No matter what season we’re in, the process of removing unwanted hair never stops. All year, you’re caught in an endless cycle of razors, creams, waxes, and other techniques to try to get the silky smooth skin you crave. Unless that is, you opt for laser hair removal, a permanent solution performed right here at Flores Plastic Surgery in Miami, FL.
Does Laser Hair Removal Really Work?
As the go-to option for celebrities and the subject of many glossy magazine articles, the answer is that this treatment definitely works. But it’s not just a lofty achievement for those who walk the red carpet. Laser treatment is for nearly everyone, and thanks to today’s many accessible and affordable cosmetic therapies, permanent hair removal is well within your reach.
It’s also fairly simple. The laser is designed to find pigment, which in hair is located at the follicle’s bulb or base. This is the only pigment site for the entire hair shaft and is responsible for your hair’s natural color. Once the bulb is located, the laser’s concentrated light beam changes to heat and destroys the hair root. You might think of this as removing a flower bulb from the dirt, and once it’s gone, it cannot grow back.
Compared To Other Treatments
Laser treatment yields permanent results because it targets the hair’s root. Shaving, on the other hand, removes hair at the surface. This is like trimming the tops of chives from your backyard garden. Yes, the chives will be shorter, but they’ll continue to grow because their bulbs remain in the soil. That’s why you have to shave just about every day: the hair keeps growing.
Waxing removes hair deeper into the shaft than shaving does, but it doesn’t provide a permanent solution. It’s not designed to target each individual hair root the way the laser is. Far worse, trying to wax at home can be messy, dangerous, and very painful. This simply isn’t a viable option, which is why so many patients get caught on the shaving carousel – until they choose laser.
These products aim to break down hair’s protein. They produce quick results, although thicker hair requires more time, but they can also burn the skin. These creams, which look innocent enough, can also leave blisters and rashes because they’re loaded with potent chemicals.
More than this, the dangers associated with these creams don’t yield outstanding benefits. Hair grows back more slowly than with shaving but more quickly than with waxing, so you have to continually repeat the whole hazardous process.
What Is Treatment Like?
A key benefit with laser is that it’s performed in our safe, professional environment by a staff of highly-trained and compassionate providers. These qualities immediately give you an advantage over at-home therapies.
We begin your session by cleansing the treatment area. Patients who prefer it can also have a numbing gel; this is ideal for sensitive skin and very small treatment areas. The numbing agent takes between 30 and 60 minutes to take effect.
What To Expect
Prior to turning on the laser, we’ll require protective eyewear to be in place for everyone in the room. Once the laser is applied, we’ll hold skin taut to provide clear access to your hair roots. You can expect the laser itself to feel a little like short, shallow pinpricks in the skin. You may also detect a sulfur-like smell as the laser works on each hair.
The length of treatment depends on where you’re having hair removed. We can complete the upper lip area and underarms in just a few minutes. The back or legs, however, may require an hour or more.
A Few Notes
If you’re worried about any discomfort you might experience – and keep in mind that most people feel nothing during treatment, particularly on larger areas – you might consider taking an oral pain reliever about 30 minutes before treatment. Check with our office first to ensure this is fine.
On the day before treatment, you should also shave with a new razor. This allows the laser to quickly locate your hair follicles. But skip other hair removal techniques that can negatively interact with the laser.
Is It Safe?
Laser hair removal is very safe – lasers have been used cosmetically for more than 20 years. This treatment is even designed for use on the face, where skin tends to be more delicate and sensitive than other parts of the body.
On the face, women typically have hair removed from their cheeks, chins, and upper lips. Men, meanwhile, opt for treatment on their cheeks, the back of their necks, and necklines. Additional treatment areas include:
- Bikini area
More Than One Session
With laser therapy, you will need more than one session to eliminate all the hair follicles. Why? Because each strand grows in different stages. These stages are:
- Anagen: active growth
- Catagen: hair is pushed upward
- Telogen: hair is dormant
Each strand continually repeats this cycle, so depending on the phase your hairs are in, you will need several sessions to ensure they are all individually targeted. Otherwise, you’ll have some hairs that were successfully removed and others that continue to grow. So you won’t be able to toss out your razor just yet.
How Many Sessions Will Be Necessary?
This depends upon a few different factors, including the area we’re treating. The eyebrows, for example, typically complete all three growth cycles within 10 months. The underarms, however, complete this in just five months.
