With summer fast approaching, it’s only natural to start thinking about your beach body. While the sun can do a great job of bleaching body hair to make it less obvious, you may need long hours of potentially harmful sun exposure before any noticeable change occurs. It’s just not worth the risk, and beach season is too short.
That leaves you with shaving, plucking, or waxing, temporary methods that can sometimes be uncomfortable. The new standard in permanent hair removal uses laser light energy, and the technology continues to improve. While laser hair removal can be very effective, it does require time and multiple treatments for maximum effect. Be sure to get a good head start on the swimsuit season to hit the beach looking your best.
How laser hair removal works
For most people, the follicles and roots of body hair are darker than the skin in which they’re embedded. Hair removal lasers take this difference and use it as the basis for treatment. Since lasers use only a single wavelength of light, and since that wavelength can be tuned, energy may be directed toward the specific tissue.
When you’re in for a hair removal treatment, we’ll measure your skin’s color and match the laser output to maximize energy directed at the roots and follicles, while minimizing the energy absorbed by the skin. As the laser warms the follicle, it reaches a point where it will no longer grow hair.
When the follicle becomes inactive, your body recognizes this and starts the process of removing the dead follicle. While some people may later regrow some hair follicles, it usually doesn’t happen on a one-to-one basis; so even if there’s new growth, it’s typically much thinner than where you started.
The need for multiple treatments
Body hair has a growth cycle, and a hair follicle is only susceptible to laser energy during approximately one-third of that cycle. Since all your body hair doesn’t fall out and re-grow at the same time, it’s easy to see that follicles are on different stages of the growth cycle at any given time.
This means you’ll need at least three sessions for best results, spaced about six weeks apart. This should capture most hair in your treatment area at vulnerable points in the cycle. Keep in mind that individual results can vary substantially, depending on your skin and hair color as well as your expectations for hair removal. Some people require more than three sessions to achieve the results they want.
Pain and recovery
As the laser device is activated, you’ll feel something that’s often described as similar to the snapping of an elastic band. It’s not a pleasant feeling, but few people consider it painful.
Depending on your hair and skin color, you may feel some skin irritation for a day or two after treatment, similar to mild sunburn, although the laser light has no ultraviolet component, so it’s not a serious side effect.
Treatments are best done before tanning, so the contrast between skin and follicle pigment is at its greatest. Also, your skin will be more sensitive to sunlight after treatment, so follow the post-treatment instructions for sun protection that we’ll give you at your appointment.
To learn more about laser hair removal, call Laguna Beach Aesthetics at 949-339-1571 and book a consultation with Dr. Adrienne O’Connell today. You can also use our convenient online booking tool to make an appointment.