair on the surface of the skin — the hair within the follicle will maintain its pigment.
What To Expect During The Procedure
Laser hair removal is not painless, but most WIFH patients tolerate treatment really well. For those with sensitivity (roughly 25% of WIFH patients) a numbing cream can be prescribed that the patient can apply prior to the treatment to reduce discomfort.
Treatment duration ranges between 3 minutes to 60 minutes or more, depending on the area of the body being treated. For example, an upper lip takes approximately 3 minutes to treat, whereas a larger area such as full legs takes approximately 60 minutes per treatment.
Recovery After Laser Hair Removal
There is no downtime after receiving a laser hair removal treatment. Patients can continue normal activities immediately following treatment. Patients may experience some redness in the skin, but it typically dissipates in a matter of minutes. In rare instances some patients may experience redness for up to 24-48 hours.
While it is necessary to complete a series of 8 laser hair removal sessions, patients will see a gradual reduction. Approximately 2 to 3 weeks after each session, patients will notice hair reduction as well as a reduction of ingrown hair and razor burn.
Although marked reduction of up to 50% may be seen after the first session, it should not be perceived as permanent, as regrowth will occur. It is important that patients complete all 8 treatments to see sustainable results and the most reduction. Because facial hair is hormonally driven, patients undergoing facial hair removal should expect to need 1-3 touch-up treatments each year to maintain results after completing their 8-session package.
Laser Hair Removal Patient Consultations
WIFH believes consultations are very important to help educate patients on the laser hair removal process. Consultations provide an opportunity to get to know the patient, and to understand their questions and concerns.
During the consultation a member of the WIFH clinical team will assess the patient’s skin and hair to provide a realistic expected outcome of laser hair removal for their specific case.
It is common practice at WIFH for patients to begin laser hair removal treatments the day of their consultation. If a patient would like to begin treatment immediately following the consultation, simply let us know so an appropriate amount of time can be scheduled for the procedure.
Laser Hair Removal Before & After Photos
Laser Hair Removal FAQs
Yes! This is one of the great beneficial side effects of laser hair removal. Reduction of hair bumps and ingrown hairs will be markedly noticeable even after your first session. We have seen this on all body parts including face, neck, bikini line, legs, backs and underarms.
Even the fairest of blondes may have enough pigment in their hair for the laser to work. Still, we prefer to see these patients for a consultation. If we don’t think you are a good candidate, we will tell you right away so that you don’t waste your money. One thing is certain, if you have very light hair, it is important that your skin be very light to get the best results.
We strongly recommend that you DO NOT USE TANNING BEDS, SPRAY-ON TANS OR SELF TANNERS while undergoing laser hair removal treatment!
We understand that many people use self-tanners and spray tanners, however we cannot treat you with a laser while it is on your skin. When scheduling your laser hair removal treatments please be sure that you have allowed enough time for all of the artificial tanner to be gone from your skin. You are able to use self-tanners/spray tan immediately following your laser hair removal treatment.
Tanning beds are different, because they actually tan the skin. For Caucasian patients we need you to be as close to your natural skin tone as possible, so tanning is not recommended while you are having laser hair removal.
We prefer you to not do either of these. Feel free to shave the area as needed, but avoid waxing, plucking or threading.