Your Ultimate Guide to Laser Hair Removal
By Rhonda Klein, MD, MPH, FAAD
You know you’ve thought about it. That dreamy goal of smooth skin every day, no fears about impromptu beach trips and no sheepish denials of shaving in between appointments to your waxing technician.
So, let’s break it down…laser hair removal always seems to be one of the more misunderstood beauty procedures. Will it work on blonde hair? Will I have to re-mortgage my house? Do I have to let the hair grow between appointments? As always, the doctor is in. Modern Dermatology is your NYC level experience right here in Westport, with cutting edge equipment and technology in a boutique spa environment. We’re here to answer any of your questions, and we’ve definitely heard them before, so here is some info to get you started on that road to skin as smooth as a baby seal…
How does it work?
We love science. And we love skin. So, when science can improve skin we get really excited and it doesn’t get more exciting than a laser. It’s the do-over for so many skin complaints and unwanted…let’s call them “attributes.” Acne scarring? Sun damage? Laser treatments can be a very effective solution. When it comes to hair removal, the laser passes over the skin and finds the pigment deep within the hair follicle called melanin. The laser heats up the melanin and in turn this damages the hair follicle. After several treatments the follicle is completely destroyed, and no more hair will grow. Hurrah!
But what if I have light hair, will there be enough pigment?
It is true that light skinned, dark haired people respond more successfully to laser hair removal, but that’s not to say that others won’t see results. We recommend a consultation to thoroughly evaluate your options and come up with a treatment plan that’s specific to you. Modern Dermatology is experienced in treating people for hair removal with both fair and dark skin tones. At Modern Dermatology, we are happy to offer Alexandrite, Nd:YAG, and IPL based treatments so that all skin tones, and types, can be treated. Trust our skilled physicians to select the best technology for your skin type.
How many sessions will I need?
Contrary to other types of hair removal, the areas of the body with the thickest, coarsest hair respond the quickest and will usually require fewer treatments than areas with finer hair. This makes the bikini area, legs and underarms excellent candidates for laser hair removal and you can expect significant results within 6-8 treatments. Each treatment should be spaced around 4-6 weeks apart.
When should I get laser hair removal?
You can begin treatment at any time, but we recommend not having a tan, so best to schedule your sessions before your beach vacation and not after. You should shave a day or so before each session so as not to leave singed hairs on the surface. DON’T tweeze, wax or thread for ideally 4-8 weeks prior to treatment as those modalities remove the hair bulb, which is the target of the laser.
Oh and you can also shave in between treatments, which is our favorite part of laser hair removal…no long sleeves at the gym while you wait for your hair to grow!
Does it really hurt?
It’s not bad! It feels similar to a snap. Remember, we can also prescribe a topical numbing area for sensitive areas and can use other patient comfort techniques to make the experience as painless as possible. But for every flick, think of the hundreds of waxing room ceilings you will never have to stare at ever again.