Lasers can remove unwanted hair faster, more comfortably and more reliably than many other methods. Whether you are a man or a woman, young or old, laser hair removal is an alternative to plucking, shaving, waxing, electrolysis or chemical depilatories.
Age, sex, weight, metabolism, hormones, genetics, ethnicity, medications, location of hair, and the changing of seasons can all affect hair growth. The growth of hair occurs in three phases.
Phase 1: Anagen
Hair’s active growth phase is called anagen and lasts up to several years. The majority of hair is in this phase at any given time. During anagen, the hair has an abundance of melanin.
Phase 2: Catagen
The catagen or regressive phase lasts about 2 to 4 weeks. In this phase, hair stops growing but is not yet shed. About 3 or 4 per cent of body hair is in this phase.
Phase 3: Telogen
Lasting weeks to months, the telogen or resting phase is when hair falls out and a new hair begins to form. At least 10 to 15 per cent of body hair is in this phase.
At any given time, hairs from various parts of the body are at different phases. This cycling prevents all body hair from falling out at the same time and waiting months for hair to grow back.
Although laser hair removal is not usually considered permanent, studies have shown that areas where hair is removed by lasers can generally remain hair free longer than by most other methods. Lasers most effectively disable hair that is in the anagen or active growth phase.
Lasers emit a powerful beam of light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicles. The more pigment the hair has i.e. the darker in colour, the more effective the treatment is. The laser pulses for a fraction of a second, just long enough to vaporise the pigment while minimising damage to the surrounding skin. The hair follicles absorb the laser energy impairing the ability to grow new hair.
The Fotona SP Dynamis laser system uses the ultimate laser technology for hair removal, “Avalanche FRAC3®”, which improves hair removal efficacy and reduces patient discomfort.
The lasers designed for hair removal can be used on most parts of the body. Many lasers effectively treat large areas. Laser hair removal can treat the:
It cannot always be predicted who will respond to the laser treatment, or if someone does respond, how long the hair will remain dormant.
Since the energy is released into darker pigmented areas, lasers work best for people with light skin and dark hair. Individuals with dark skin require more treatments while red, grey, white and blonde hairs do not respond as well to lasers, since there is no dark pigment in the hair follicles.
The number of treatments required depends on skin and hair colour, density and coarseness of the hair, as well as the specific area to be treated.
Because all hair in a treated area may not be in the anagen phase, more than one laser treatment is necessary to remove hair that subsequently enters the growth phase. The desired results vary from person to person. Even though certain hair follicles in a given area have been treated, age and hormones may cause other hair follicles to start growing in the area. If regrowth of hair occurs, the hair is often thinner and lighter in colour.
On average, after three to five treatments, scheduled four to six weeks apart, there will be approximately 50 to 80 per cent less hair growth.
Before the treatment, the area to be treated will be cleansed. Some patients receive a numbing gel. Numbing the area to be treated helps when a small area will be treated and the skin is very sensitive. It takes about one hour for a numbing gel to work.
The laser treatment will take place in a room set up specifically for laser treatments. Everyone in the room must wear protective eyewear during the procedure. To perform the procedure, the skin is held taut and the skin is treated with the laser. Many patients say that the laser pulses feel like warm pinpricks or a rubber band being snapped against the skin.
A laser removes hair by vaporising it. This causes small plumes of smoke that have a sulphur-like smell.
How long your treatment lasts depends on the size of the area being treated. Treating the upper lip takes minutes. If you are having a large area like the back or legs treated, your treatment may last more than an hour.
Most patients remain hair free for months or even years. When the hair regrows, most patients see noticeably less hair than before. The hair also tends to be finer and lighter in colour.
To keep the area free of hair, a patient may need maintenance laser treatments.
Side-effects vary with skin type, hair colour, treatment plan and adherence to pre-treatment and post-treatment care. The most common side-effects of laser hair removal include:
Rarely, laser hair removal can cause blistering, crusting, scarring or other changes in skin texture. Other rare side-effects include greying of treated hair or excessive hair growth around treated areas, particularly on darker skin.
Laser hair removal isn’t recommended for eyelids, eyebrows or surrounding areas, due to the possibility of severe eye injury.
If you have laser hair removal, it is important to start following your dermatologist’s instructions immediately. This helps reduce potential side-effects.
After laser hair removal and between scheduled treatments until at least six weeks after the end of treatment:
You will see some redness and swelling after treatment. This often looks like mild sunburn. Applying a cool compress can help reduce your discomfort.