Hundreds of uses for the laser have been discovered since the device was first invented in 1960. It took over thirty years for medical professionals to discover how effective lasers are for hair removal. But since the 1990s, this technique for reducing unwanted hair growth has grown quickly in popularity. Dr. Kent Webb and his staff at Advance Clinics in Oklahoma City, OK are fully up to date on the latest techniques and have the most current, state-of-the-art equipment for laser hair removal.
How It Works
To put it simply, a laser is an intensified beam of light. During treatments, this concentrated light is beamed into the skin. Pigment in the hair called melanin absorbs the energy of the laser, converting it to heat, which damages hair follicles. This damage inhibits or delays future hair growth, usually for years. A laser stops hair growth for long periods, but the effect often is not permanent. Initial hair removal requires multiple treatments, then long-term prevention of hair growth may require returning to Advanced Clinics in Oklahoma City, OK for maintenance treatments.
A more appropriate name for the process could be “Laser Future Hair Growth Prevention.” Treatments do not remove existing hair; rather they prevent hair from growing in the treated area.
Does Skin or Hair Type Matter?
Interestingly, a laser works best for people with light skin and dark hair. Here’s why: The pigment of the hair, not the pigment of the skin, needs to absorb the light. The process is designed to damage hair follicles and avoid damaging skin. Thus, the best outcomes occur when hair and skin colors have a high contrast — light skin and dark hair.
Besides reducing the effectiveness of treatments, having only a mild contrast between hair and skin color increases the risk of damage to skin. Laser technology advances are improving options for people who have light hair or darker skin. Hair colors that don’t absorb light well, such as gray, red, blond and white, currently have less satisfying results from laser treatments.
Dark hair on light skin is far more visible, so, remarkably, the science of the treatment works best for the people who want it most.
What You Do Before Helps Results After
Avoid sun exposure for a month to six weeks before treatment and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. A “sunless” tan darkens skin, same as a suntan, so don’t use creams that darken your skin for at least a week before treatments. The contrast of light skin to dark hair is so important, we might prescribe a skin bleaching cream for clients with recent tans or naturally darker skin.
Plucking, waxing and electrolysis disturb hair follicles and should not be used for at least four weeks before treatment. The opposite is true for shaving. Trimming and shaving are recommended the day before laser treatment. Shaving removes hair right at the skin surface that can result in skin damage from burned hairs, but it leaves the hair shaft intact below the surface.
As with any medical treatment, we will consult with you before doing anything. Let us know about any medications you take, including aspirin. Blood-thinning medications may need to be avoided before the treatments.
A complete treatment cycle usually requires two to six treatments. The interval between treatments varies depending on which part of the body is being treated. Areas where hair grows quickly, such as the upper lip, have better results, with treatments scheduled four to eight weeks apart. Areas with slow hair growth, such as the back, show better results with treatments twelve to sixteen weeks apart.
The complete process may take a year or more. In that time you will experience less hair growth after each treatment. After the final treatment, hair regrowth could stop in the treated area for many years. Determined hairs that do start growing again are usually much finer and softer than hair that grew previously. Follow-up treatments can easily address any hair regrowth.
After Each Session – Day of Treatment
In the first few hours or day after a treatment, skin can become red or pink and itchy. This means the laser has done its intended job to your hair follicles. Some mild irritation to the skin, similar to razor burn, can be expected after a treatment. The skin around the follicle itself may become raised. These effects are more obvious after the first few sessions, when hair in the area is thick and coarse. After each treatment, hair will thin and become finer, so side effects become less noticeable after each session.
These normal reactions usually disappear within a day after each session. Call us if any discomfort or change lasts more than two days. Your reaction may be perfectly normal, but it’s worth calling to ask.
After Each Session – First Two Days
Here are some recommendations for the two days after each treatment. Remember most of these recommendations are only for two days after each treatment:
Wear Loose Cotton Clothing
Your skin might be sensitive, making tight-fitting or rough fabrics irritating. Wear soft, loose clothing to sessions. Depending on how your skin reacts, you may may want to wear comfortable, soft outfits for a couple of days.
Try not to touch the skin in the treatment area. If a treated area itches, it will not cause excessive damage if you scratch gently. Just try to avoid vigorous rubbing or scratching of treated areas.
