Laser hair removal is an easy way to permanently reduce unwanted hair. At Richmond Aesthetic Surgery and Dermlounge med spa, we use the Cynosure Elite Alexandrite YAG laser that allows for safe and effective hair removal on all skin types.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser hair removal works by targeting the chemical structure of the pigment of each hair follicle. The laser is specifically tuned to target the molecule melanin, which is found in high concentrations in the hair root. When treated, the hair root follicle is obliterated, which often completely eliminates hair growth. As shown in the picture below, there are four stages of hair growth. In order for laser hair removal to be effective, each hair has to be treated during the active phase of growth. For this reason, it takes approximately six treatments for permanent reduction. The hair that is treated during each session is permanently reduced and the hair growth you will see growing between sessions is hair that was in the dormant stages and is now actively growing. It is very important to receive treatments once a month for six consecutive months for permanent reduction. It is only effective on colored hair, so unfortunately we are unable to treat gray, white, or very blonde hairs.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is considered safe and effective on all skin types as long as the hair is pigmented or darker in color than the surrounding skin. This means people of all ethnicities are candidates for permanent laser hair reduction. Laser hair removal can be performed on nearly any area of the body.
What Can I Expect in My Laser Hair Removal Treatment?
Before your laser hair removal procedure begins, the hair in the target area may be trimmed to ensure the laser focuses its energy on the base of the hair follicle, reducing the risk of skin irritation. You can shave the target area the day before, but plucking or waxing should be avoided. To maximize your comfort during treatment, you may be given a topical numbing agent.
As your treatment begins, you and your aesthetic professional will wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from the laser. The handpiece will then be pressed to your skin and slowly guided across the area. Throughout this process, laser energy will target hair follicles underneath the skin, which may feel like the snapping of a rubber band.
The entire treatment process can take anywhere from a few minutes (for very small areas like the upper lip) to an hour (for larger areas like the back). You will be provided with more specific details about what to expect before your treatment.
Are There Any Laser Hair Removal Side Effects?
The most common side effects include redness and irritation of the treated areas that usually resolve within one hour of treatment. Our Licensed Aesthetician, Heather Sinclair, will guide you through the entire recovery process to ensure your safe and effective outcome.
Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt?
Since skin sensitivity will vary from patient to patient, the experience of laser hair removal may feel different as well. Patients often report slightly different levels of comfort depending upon which area of the body is being treated. For example, laser hair removal on the legs, back, or shoulders may feel exceptionally mild while more sensitive areas of the body, such as the face or underarms, may feel a bit more uncomfortable. Our experienced technicians will make you as relaxed as possible during treatment, and a topical numbing agent may be used to maximize your comfort.
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
One of the most common questions we receive during the consultation process is: “How long does laser hair removal last?” Each laser hair removal session permanently reduces the amount of hair at the target site. However, since hair grows in different cycles, six treatments are typically needed to achieve the desired result. Patients usually notice up to 80% less hair at the treatment site. Greater hair reduction is possible for areas of the body with more hair follicle density.
How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost?
On average, laser hair removal can cost about $100-500 per session, depending upon your customized treatment plan. It is typically one of the most affordable non-surgical cosmetic treatments. Since each laser hair removal treatment plan is customized by our skin experts to meet your unique needs, there is no fixed cost for the procedure. Variables that may impact the total price of laser hair removal include which treatment area or areas are treated, the size of the treatment area, and the number of treatment sessions needed to achieve your desired results. For your convenience, we offer a number of convenient payment options as well as financing for patients who could benefit from a low monthly installment plan.
- Can I Get Laser Hair Removal if I Have Dark Skin?
- Laser hair removal is most effective in treating dark or colored hair on light skin, as the laser can better distinguish the hair and follicle from the surrounding skin. With our laser technology, we are able to treat all skin types, including darker skin tones, as long as the hair is darker than the skin.
- How Old Do You Have to Be to Get Laser Hair Removal?
- Patients in a wide age range opt to undergo laser hair removal. While most patients are adults, teenagers can also benefit from the procedure, as long as they have realistic expectations and understand the risks of treatment. To be considered a candidate, you will need to come in for a consultation to be evaluated.
- How Long Does Laser Hair Removal Take?
- A laser hair removal session usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour. Your total treatment time will ultimately depend upon the size of each area being treated and how many areas you would like to address.
- How Should I Prepare for Laser Hair Removal?
- Before your hair removal treatment, you will be provided with instructions on how to prepare. This will include limiting sun exposure and avoiding tanning products. If you currently have a tan, you will need to wait about 6 weeks before your treatment to allow it to fade. By doing so, this can help minimize the risk of side effects like discoloration.
You can shave the area but should avoid hair removal techniques like plucking and waxing, as these can irritate the hair follicle. Before coming in for your laser hair removal appointment, you should clean the target area, ensuring there is no residue leftover from deodorant, lotions, or sprays.
- How Many Laser Hair Removal Sessions Will I Need?
- The average number of sessions that patients typically need to achieve optimal laser hair removal results is about 4 to 8 treatments, which are performed about once every 4 to 6 weeks. This can vary, though, depending on each patient’s needs.
- Can I Shave Between Laser Hair Removal Sessions?
- You will be able to shave between your laser hair removal appointments, but you should refrain from using any removal techniques that pull hair out of the follicle. This is because your laser hair removal treatments are scheduled with the goal of damaging the hair follicles when they are in the active growth stage. Plucking, waxing, or threading disrupt this growth process. While you can shave between your laser treatments, you should make sure not to shave within at least 12 hours of your appointment, as this can increase the potential for skin irritation.
- Is At-Home Laser Hair Removal Safe?
- While laser hair removal is typically thought of as a professional treatment to be performed in an office, there are at-home laser hair removal devices that some people opt to use. While convenient and sometimes more affordable, these at-home treatments cannot offer the same results that can be achieved by a qualified professional. In addition, the FDA does not regulate at-home laser devices for hair removal. As a result, satisfactory results cannot be guaranteed, and you may be at a higher risk of adverse side effects, such as hyperpigmentation and blistering.
When you seek care from an experienced medical spa like Dermlounge, you are being treated by highly trained professionals using proven and effective technology. Our goal is to help you achieve optimal hair reduction results while ensuring you are comfortable and safe at every step.
For more information on laser hair removal, or to schedule a consultation at Dermlounge, please contact us today.