Do you dread the first beach day of the year because of the rigorous hair removal session you need to complete the night before? Are you frustrated by dark stubble that grows back as soon as you shave or embarrassed by unwanted hair on your back, underarms, or bikini area? Have you tried hair removal techniques like waxing only to decide that they’re too painful to repeat? If you’re ready for a painless, easy, and long-lasting approach to hair removal, Peachtree Dermatology in Atlanta, GA proudly offers the perfect option for you: laser hair removal.
This treatment is safe for all skin types, effective for most patients, and offers you smooth, stubble-free skin and sometimes-permanent results. It’s one of the quickest ways to eliminate unsightly hair on any part of your body and restore your confidence in every outfit, season, and situation.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is an FDA-approved treatment for reducing hair by using a high-energy laser to target the melanin pigment in hair. Using a high level of heat from the laser, it incapacitates the hair follicles and results in drastic hair reduction over the course of the treatment period. It’s safe for all skin types and most patients experience excellent results over the course of their treatment plan.
This treatment is one of the most effective ways to achieve long-lasting hair loss thanks to its ability to cover large areas in a relatively short amount of time and stop hair growth at its root. It’s safe for every part of your body and is most commonly used on the legs, chest, back, face, and bikini line.
How Does It Work?
The laser, which targets the pigment of your hair, focuses a concentrated beam of light at the root of each hair follicle, which causes cell death and stunted hair production. The damage caused by the laser stops the follicle from growing new hair for a period of time, giving you 4-6 weeks of smooth skin between treatments. Because our hair grows in cycles–some follicles are dormant while others produce hair–most patients have between 4-8 appointments to fully treat an area.
Depending on your hair type and the treatment plan your doctor recommends, you’ll probably have several laser treatments to achieve your ideal results. You can then evaluate your final results and determine whether you’d like to complete another treatment plan or maintain your results with 1-3 appointments per year to keep your skin hair-free.
Before your first appointment, you’ll sit down with your doctor to discuss your areas of concern, treatment plan, and ideal results. Your doctor will explain the process and answer any questions you have. They’ll also evaluate your target area and hair type to ensure that laser hair removal is the best treatment for you. You and your doctor will discuss the frequency of your initial treatments, and your doctor will also ask about your skincare regimen and tanning practices.
You should disclose any skincare products you use regularly as well as whether you’ll be spending a large amount of time in the sun after your treatment. Due to your skin’s increased sensitivity after hair removal, your doctor may recommend that you schedule your appointment a couple weeks before you plan to take a beach vacation or pursue other outdoor activities. You may also be asked to share medications you take regularly.
Your doctor will ask you to avoid waxing, plucking, or any other hair removal technique which removes hair at the root for 6 weeks before your appointment. Otherwise, the laser will not be effective and you could risk burning your skin instead of your hair follicles.
Instead, you can shave regularly and ensure that your target area is freshly shaved right before your appointment to ensure optimal results. Longer hairs can increase your risk of burns and produce an unpleasant smell during laser treatment.
You should stop using certain skincare and anti-aging products for a few days before and after your appointment. Your doctor will evaluate your skincare regimen and ask you to avoid these products during your consultation. For best result, follow your doctor’s instructions closely. Plan to arrive to your appointment with no makeup or products on your skin. If your target area is somewhere on your body, you should wear loose-fitting clothing to keep you comfortable and avoid irritating your skin after the treatment.
UV rays from the sun and artificial tanning treatments such as tanning beds are responsible for over 90% of all common skin issues, including wrinkles and fine lines, dark spots, discoloration, and skin cancer. It’s important that you wear sunscreen each day and that you take preventative measures to protect your skin during prolonged sun exposure. Before your laser hair treatment, avoid tanning or extended time in the sun for about 6 weeks to avoid darkening your natural skin tone. This ensures that your skin will not be lightened or otherwise affected by the laser treatment.
You should also take care to avoid any sunburn prior to your treatment. Combining sunburn with a laser treatment can be painful and prolong your recovery time besides damaging your skin. Let your skin heal from any sunburn before your appointment and protect it with sunscreen to ensure best results.
During treatment, you’ll wear a pair of protective eyeglasses. Your doctor will begin by preparing your target area with optional topical anesthetic which will eliminate any discomfort, especially on areas where your skin is thinner. A cooling machine will blow air over the area to keep you comfortable while your doctor uses a handheld laser to target the hair. Depending on the size of the area, your session could last anywhere between 5 minutes for the upper lip to an hour or longer for the back or legs.
Directly after treatment, you might notice some redness or mild inflammation in your skin; this is a normal reaction to the laser and typically fades within a day or so. You should follow your doctor’s instructions to avoid sun exposure and plan to skip your workout for about 24 hours to give your skin time to release the heat from the laser. Don’t use any harsh exfoliants, which will further irritate your skin, and wait to try any new skin treatments until your skin is fully healed. Your doctor can tell you whether a treatment should be combined with laser hair removal.
Over the first couple of weeks, you may notice your hair beginning to shed. This is a sign that the treatment was successful. Gentle exfoliation with a washcloth can help speed the process. You should begin to see small, fine hair growth 4-6 weeks after your last treatment. This is your signal that it’s time for your second appointment. It’s important that you keep following your doctor’s instructions over the course of treatment to keep your skin healthy and ensure that you see ideal results at the end.