Hair growth rates also vary from person to person and are often relative to genes and diet. Another consideration is the potential for new growth. By this, we mean that every human is born with hair follicles that stay with us but never become active. Laser treatment, however, may spur these dormant follicles to life so that new hair grows after treatment.
Sometimes, follicles simply survive a single laser treatment and must therefore be targeted again. Hair density also plays a part, as hair that is thinner typically requires fewer treatments. Last but not least, each person responds differently to therapy. We therefore cannot predict how many sessions you’ll need until we see how you respond to the first treatment.
You’ll start to notice hair falling out in the first 10 to 14 days following your therapy. At this time, you can exfoliate your treatment area with a sugar scrub to help speed along the shedding process and remove dead skin cells.
After Your First Appointment
At this point, you’re probably wondering what to expect next. On that first day of treatment, it’s important you not take a hot bath or shower; also avoid exercise and sun exposure. The treatment area needs to be kept cool and dry so you don’t develop any irritation. Swap out body spray, lotions, and deodorant for aloe vera gel, which will help soothe and comfort your skin.
By the following day, you’ll be able to resume your normal routine. This means all of your usual bath and body products, in addition to hot showers and baths and exercise. What you will want to steer clear of are any at-home hair removal techniques: skip the plucking, shaving, and waxing. You can resume shaving around 10 days after your laser therapy appointment.
Is Hair Growing Back?
You will see some hair growth around two weeks after your therapy. This is completely normal, so don’t think the laser neglected to do its job. Because you can start shaving again now, feel free to go after those wayward hairs. However, you’ll want to do this as infrequently as possible This will ensure you don’t get ingrown hairs or other skin conditions before your next treatment.
About a month out, you’ll start to prepare for your next appointment even as you continue to avoid the sun (this is necessary throughout the duration of your treatment). Around this time, you’ll also start to notice the results of your previous treatment. Hair should be finer and sparser, meaning you’ll see less overall growth. These results will continue to mount with each subsequent appointment.
The Fair Skin/Dark Hair Myth
Many patients believe they cannot undergo laser hair removal because they do not have the allegedly preferred fair skin/dark hair combination. While it’s true that a deeper contrast between skin and hair hues helps the laser easily identify its target, new developments mean patients of many different skin tones can have this treatment.
The key is in using the right laser; some can better distinguish hair hues even on darker skin. An example of this is the Nd: YAG, a laser with longer wavelengths to easily penetrate hair follicles. We can also use a combination of laser therapies to achieve the best results for your hair type and skin tone. So patients from the fairest complexions to the darkest can now enjoy laser hair removal.
More About Skin
Because laser treatment uses the differences between your skin and hair colors to help locate hair shafts, it’s important you arrive for your treatment without a suntan or sunburn. This can alter your results and even lead to hyperpigmentation, or the development of dark spots. We’ll likely need to delay your appointment if you do have sun coloring.
Benefits of Treatment
An unexpected boon to laser treatments is the soft skin it leaves behind. Shaving, which most of us are accustomed to, can deliver soft skin for about 12 hours; after that, it’s prickly with new hair growth. But laser eliminates this needle-like stubble that makes it tough to actually feel the skin’s real surface.
After treatment, indulging in aloe vera gel, sugar scrubs, and beneficial moisturizers can further promote that silky smooth feeling. Additionally, without having to battle hair growth, your personal care products will be able to more easily reach the skin for better absorption. All in all, you’ll enjoy healthier skin.
Shaving can cause nicks and cuts that, if they happen in the right area, will bleed for substantial periods of time. Hot wax and depilatory creams can burn and even scar skin. Threading similarly is an extremely painful therapy that can leave skin swollen and red.
Laser yields none of these troubling effects. It is fast, pain-free, and delivers real results. It can also target hard-to-reach spots, like the bikini area, so skin looks flawless.
Eliminates Ingrown Hairs
Ingrown hairs often cause painful, red blisters that don’t go away easily. They result from most hair removal methods, including waxing and shaving. But with laser, you can once and for all kiss these woes goodbye.
What is the difference with a laser? It removes the roots so ingrown hairs can’t even sprout. You also no longer need to worry about razor rash.
A Treatment Above the Rest
Laser hair removal won’t let you down, and having it done in our office ensures you’ll get the safest, most effective results possible. Call the professionals at Flores Plastic Surgery in Miami, FL, today, and see how this treatment can benefit you.