How to Have Summer Ready Legs All Year Long — A Laser Hair Removal FAQMedical Aesthetics
You made it through another long summer full of tweezing, waxing, plucking or shaving — but as the pants start to come back on, and the legs become increasingly neglected as temperatures begin to drop, it may be the right time to start thinking about whether laser hair removal is right for you.
We know shaving, waxing and whatever other hair removal method du jour you’ve been using can be painful, time consuming and just plain annoying. At Synergy Wellness Center, we feel your pain. Our Diolaze laser hair removal technology provides major hair removal across large areas of the body — we’re talking legs, backs, bikini areas — so by the time that next vacation rolls around, you’ll be ready for that cute swimsuit with literally no prep work.
Why is laser hair removal the best way to go in removing unwanted hair? Is it better than electrolysis treatment? If you’d like to take a deeper dive into the wild, hairy details of laser hair removal, we’ve put together a guide that should help answer all of your questions about how laser hair removal works.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
First things first. How does laser hair removal work? At a glance, it all seems very high tech — maybe because of the word “laser.”
Basically, laser hair removal is an in-house medical procedure that removes hair using a high-intensity beam of light (the laser). During the procedure, the beam passes through the skin, seeking each individual hair follicle. The laser has a rather intense heat, which works to damage the follicle, destroying the ability to grow any hair moving forward.
The laser treatment works by using a cosmetic laser, which fires a powerful, concentrated beam of light that targets the pigment in a hair follicle. The laser can be adjusted according to skin and hair type, though there are lasers specifically designed for those with very dark complexions.
It almost goes without saying, but the purpose of laser hair removal is to eliminate unwanted hair — whether that’s convenience-based (we’d likely all be much happier not having to shave our legs or faces regularly) or to get rid of something touchy like female-facial hair — and it generally does a pretty good job.
Most people opt to remove hair from the usual shaving spots — face, legs, underarms and bikini area. No matter the area, if there’s hair there, you can treat just about any area on the body. Just don’t try to laser off your eye lashes — you absolutely do not want a laser beam pointed anywhere near your eyes.
It’s worth noting that while laser hair removal has been successful in both removing or slowing down hair growth, it doesn’t always guarantee permanent hair removal. Most people require multiple visits to take care of all the hair in any given area before providing a long-term period without hair. In some cases, patients may need to periodically maintain their hair-free status as well.
Skin type as well as hair color play heavily into whether or not a treatment can be considered successful. Laser hair removal sees the greatest success in patients who have both lighter skin and dark hair, as the laser itself targets the pigment in the hair. People with lighter hair — white, grey, blond or red — may still have some trouble getting the desired results from laser hair removal.
The laser has trouble detecting the lighter hair follicles, as they don’t stand out against skin as starkly as dark hair. These days, however, there have been some dramatic advancements in laser hair removal technology, catering to a broader customer base, so those with darker skin or thinner, lighter hair can get in on the action as well.
How Do You Prepare for Laser Hair Removal?
Unfortunately, you will need to sacrifice a bit of your vanity and forego shaving for a day or two, depending on how quickly your hair grows. If you’re a waxer, you’ll definitely want to wait at least a week before going under the beam, both to let the hair grow back and to minimize irritation and redness. Laser removal works best when the hair reaches a certain level of maturity — making it far easier for the laser to detect the hair. After your first treatment, you’ll get a sense of how much has fallen out after the session.
Why Is Laser Hair Removal Better Than Shaving or Waxing?
As proponents of laser hair removal, we feel like this one is kind of a no-brainer. While the long-term, hair-free solution that laser hair removal provides is the most obvious benefit of traditional hair removal methods, there’s a bit more to it than that. With shaving, for example, the hair grows back within a few days, and some people need to shave every day for a smooth, stubble-free look.
Since you’re just “cutting” the hair, it’s about as short-term a solution as you can get. While it’s fairly easy and inexpensive, shaving can result in ingrown hairs or skin irritation — if you think about it, you’re literally scraping at your skin with a blade on a regular basis.
Waxing, on the other hand, provides a longer-term solution for keeping unwanted hair at bay. However, the stakes are even higher for sensitive skin. Waxing pulls the hair out at the root, but it leaves the hair follicle in working order.