Your initial results generally appear after the second or third appointment, while final results appear 1-2 weeks after your last laser treatment. For most patients, doctors recommend a treatment plan of 4-8 appointments spread out over approximately 6 months. Because of the hair growth cycle, treatments are spaced 4-6 weeks apart to accurately treat all hair follicles.
Once you’ve completed your treatment plan, you should notice that your skin is smooth and hair-free. These results will last for 6-12 months before new hair growth begins. You can schedule maintenance appointments or talk to your doctor about a regular treatment plan to prevent hair growth. For some patients, hair loss after laser hair removal is permanent, and for many it lasts much longer than 6-12 months.
Why Should I Consider Laser Hair Removal?
While there are plenty of reasons to consider a treatment that leaves you looking and feeling your best, here are six of the best reasons why this treatment could be perfect for you!
1. It Saves Time and Money
Have you ever considered how much money you spend on razors per year? How many hours do you spend at the salon for your weekly waxing appointments? Laser hair treatments can address both issues. One simple appointment every 4-6 weeks puts you on the road to hair-free skin and a daily schedule free from a hair removal regimen.
This treatment also eliminates the waiting time for regrowth. Techniques like shaving and waxing require your hair to grow above the skin to remove it. This leaves you waiting for your hair to grow just so you can get rid of it. With a laser, hair can be removed before it becomes irritating and unattractive stubble. Think of laser hair removal as an investment in yourself and a way to streamline your schedule by saving you time.
2. It’s Virtually Painless
For most patients, this treatment is painless even without anesthetic cream. A cooling factor counteracts the heat from the laser to keep you comfortable and soothe your skin and following your doctor’s detailed instructions reduces your risk of any side effects. Compared to plucking hair or waxing, which tear the hair out of your skin by the root, or shaving, which comes with the risk of accidentally cutting your skin, laser hair removal is both safe and pain-free.
3. It’s Long-Lasting
Not sure the commitment to a regular treatment plan is worth it? Just imagine 6-12 months without having to worry about whether you need to remove hair again. You’ll be able to cut out shaving in the shower and trips to the salon for waxing or plucking appointments, but you’ll also be able to go months without even thinking about your unwanted hair.
Even better, many patients report permanent hair loss in their target treatment area, sometimes after completing only one treatment plan. Almost all patients experience significant hair reduction after their treatment plan is finished. Hair will often grow back lighter and finer and, if you commit to regular maintenance appointments as recommended by your doctor, you can see a huge improvement in the quantity and appearance of unwanted hair.
4. It Eliminates Stubborn Ingrown Hair
One huge benefit of laser hair treatment is its ability to address the issue of ingrown hair. Ingrown hairs are notoriously difficult to remove, even with techniques like plucking, and often return as soon as you remove them.
Often caused by repeated aggressive hair removal techniques over time, ingrown hairs grow sideways under the skin and can cause irritation and bumps on the surface of your skin. They’re also prone to infection if removed incorrectly. A laser can stop hair growth at the root and resolve ingrown hairs without the risk of infection and very slight chances of recurrence.
5. It’s Effective for Almost Every Patient
In the past, lasers were not able to target hair on darker skin without the risk of discoloration. However, today’s lasers are safe for every patient and can deliver excellent results in almost every situation. There are lasers which can treat very pale skin to dark brown skin. No one needs to waste time worrying about unwanted hair. Thanks to this treatment, you can go about your day confident that your skin looks its best. Your doctor can help you determine whether laser hair removal is right for you during your consultation.
6. It Boosts Your Confidence
The best part of this treatment is the way you feel once you’ve finally achieved the skin you always wanted. You’ll be able to wear the outfits you like and dress to impress in every season without letting stubble, razor burn, or irritated skin ruin your look. Once your hair disappears and you see your skin transformed, you’ll feel ready to look and act like the very best version of yourself.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate?
Modern laser hair treatments are safe for almost every man or woman seeking effective, long-lasting hair removal options. If you’re pregnant, your doctor may recommend that you wait to pursue this treatment. In addition, if your skin is extremely sensitive, you take a medication which does not interact well with laser treatment, or the hair in your target area is very coarse and thick, your doctor may recommend an alternative to help you achieve the best results.
Finally, those with light hair colors, like blonde, red, and gray, may not be ideal candidates for this treatment. Since the laser targets the melanin in your hair, lighter hair colors are difficult to treat and you may see unsatisfactory results. In addition, the area surrounding your hair could be more at risk for burns since your hair is too light to absorb the heat from the laser. Your doctor will evaluate the hair you want removed during your initial consultation and let you know whether this treatment will help you meet your hair loss goals.
If you’re ready to say goodbye to your shaving regimen and skip your waxing appointments for good, laser hair treatments could be your new best friend. You’ll save time and money by completing a treatment plan designed just for you; you’ll also experience smoother, softer skin for a longer period of time. The treatment process is safe, effective for most patients, and proven to deliver great results that leave you feeling your best.
To start your journey to hair-free, worry-free skin, contact the professionals at Peachtree Dermatology in Atlanta, GA today. We look forward to answering any questions you may have and helping you achieve your hair removal goals!