Laser hair removal can be a good way to permanently rid yourself of unwanted hair. When done correctly, the upfront cost is big, but it can save hundreds of dollars over a lifetime. In general, during the procedure a laser is used on unwanted body or facial hair. This laser heats the hair follicle at the base, destroying the hair and preventing regrowth.
People who are interested in laser hair removal should first meet with a dermatologist. This doctor will be able to advise the patient on how well laser hair removal could work, based on analyzing his or hair hair and skintype. During this initial consultation the dermatologist should also discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure. Typically, skin can either turn darker or lighter after the procedure, but the amount of this change is different for everyone. If the patient is comfortable with these risks and the doctor deems that the patient is a good candidate for the procedure, then the patient will typically schedule a follow-up appointment to begin laser hair removal.
At the next appointment, the patient will remove any clothing and jewelry from the site where he or she wants hair removed. Then, a technician will make sure that there are no lotions, cosmetics or creams on the area to be treated. These chemicals can sometimes hinder the hair removal process and/or cause an adverse reaction.
Next, the technician will apply a gel to the area to be treated. This gel will act as a conductor for the laser while also keeping the skin cool. Then the technician will use a small laser tool on the area to remove the hair.
The light from this small laser enters each shaft of hair in the designated area, destroying the hair at its root. This also effectively stops hair growth in the given area since the hair follicle is damaged or destroyed by the procedure. The lasers are set to sense and target dark pigmentation, thereby making laser hair removal most effective on people with darker hair and light skin. In the past, this meant that laser hair removal treatments were often not recommended for people with darker skin. Today, however, new laser technology has made laser hair removal more effective for everyone.
Typically, dermatologists will advise multiple sessions of laser hair removal treatments to ensure long lasting results. Because all of the hair in a given area will not grow at the same rate and will therefore not be visible all at the same time, repeated sessions over the course of several months to a year are recommended to keep an area free of hair. Usually, a patient can expect to need anywhere from three to seven sessions in order to achieve total hair removal.