Laser technology offers an option to hair removal that is unique compared to depilatories, waxing, electrolysis and plucking. There are several different lasers that can remove hair, but not all are created equal.
Our office uses the Acclaim 7000, a 1064 nm wavelength, long pulsed Nd:Yag laser. This is an effective and safe hair laser treatment. While other hair removal lasers are limited to use on people with fair skin color, the Acclaim safely treats dark hair on any skin tone. Blonde, very light brown, light red/orange or gray hair is not effectively removed by any laser system.
Q: How does it work?
A: Laser light energy targets the dark hair at the depth of the hair follicle causing damage. Those hairs in the growing (anagen) phase are able to absorb the laser energy most effectively. At least 4 sessions, at approximately 6 week intervals, are required for best results.
Q: How effective is the treatment?
A: Results vary between patients. Laser technology is very impressive but the human body is still more sophisticated and proves that ‘mother nature’ is difficult to conquer. For example, as women age, hormones change and new facial hair may appear, especially over the beard area. Following the initial treatment sessions, some women may require “touch up” treatments to control hair regrowth anywhere from 6 to 12 months apart.
A realistic goal of treatment is permanent hair reduction. Laser treatment will reduce the amount of hair causing some hair follicles to completely ‘shut down’ while others that are more resistant to treatment grow finer, lighter colored hair.
Q: How much does it hurt?
A: Our physicians will recommend a topical anesthetic to be used prior to the treatments. The laser pulse is often described as the sting of a rubber band slapping the skin.
In our office we use a cooling device (Zimmer) which reduces pain by forcing cold air onto the skin during treatment. Cold compresses are also used before, during and after treatment which lessens the discomfort and decreases potential swelling and redness (see below).
Q: What areas can be treated?
A: Any and all hair bearing areas can be safely treated, including:
- pubic area
Following the procedure you may notice redness and swelling or hives lasting 24-48 hours. On rare occasions small blisters or peeling can occur in which case the patient is instructed to call the office so proper wound care can be initiated.
Immediate reduction of SOME hair will be noticed. However, the majority of successfully treated hairs can take 7-14 days to shed.