Laser hair removal: 5 things to know

I have been removing my body hair all over since I was 16 and I can honestly say that it is a big hassle, often painful and, more importantly, time consuming. I don’t even want to start counting the hours, years spent on this tedious task … These days the promise of living body hair-free is alluring and real.  As I am at the stage I want to get rid of all my body hair I have done my research and I am sharing it here, weighting up all the facts taking into consideration all side effects as well, to make sure the treatment is right for me.

The options available for hair removal include waxing, threading, shaving, tweezing and laser hair removal. The latter is the option that seems to offer a more permanent solution to getting rid of body hair.

I recently went to a consultation at the Pulse Light Clinic London and I have found out the following:

1. Have no fear: laser hair removal is not painful

If you have given birth, you are ready to face any type of pain. Laser hair removal uses laser light pulses to selectively destroy hair follicles by targeting the melanin (colour) in them. The pigment in the hair follicle absorbs the laser’s light pulse, which damages the follicle enough to significantly retard hair regrowth. The laser delivers an intense beam of light, which is absorbed by the hair follicle whilst the surrounding tissue remains unaffected.

This process is called selective photothermolysis (photo – means light and thermolysis means to destroy with heat). It is selective as it targets the hair and not the skin. Laser hair removal is not electrolysis, electrolysis works by directing an electric current into each individual hair follicle, which is painful, and time consuming. Hair removal Lasers, on the other hand, can target a large amount of hairs in one go, in a much less painful manner.

You may find the procedure a bit hot and sharp at first on the face which is more sensitive but nothing unbearable.

2. The process is lengthy

After an initial consultation to check the suitability of your complexion and hair type, you are provided with a plan. . Laser treatment is not for everybody and actually can trigger more growth in some cases. The dermatologist would tell you upfront if this is the case.

It usually takes two or three weeks after your first treatment to see a difference, and 8 -12 treatments to get a permanent result. You can have on appointment per month so it will take at least one year for visible changes. The appointments cannot be missed because regularity is crucial to the success of this procedure. The hair follicles grow at different stages, so you need to all of them get removed.

Having said that, if you are only removing your facial hair, each appointment only takes 20 minutes.

3. Skin Preparation ahead of the treatments

You need to use a trim or shave hair in the area to be treated before you undergo the laser treatment and make-up obviously needs to be removed as well. The laser can react with hair and can cause. Also you need to avoid scrubbing your skin for at least two days before and after the treatment.

Another consideration is about sunbathing before and after treatment. If you already have a tan you’ll need to wait until it fades before you can start laser hair removal. You also need to avoid sun exposure a few weeks before and after treatment. It sounds like a hassle but it is to avoid bad skin spotting.

4. Things to avoid

I hate having black facial hair so I have so far either plucked, waxed or bleached the hair. These have to be avoided if you start laser hair treatments because they can be impediments to the whole process. This has made me think twice about the whole thing. To be hairless throughout the process, they only recommend shaving, which I dislike.


5. Benefits of Laser hair removal

Apart from clearer, smoother skin and permanent hair reduction, laser hair removal’s benefits include helping to reduce ingrowing hairs (a frustrating side effect of hair removal) and improve skin irritation. Apparently, the treatment encourages hair to grow straight. This hair removal device is suitable for all skin types and hair types. The hair just needs to be dark enough to drawn the laser.

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