No Scented Lotions or Deodorants
Apply only 100% Aloe Vera to your treatment area. Any other kind of lotion is not recommended on the treated area for forty-eight hours following a session. If your treatment area is your armpits, skip deodorant for a couple of days. Do not use any kind of scented product on a treated area for forty-eight hours after a session.
Avoid Some Public Places
Stay out of the gym, steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, and swimming pool; any places where your skin may be more likely to contact bacteria.
Not Too Hot in the Shower
Keep water tepid/lukewarm during showers and baths for maximum comfort.
The Workouts Can Wait
Avoid all forms of physical exercise. As health professionals, we know the value of exercise, but it’s best not to engage in anything strenuous for the two days after treatments. Vigorous exercise produces sweat, which could aggravate sensitive hair follicles.
No Makeup on Treated Areas
Do not apply mineral makeup until after completing all facial treatments, but do apply SPF50+ to treatment areas that are exposed to UV light between sessions. Cover areas where possible.
General Reactions in First Few Days
When you look at yourself shortly after a session in our clinic, you won’t see an immediate difference to your skin aside from some mild redness from the laser. The hair is still present, but many of the follicles that make hairs grow are gone. Without follicles to anchor them, affected hairs will fall out on their own over the following days.
After a few days, you may notice what appears to be new hair growth at the site of the treatment. This means the procedure is working, contrary as it seems. Not all the hair removed by your laser treatment was above the skin. Some of it was still inside the follicle and had not grown out to be visible. These hairs have now been pushed out of the skin and can be removed.
Be gentle when exfoliating to remove these surface hairs. If it feels as if a hair is still attached to something, leave it alone and let it finish shedding. Two days is a good waiting period between attempts. Only about twenty percent of your hair is affected by each treatment. This is why achieving completely hairless skin requires several visits to the clinic. The precise number of treatments you’ll need depends on your skin type, the part of the body treated, and the size of the area to be treated.
For the Weeks Between Treatments
As your treatments perform their desired effect, hair growth diminishes. However, hair roots will begin pushing out from the follicles. It will likely be noticeable only to you. Here are recommendations for the weeks between sessions:
Do Away With Dead Skin
Exfoliate the skin in the treatment area four to five days after each treatment. Dead or dry skin can cause mild redness. Keeping your skin in good condition will get the best results.
Put Away Tweezers and Wax
When hair begins to regrow between sessions, only use shaving and hair removal creams to eliminate unwanted hair. Do not tweeze or wax for the duration of your treatments.
No Tanning – Real or Fake
Protect your treatment area from sun or tanning beds throughout your course of treatment. Apply SFP 50+ sunscreen any time your treatment areas are exposed to UV light. Stop applying fake tan to your treatment areas at least seven days before each session.
Inform us if you begin taking any new medications throughout your course.
Treatments are scheduled to align with hair growth cycles of your skin. It’s important to come in for each session within the time frame recommended.
Long-Term Hair Removal Takes Time
This method for eliminating undesired hair requires advanced planning. Laser hair removal will give you smooth skin for the long term, and the results take effect over the long term. This means no more shaving or waxing for years after completing treatments, which is the desired benefit, after all. However, treatments will not eliminate hair just a few days before a beach vacation. Stick to shaving or waxing for the short term.
The laser disables only the hair follicles that are in their growing phase when a treatment takes place. Follicles that were resting wake up over the next few weeks and hair growth resumes. This is natural and expected. Don’t be discouraged. The early phase of the process requires several treatments.
Advanced Clinics of Oklahoma Has Your Laser Hair Removal Solutions
If you’re ready to get started or you would like a personal consultation to help with your decision, all it takes is a phone call to our clinic. Experienced providers will walk you through the process in detail, address your concerns, provide specific pricing information, and give you expert advice. Dr. Kent Webb and his staff of professionals use only the latest clinical methods to give you the smooth, hairless skin you want on certain areas of your body. Our friendly skincare specialists will satisfy any remaining apprehensions you may have.
Smooth, hair-free skin with no shaving, waxing or plucking was only a dream a few decades ago. Now, with a few simple laser hair removal treatments, a woman can permanently get rid of an undesirable mustache or never need a bikini wax again. A man can eliminate unsightly back or neck hair. Call Advanced Clinics in Oklahoma City, OK to find out how.