Forever Young Spa
Laser Hair Removal
Forever Young Spa is a Medical Spa with locations in Odessa, Midland, and Big Spring, offering Laser Hair Removal for the Arms, Legs, Face, Chest, Back, and Bikini areas.
LASER HAIR REMOVAL 101
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is a more permanent method for dealing with unwanted hair that works by destroying the hair follicle itself, ensuring that the hair can’t grow back. It doesn’t always result in permanent hair loss, but it usually delays the regrowth of hair significantly and can cause any new hair to grow back finer and lighter. For initial hair removal, multiple laser hair removal treatments may be necessary. Maintenance treatments may also be required. Although laser hair removal works best for those with dark hair and light skin, it can also be used on any skin type.
Common locations for laser hair removal are the legs, arm pits, upper lips, chin, bikini line, chest, and back. Though it’s possible to remove unwanted hair from almost any location, you definitely want to avoid the eyelids and surrounding areas (the eyes). Also, people with tattoos should not have laser hair removal applied in those areas.
The success of laser hair removal is often affected by the color of your hair and your skin type. Why is that? Well, the easiest way to understand is this – the way the laser is supposed to work is by ensuring that only the pigment of your hair absorbs the light, not the skin. This ensures the hair gets burnt and not the skin. If there is a contrast between the hair color and the skin color, such as dark hair and lighter skin, the laser is more effectively able to target the hair and not the skin, resulting in more permanent hair loss with fewer side effects (skin irritation).
Those with less contrast between their skin and hair (light-skinned with light hair or dark-skinned with dark hair) should try laser hair removal in a smaller area to test its efficacy before committing to a large, visible area. Also, it is important to note that laser hair removal is not as effective for hair colors that absorb light poorly, such as gray, red, blonde, and white.
How long does hair removal last?
Every person is different, so it’s hard to say.
If the hair follicle is destroyed, hair removal will be permanent. If it’s only damaged, it usually lasts months to years, depending on how quickly an individual’s hair grows.
What are the benefits of laser hair removal?
Well obviously, the lack of unwanted hair!
But other than that, there’s also a lack of scars, an end to waxing (thank you Jesus!), and often your skin will be softer than it was before.
It also helps avoid ingrown hairs and their unsightly bumps.
What are the risks?
Side effects will vary based on an individual’s uniqueness – aka their skin type and hair color; the skill of the person performing the laser hair removal and the treatment plan they have you follow also factor in heavily.
In general, laser hair removal could cause the following side effects:
- Skin irritation. Laser hair removal can cause temporary discomfort, redness, and swelling, though most of this disappears just a few hours after the session.
- Pigment can change. Laser hair removal can lighten or darken the skin (usually seen in people with a lack of contrast between hair and skin, causing the skin to absorb more of the laser than necessary). Most of these changes are temporary. Those with darker skin and those who aren’t able to avoid the sun before or after treatment are far more likely to experience skin lightening (i.e. follow your treatment plan!).
Very rarely, laser hair removal causes skin changes such as blistering, crusting or scarring.
Even more rarely, laser hair removal can result in excessive hair growth or graying around treated areas, especially on darker skin.
As with anything, test a small, non-visible area and consult a knowledgeable provider before committing to a full-scale laser hair removal, especially if you find yourself in the higher-risk categories listed above.
How many sessions will I need?
Everyone is different (I know, I know, we keep repeating it – but it’s TRUE!) but most people will need 6-7 treatments, though they’ll start seeing results in just the first few. It’s important to try and destroy the hair follicle, as that produces the most permanent results, so your technician will work with you and monitor results to ensure that you reach that point as quickly as possible.
How do I prepare for laser hair removal?
To determine if laser hair removal is right for you, consult your doctor. The following is likely to be done by your doctor:
- Examine your medical history.
- Discuss the risks, benefits, and expectations of laser hair removal.
At the spa, we’ll discuss the costs and treatment plan during your consultation. Laser hair removal is typically an out-of-pocket expense.
We’ll also give you specific instructions on how to prepare for laser hair reduction, before and after the treatment. These instructions will include:
- Avoiding the sun. For sun protection, consult your doctor before and after treatment. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF30 every time you go outside. This is necessary to ensure the skin doesn’t lighten or darken immediately after treatments.
- Lightening your skin. Avoid using sunless creams that cause skin to darken. If you have darker skin or a recent tan, your doctor may recommend a skin bleaching product. Your technician can help you decide what steps to take as well.
- Other hair removal methods should be avoided. Hair follicles can be damaged by electrolysis, waxing, and plucked. Avoid these activities at least 4 weeks before you start treatment
- (You’ve still got shaving! At least we’re not asking you to give up *ALL* your hair-trimming for a month, Heaven forbid!)
- Avoid taking blood-thinning medication. Before the procedure, ask your doctor about which medications, if any, you should avoid.
- Area for shaving. Before laser treatment, it is recommended to trim and shave.
- Shaving helps do two things.
- One, it minimizes skin burning from the longer hairs being lased.
- Two, it helps the laser locate the follicles.
- Always use a clean, new razor to minimize any bacteria that could cause dermatitis following your laser treatment.
- Shaving helps do two things.
What to expect
Six to eight treatments may be required for laser hair removal, depending on the area being treated, the individual’s skin type, and the efficacy of the laser technician.
Depending on your schedule and the hair re-growth timeline, the interval between treatments may vary from a few weeks to a few months
You’ll wear special goggles to protect your eyes from the laser beams during each treatment and sometimes, we may apply a topical anesthetic on your skin to minimize the discomfort.
During the procedure
The technician uses a handheld laser device to effectively treat the hair follicles. When the laser is activated, the laser beam passes right through the skin and zaps the hair’s follicles. The intense heat of the laser beam causes damage to the hair follicles and inhibits hair growth. Some people say it feels like a rubber band snapping on the skin while others describe no feeling at all. To treat a small area, the whole process may take less than ten minutes, while an area such as the back may take a bit longer.
Following the procedure
After laser hair removal, you might feel some redness or swelling in the first few hours.
Ice can be applied to the area to reduce discomfort. The doctor may apply steroid cream to any skin reactions that occur immediately following laser hair removal.
Avoid sunlight for six weeks after laser hair removal or between scheduled treatments. You should use broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF30 every day.
Hairs don’t fall out instantly, but you are losing hair over time (before and after photos help immensely in seeing the difference!) Repeated treatments may be necessary as hair loss and growth continue to occur until the hair follicles are completely destroyed. Laser treatment works best for hair follicles at the new-growth stage (another very important reason to shave the day before the treatment, like we mentioned earlier).
The majority of people experience hair loss that lasts for several months; however, some find that it lasts for many years. For long-term hair loss, some people may need maintenance laser treatments.
What about lasers at home?
There are lasers that can be used at-home for hair removal. These devices may cause a modest reduction in hair. However, there is no evidence to show that these devices are as effective as professional laser hair removal.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers home laser hair removal devices cosmetic and not medical. This means that they aren’t subject to the same scrutiny as medical devices. There are currently no long-term studies that have shown how safe and effective these home devices are.
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