There might not be a single woman, who would not want a permanent solution to her problem of body hair. While there are many women who have no issues with body hair, there are some who will spend an immense amount of time and even a great of money to remove this hair. The traditional methods include shaving, waxing and hair removal creams. However, the one problem with all these methods is that while they remove the hair at that point of time, the hair will eventually return. This means that hair removal procedure needs to be done, time and again and this is something that tends to irritate a lot of women.
One of the newer methods of hair removal and that too permanently happens to be laser hair removal and although there was a lot of scepticism about it in the beginning, a growing number of people are now considering it a good solution to hair removal. As a matter of fact, it is not just women, but also looks conscious men, who are opting for it.
Before you decide that you too want to get a laser hair removal procedure done, it is important that you understand every aspect of it. Quite obviously, you will need to start by choosing the best place to get the procedure done. In order to gauge that, you need to get satisfactory answers for certain questions, such as:
- Are the technicians licensed and certified to perform the procedure
- How much experience do the doctors or technicians have
- How many lasers are there in the particular clinic
- Are the machines owned by the clinic or rented
- What kinds of machines are used
- Which are the kind of laser hair removal procedures offered
- Which type of laser would be best suited to your skin type and why
- How many sessions will be required and how long will each session last
Preparing for the procedure:
It is important to understand that laser hair removal is not just a hair removal procedure – it is actually a medical procedure, which needs to be done with a lot of care and precision. This is exactly why the credentials of the doctor or technician performing the procedure are extremely important. A good doctor will tell you that you will have to stop plucking, waxing or bleaching your hair, at least 40 days before the procedure. This is suggested because the hair roots will be intact, which is exactly what the laser targets. In addition, you will be asked to avoid too much sun exposure before and after the procedure, because skin tanning can prove to be detrimental before and damaging post the laser hair removal.
- The areas that have been identified treatment, will have to be kept protected against too much sun exposure, particularly sun tanning for four to six weeks. The same precaution also needs to be taken while the treatment is going on.
- For the same period of time, which is four to six weeks before the procedure, it is also suggested that you avoid waxing, plucking or bleaching your hair.
- Shaving needs to be avoided from about a week before the procedure, because a certain length is required to complete the procedure effectively.
- Drugs or medicines that can cause photosensitivity need to be stopped 24-48 hours before the procedure.
- In case you have a history of herpes, you need to complete a full course of treatment, before you can undergo laser hair removal.
Because your hair will be of a certain length by the time of the procedure, it will be trimmed to just a few millimetres about the surface of the skin. There are plenty of factors that will help the doctor decide what kind of laser to use on your skin, and some of these include:
- The colour of your hair
- The colour of your skin
- The thickness of the hair
- The location of the hair
The technician as well as you would be required to wear protective eyewear and a special gel will be applied to your skin, to ensure its protection. This kind of gels also offer a guidance system to the laser beam and allow it to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, without damaging the upper layers. The next step will be to direct a pulse of light to the area and observing the area for results or side effects. Required changes will be made in the settings, should the same be needed. Once the procedure has been completed, you will be given ice packs or anti-inflammatory creams to soothe your skin. Within about five weeks, your skin will be ready for the next session and the same will have to be continued till the hair stops growing altogether.
- There can be swelling and redness for a while, but it will normally not last for beyond a few hours. You can use aloe vera to soothe the same. Ice will also help with the redness, swelling and warmth.
- You need to make sure that you keep your skin sun safe – try not to step out into the direct sunlight and if you must, you should use sunscreen or keep the treated parts covered.
- Try not to use any chemical or cosmetic products on the treated area, because it could lead to irritation and even infections.
- Any kind of activity that can cause sweating, such as strenuous physical activity, sauna, hot tub or even being near an industrial oven, needs to be avoided.
Apart from being one of the most effective methods of removing unwanted hair, laser hair removal also has certain other benefits:
- No matter how thick or fine your hair is, it can be removed quite easily using laser, because laser can target specific hair.
- The pulse of the laser needs less than a second to target multiple hair, which is why there an immense amount of speed associated with the procedure.
- The procedure can be done, even on the most sensitive parts of the body, such as the lips and areas near the eyes.
- There is minimal pain, and whatever discomfort there might be, such as redness, swelling or irritation, it will disappear in a few hours.
- In most cases, hair growth stops completely in about four to five sessions. Even if there is hair growth it will be minimal and the hair will be extremely fine, so almost invisible.
- Most of the machines used for laser hair removal are extremely efficient, easy to use and ensure minimal discomfort to the patient.
- The final result is hairless skin, which is smooth and even, giving you a stunning look!
While there are plenty of advantages to laser hair removal, there are a few disadvantages too:
- One of the biggest disadvantages would have to be the cost, because this is not an in expensive procedure. And because you will need multiple sessions for complete hair loss, chances are that it will eat into your savings.
- Laser hair removal will not necessarily work for all people, because it does not work for people with very light hair. Similarly, it will not work for people with very dark skin or even very pale skin.
- The procedure will work only on hair that is still actively growing, because it removes those particular hair follicles.
This article was written by Dr. Aman Dua, Co-Founder & Managing Director at AK Clinics has over fourteen years of clinical and teaching experience in the fields of Dermatology and Hair Transplant.