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Laser Hair Removal: Reduce Unwanted Hair

What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal is a noninvasive way to reduce or remove unwanted body hair.

Laser hair removal works by using concentrated light to affect hair follicles. The hair follicle absorbs the laser, which is attracted to the hair’s melanin pigment, and the hair vaporizes instantly.

The pigment in the hair attracts the laser, so darker hair absorbs the laser more effectively, which is why people with dark hair and light skin are ideal candidates for laser hair removal.

Those with light hair are not a good candidate, as the laser doesn’t focus well on non-pigmented hair. Laser hair removal is not effective on blonde, gray, or white hairs.

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Preparing for laser hair removal

Following these instructions improves the effectiveness of the procedure and reduces the risk of side effects. Here are some common recommendations:

  • Stay out of the sun for a few weeks before the procedure. Laser hair removal shouldn’t be performed on tanned skin.

  • Avoid irritating the skin.

  • Stay away from waxing and plucking.

  • Try not to take anti-inflammatory drugs that may increase bleeding, such as aspirin.

  • If you have an active infection, such as a cold sore or bacterial skin infection, the procedure should not be performed.

Additionally, if you have dark skin, you might be recommended to apply a skin-bleaching compound to the treatment area.

  • On average, three to seven sessions are needed for optimal results.

  • In most cases, patients experience minimal discomfort during and after the treatment.

  • There’s usually little to no post-treatment downtime required.

Are there any risks or side effects?

The most common side effects include:

  • swelling

  • redness

  • discomfort and skin irritation


What to expect after laser hair removal

The recovery time after the procedure is minimal and most patients can return to life as normal directly after. Just as wearing sunscreen before the procedure is important, so is continuing to wear it after the procedure. This will help prevent further irritation.

You can expect to see a reduction in the number of hairs in the treated area immediately after the procedure. Two to eight weeks after laser hair removal, you may notice an increase in hair growth in the treated area. The reason for this is that not all hair follicles respond equally to the laser. Most patients see a 10 to 25 percent reduction in hair after the first treatment. It typically takes between three and seven sessions for permanent hair loss. Also, you will likely need a touch-up session yearly to maintain the effect.

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