Laser hair removal puts the follicles out of commission long-term, or maybe permanently. Waxing, particularly the bikini area, opens up the skin to the possibility of irritation, ingrown hairs and sometimes even infection. Plus, handling hot wax in your own makeshift bathroom spa is a mess in and of itself. If you’re the type who opts to regularly go in for a wax, you’re setting aside a good chunk of free time every month to stop by the salon.
Then, there’s the whole depilatory cream situation. There’s a reason they aren’t exactly the most popular way to get rid of body hair. They tend to be messy and contain a host of questionable chemicals that can irritate or burn the skin.
Laser hair removal is a bit more of an investment than any of the above options, but it yields the best reward of all — long-term, low-maintenance grooming. While some people experience some redness, or blistering in more extreme cases, even sensitive skin generally heals up quickly without any visible scarring or indication anything happened. Once you make it through all the treatment sessions, your skin will be smooth for quite a long time.
Laser hair removal isn’t exactly inexpensive, but it is bound to pay for itself in the long run. If you’re used to getting waxed on a regular basis, your laser treatment will be worth the upfront cost in no time — no more appointments and no more growing your body hair out in advance of a waxing.
Razors are still relatively cheap, but they do need to be replaced on a regular basis, and shaving is a major time commitment. Think of all the time you’ll save just by skipping a step in the shower — plus, no more razor bumps, cuts or ingrown hairs.
Does the Hair Immediately Fall Out?
The speed at which hair falls out after a laser treatment varies. Some hair comes right off immediately following the treatment, while other follicles take a bit longer — sometimes up to ten days** — to loosen their grasp on the hair.
The reason behind this somewhat annoying variation is most hair follicles contain multiple hairs, so when the laser passes through the skin, disabling follicles left and right, only the hair on top of the epidermis falls off, while any hair that is underneath gets left behind. The remaining hair leaves the epidermis about a week layer.
Who Does Laser Hair Removal Work Best For?
Unfortunately, lasers work best when they can easily “see” the hair follicles they’ll be eliminating. For that reason, laser hair removal works best on those with darker hair and light skin — leaving out a number of people. Fortunately, there’s a new laser treatment on the scene, Diolaze, which has the ability to treat patients from a broader range of ethnicities with a wider variety of skin tones and hair types.
Will I Need to Go Back for Another Session?
There are a lot of factors at play here. Some areas may only need one or two treatments, while others may be a little more stubborn. The total number of sessions really depends on the person and the amount of hair they wish to eliminate. Most clients return every couple weeks until the hair has been permanently removed from the desired area.
While this sounds like a major commitment — and it is — keep in mind that once you’ve made it through the treatments, the hair will most likely be gone for the rest of your life — or most of the hair, at least. That means little to no shaving, waxing, tweezing or applying various chemicals to your skin. Talk about a low-maintenance lifestyle change!
Is It Permanent?
Though laser hair removal does not explicitly guarantee permanent hair loss, most patients experience long-term hair reduction, many with permanent results. Laser hair removal has only been technically approved by the FDA for “permanent hair reduction” and not “permanent hair removal.” This simply means some regrowth is to be expected, but it will be less than prior to treatment.
What Is Diolaze?
At Synergy Wellness Center, our laser hair removal treatment of choice is Diolaze. This new laser treatment on the scene brings a sense of relief to the often painful laser hair removal landscape.
Diolaze is one of several next generation laser hair removal techniques, aimed at providing a quick and efficient in-office treatment experience. The device scans for diodes, and it has a system of built-in safety features to ensure a certain level of speed, safety and efficacy. Diolaze is safe, quick and relatively painless. You’ll likely be in and out of the office within an hour — unless you decide to treat several areas at a time.
The Diolaze system is unique in that it has the ability to permanently slow hair growth, as well as treat both men and women across the full spectrum of hair and skin colors and types. While other laser treatment solutions may still have something of a diversity problem, the ice-cold technology has the ability to treat people with darker skin tones or lighter, finer hair. Of course, the lasers still have it a bit easier when things appear in black and white —the best results are seen in patients with thick, dark hair and lighter skin tones.
Just like other laser hair removal techniques, Diolaze patients will still need to come into the office for multiple treatments. As we’ve mentioned, laser hair removal in general tends to work best when the hair follicles are at a mature stage in their growth cycle. Unfortunately, your hair follicles are all at different growth stages at any given time.
How Does Diolaze Work?
