Most Commonly Asked Questions about Laser Hair Reduction
Q: Who can have laser hair reduction?
A: Traditionally, the optimal combination for laser hair reduction was light skin and coarse dark hair. Now however, there are many lasers available that can be used on a broader range of skin colors. Blonde, red, grey, white and thin hair will not respond to laser treatments. The clinician is responsible for evaluating the client and determining treatment eligibility and efficacy for the laser being used. Additionally, there are some instances where a physician’s permission will be required before laser treatment can be administered to a client. These instances will be discussed before the beginning of any treatment.
Here is a list of people who CANNOT receive laser treatments of any kind.
– Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
– Individuals with uncontrolled diabetes and/or non-healing wounds
– Individuals with an open wound on the area of treatment
– Individuals who are on antibiotics (course must be completed for at least 15 days prior to treatment)
– Individuals who are on any medications or topical treatments that warn against photosensitivity
– Individuals who have had excessive sun exposure, regularly sun bathe or have recently been in a tanning bed
– Individuals who have a spray tan. Once the spray tan has dissipated, treatment can resume
– Individuals who have recently undergone chemo or radiation therapy for cancer
– Individuals who have any metal implants in the area of treatment, i.e. plates, screws, pins, implants
Q: Why is it called hair reduction and not removal?
A: Originally laser hair treatments were thought to be a form of permanent hair removal. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The FDA has required that the word “removal” not be used when describing laser services, but rather “reduction” because, if not maintained, some regrowth can be expected, although not to the density and thickness that it was prior to treatment. After the treatment course is completed, follow-up visits are recommended to maintain optimal hair loss.
Q: What are the risks involved with laser hair removal?
A: As with all medical procedures, there are certain risks involved. With laser hair reduction, risks include: burns, scarring, hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin), or hypopigmentation (permanent loss of color to the skin). This is why it is imperative to discuss eligibility for treatment with the laser professional before hand, so a proper treatment plan can be administered. There is little information available about the effects of laser treatments on a fetus or breastfeeding infants, therefore, pregnant and breastfeeding women are not eligible for laser procedures.
Q: Does it hurt?
A: Laser hair reduction is one of the least painful methods of hair removal available. The pulse delivered is most commonly described as a “rubber band snap” or like the sensation of “tiny drops of hot grease”. Ultrasound gel is used on the skin as a protectant, and the pulse that is generated by the laser is delivered in milliseconds. Density and coarseness of hair can contribute to increased discomfort; the thicker and darker the hair is, the more energy is felt in that particular spot. The discomfort will subside as the amount of hair decreases. Recent or current menstruation can increase sensitivity to pain in women and can also increase discomfort during a laser treatment.
Q: How many treatments will I need and how often should I come?
A: Every individual is different when it comes to LHR. Some will see results after one treatment, some may not see results until the third or fourth treatment. A minimum of six sessions are recommened, although more may be required to achieve desired results. Treatments should be spaced four to six weeks apart.
Q: Should I shave before my appointment?
A: All areas being treated should be shaved the day before your appointment. This will minimize irritation to the area and provide enough hair growth for the laser professional to see active follicles. It is recommended to avoid plucking, waxing, epilating or any other form of hair removal that takes hair out by the root for the duration of the treatmentcourse because removing the root of the hair from the follicle will result in less effective treatments.
Please discuss any other questions with the clinician before the start of any treatment course.