Laser hair reduction is one of the most popular services we offer in our MedSpa, and we frequently get questions from prospective patients about it. From armpits to legs, from facial hair to the bikini line, it seems just about everyone has unwanted hair – and that they’d like to find a lower-maintenance solution to removing it than shaving or waxing.
Shaving usually has to be done every day, and you can develop bumps and ingrown hairs, not to mention nicks and cuts. With waxing, the discomfort factor is high and you run the risk of developing bacterial and viral infections via microscopic injuries to the skin. Due to its relatively low cost, minimal discomfort, non-invasive treatment process, and long-term results, laser hair reduction has become a popular and practical solution for men and women. In fact, the number of laser hair reduction procedures performed each year has more than doubled in the past decade.
At Smith Plastic Surgery’s MedSpa, Chic La Vie, we perform dozens of laser hair reductions each month, on virtually all areas of the body. We use a Candela GentleLase instrument, considered to be the gold standard tool in laser hair reduction due to its precision. The GentleLase penetrates each hair follicle with light energy, which destroys the hair at the root while leaving the surrounding skin unharmed.
Common Questions About Laser Hair Reduction
We’ve collected 10 of the most common questions and answers regarding laser hair reduction below.
- Does laser hair reduction hurt or will it irritate my skin afterward? Discomfort is minimal. Some of our patients describe the sensation as having a rubber band snapped against the skin. This sensation is more easily tolerated on some areas of the body than others. And if you are currently waxing, you’re likely to find laser hair reduction to be significantly more comfortable. To ensure that sensitive skin is not irritated, we ask our patients to avoid exfoliating the treatment area and to discontinue the use of products containing alpha hydroxy acids, chemical exfoliants, and retinols one week prior to treatment. We also recommend that patients refrain from having any other cosmetic treatments (botox, etc) in the treatment area for two weeks following treatment.
- Can blondes have laser hair reduction? What about people with dark skin tones? While patients with dark hair and lighter skin will likely experience the most dramatic results, just about everyone can benefit from laser hair reduction.
- Can I still go to the tanning bed during laser hair reduction treatment? For best results, and to reduce the likelihood of pigmentation issues after the procedure, we ask our patients to avoid tanning beds and the sun for four to six weeks before and after treatment.
- Do I have to let the hair grow out before I get laser hair reduction? You do not have to allow your hair to grow out for laser hair reduction as you do with waxing. The GentleLase will treat the hair beneath the skin. You will want to avoid electrolysis, tweezing and waxing in the targeted treatment area for six weeks before and after your appointment. You can continue to shave. The treated hair will seem to “grow” before shedding naturally.
- Which areas of the body can have laser hair reduction? If you’re currently waxing, shaving or tweezing a part of your body, you can have laser hair reduction there. Common spots we are asked to treat include: the upper lip, sideburns, eyebrows, back, armpits, legs, bikini area, toes, abdomen, chest, and buttocks.
- How long does a treatment session take? You can do most procedures on your lunch hour. Expect an area the size of your upper lip to take about 5 minutes, and a bikini line or your armpits to take 15-20 minutes.
- Can I go back to work right afterwards? Absolutely—most of our patients do so. You may have some mild swelling or redness, but it’s likely that only you will notice it.
- How many treatment sessions will I need? Because all hairs are not in the same cycle of growth during each treatment, you will need to come for a minimum of six sessions. Only hair in the active growth phase is treatable. We should be able to “catch” all the hair in a designated treatment area during an active growth phase during this number of sessions, spaced out every six to eight weeks.
- Will laser hair reduction cause a fever blister outbreak if I have my upper lip treated? Possibly. If you have the form of herpes that causes outbreaks of cold sores or fever blister, we recommend that prophylactic antiviral therapy (such as Valtrex) is started one day before treatment and continues up to one week after treatment. If you have a current outbreak, we’ll have to reschedule your appointment to ensure your safety and comfort.
- Are there any other “rules” to follow after treatment? As mentioned above, you will want to stay out of the sun and wear a good sunblock. If you have any swelling or redness after, you can treat with cool compresses and a hydrocortisone cream. Avoid hot tubs and getting overheated for 48 hours (saunas, gyms, etc). And most important of all—don’t pick or scratch the treatment area.
Do you have unwanted hair you’d like to get rid of, without having to deal with shaving bumps and painful waxing? Call us at (702) 838-2455 to set up your appointment for laser hair reduction!