The Diolaze system scans for follicles and disables them, much like other laser hair removal techniques, to render the follicles useless. However, Diolaze stands out because each device comes equipped with a special tip that provides soothing relief as the procedure is underway. Typical laser treatments can leave patients walking away with irritated or sometimes blistered skin. Diolaze is pretty innovative in that it leaves skin feeling calm and soothed, with no redness or irritation, while removing all that extra hair on your back, legs, face or anywhere else.
The person performing the removal uses a small, handheld laser device and goes over the desired areas. The device delivers diode laser beams with precision directly into the follicle roots, disabling them and preventing them from creating future generations of hair. Like all other forms of laser hair removal, Diolaze does require the patient to return for several visits to eliminate all the hair follicles.
The number of treatments you’ll need depends on a number of factor from hair color and thickness to skin tone and the body area that’s being treated. At Synergy Wellness, our clients will typically see 90% hair loss after five or six laser treatments with Diolaze technology.**
Electrolysis vs. Laser Hair Removal — What’s the Difference?
As it stands, electrolysis is the only permanent hair removal treatment that has received FDA approval.
Electrolysis generally works on all hair types and skin tones, and it’s extremely successful at making sure unwanted hair never makes a comeback.
However, electrolysis has some major disadvantages when compared to traditional laser hair removal. While a laser treatment can wipe out a whole area of hair at once, electrolysis takes things slow — we’re talking one follicle at a time. If you’re in the market for a hair removal solution that suits larger areas like the legs or back, electrolysis is probably not your best option.
How it works is one by one, a very thin (think single strand of hair) needle is inserted into each follicle, and an electric current is then applied, destroying each follicle for good. Because the entire process is literally done one hair at a time, it can be very time consuming.
Additionally, some important electrolysis information to know is it’s considered an invasive procedure, with a sensation that can best be described as a continuous stinging. Some people have described the feeling as similar to plucking out individual hairs with a tweezer. Often a topical anesthetic is applied before the procedure begins to reduce pain levels.
The main selling point for electrolysis is that it can treat any hair color, skin color or hair texture. Electrolysis, while time consuming and painful, can be the ideal procedure for someone looking to remove white or blond hair from their face or for someone with a darker skin tone looking to remove hair from smaller areas.
Before Your Appointment – A Few Extra Things You Should Know
Getting serious about getting lasered? We may be a bit biased, but after a bit of an investment, you’ll have beach-ready legs for the long haul. You’ll never have to worry about forgetting to wax your bikini line, and you won’t feel self-conscious about unwanted facial hair again. You definitely can’t beat the winning combination of confidence and convenience.
Once you’re ready to take the plunge, there are a few things you should know before heading into your first appointment:
- Expect a little discomfort — But not too much. Traditional laser hair removal treatments aren’t super painful, but they aren’t exactly relaxing either. The sensation can best be described as the feeling of being snapped by a rubber band over and over. You’ll be fine, but it can be a little uncomfortable. Treatments typically last for about 30 minutes to an hour, so be prepared to be checking the clock periodically as the laser does its job. At Synergy, we use Diolaze lasers which cool and soothe the skin as they go along, making them much less painful than their high-heat counterparts.
- Stay out of the sun — Laser hair removal is a bit harsh on the skin. While this should be common knowledge, you’ll want to avoid any sun damage as much as possible. This includes fake sun, too — hold off on the tanning beds or spray tans. You’ll be happier if you wait for a hairless canvas before sunless tanning anyway.
- Bring along the sunscreen — Bring some high SPF along when you go for a laser hair removal treatment. Your skin will be eternally grateful. You’ll definitely want to lather up post-laser. Even if it doesn’t immediately feel that way, your skin comes out of the procedure more sensitive than when you went in.
- Avoid applying much of anything to the laser-treated area — Ditch the deodorants, lotions and perfumes. Your skin needs to be left alone for a couple days. Also, avoid taking super hot showers for a few days, as the heat can aggravate the skin. A lukewarm rinse-off should do the trick.
Contact Synergy for a Professional Hair Removal Consultation
If you’re tired of maintaining unwanted hair, we’ll get you set on the road to becoming your best, hairless self. Whether you’ve just booked a fabulous beach vacation and want to rock that bikini with confidence or you’ve just grown tired of shaving day in and day out, contact Synergy Wellness Center today for a free consultation. We’ll answer any questions you have about laser hair removal results as well as the process from preparing for the treatment to the equipment itself. Contact us today.