About Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal can permanently reduce or completely eliminate unwanted hair from any area of your body. Laser hair removal is a successful and straight forward process with very high satisfaction rates. It is far more comfortable, cost-effective, time efficient, and long-lasting than other hair removal techniques such as waxing, electrolysis, tweezing, shaving, and chemical depilation.
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser energy is absorbed by melanin pigment in your hair shaft. This thermal energy is then transmitted to the cellular lining of the hair follicle in the form of a controlled injury that renders the follicle inactive. Since melanin pigment is the target of the laser, hairs that are white do not respond to treatment.
Does laser hair removal permanently remove hair?
The extent to which hairs are removed, as well as the duration of clearance, depends largely on the patient being treated. Those who often see the best results from laser hair removal have a lot of melanin in their hair (dark hair), since this is what the laser beam is targeting. In these patients, it is very possible that the vast majority of the targeted hair can be permanently removed. Hair that is blonde, red, or fine does not contain as much target melanin for the laser, and therefore is not as able to absorb as much energy during a given treatment session. Patients with these types of hair can still be successfully treated, but it may take more treatment sessions in order to successfully remove their hair and touch up sessions may be required. Patients who do not have any underlying medical conditions, and who are not taking any medications that are contributing to hair growth, also have a higher likelihood of seeing permanent results.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments needed depends on your hair color, hair texture, amount of melanin in your skin (skin tone), body area, hair growth cycle, whether you have underlying hormonal disorders, and your body’s response to the treatment. In most cases, six or more treatments are required over a period of months to achieve the best results. Multiple treatments are needed because laser hair removal is most effective for hair which is in the “anagen phase” of growth. Since hair grows in cycles, not all the hairs are in this phase at any given time. Additional sessions are necessary to catch all the hairs at a point in their growth cycle when they are most susceptible to laser removal.
Patients with underlying medical conditions, or who are taking medications that are contributing to excessive hair growth, may also require additional treatment sessions, as well as special adjustments in laser settings, to successfully remove their hair. These patients might also find that they require more frequent touch up sessions to maintain hair clearance.
The laser and settings that are used also influence the number of treatments that you will need. For example, our Quanta Thunder laser, the only one of its kind in the US, can blend two different wavelengths of light (755-nm and 1064-nm) and deliver them to the skin simultaneously in a manner that is highly effective while also extremely safe. As a result of its advanced ability to deliver two laser wavelengths at the same time, a single treatment with the Thunder laser is equivalent to two treatments with two single wavelength lasers. The Thunder laser allows you to achieve your hair removal goals in the fastest manner possible.
What areas of the body can be treated?
Laser hair removal can be performed on any part of the body. Keep in mind, however, that different anatomic areas may respond differently to treatment.
Does laser hair removal also help eliminate ingrown hairs and the bumps that form around them?
Yes! Laser hair removal is the perfect solution for folliculitis, ingrown hairs, pseudofolliculitis barbae (ingrown hair bumps in the beard area), and acne keloidalis nuchae (ingrown hair bumps on the back of the neck). These conditions cause both physical and emotional discomfort, and in some cases can lead to significant disfigurement requiring surgery if they are not intervened upon early. Ingrown hairs are often the cause of unsightly red bumps that develop on the surface of the skin. For men, ingrown hairs often occur in their beard area and neck. For women, the most troublesome spots are often the bikini area and the legs. Because laser hair removal targets hair at the follicle, it eliminates the problem of ingrown hair at its root, as well as any accompanying inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and scarring of the skin surrounding the hair.
How do I prepare for laser hair removal?
Because the hair must be present in the follicle to act as a target for the laser, you should not pluck, wax, or use any other method of hair removal that pulls the hair from its root for at least a month prior to your treatment session. The treatment area should be shaved approximately 2-3 days prior to your appointment so that the hair is visible, but not long. Also, it is important to avoid sun exposure and sunless tanning products for at least two weeks prior to treatment and two weeks following treatment. This is because skin that is hyperpigmented during your treatment will increase the risk of blistering, uneven pigmentation, and scarring.
What are the side effects of laser hair removal?
Some people develop mild redness and swelling in the treated areas for a few hours to a few days following treatment. Very rarely, some people might develop inflammation, blistering, or changes in skin pigmentation. These rarer complications can generally be avoided by protecting the targeted areas from the sun before and after treatment. Permanent scarring is also an extremely rare complication of laser hair removal.
Is laser hair removal painful?
The modern lasers that we use at Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center are virtually painless. The laser’s settings (and associated discomfort) will vary depending on your hair type, skin tone, anatomic area being treated, and the laser needed for good hair removal results. We can also use topical numbing and cold air to help you get through the treatment of areas that feel particularly sensitive, or that you are nervous to have treated.
Why trust Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center for my hair removal needs?
At Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center, we have the most advanced and complete selection of lasers to meet your unique needs. As the largest dedicated cosmetic laser center in the world, with over 50 state-of-the-art lasers in our clinic, you can be assured that we will select the laser and energy settings that will be safest for your unique skin type. Our professional staff is highly experienced in treating all skin types in a manner that is safe and efficacious. We are also extremely sensitive to the reasons why a person might be seeking laser hair removal in the first place. Whether you are seeking laser hair removal for the sake of convenience, to address an aspect of your appearance that you are self-conscious about, to relieve pain, to support a gender transition, or for any other number of personal reasons, you can be assured that you will be treated with professionalism, compassion, and discretion at the Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center.