By Jessica Ashcroft
Hair removal is a topic that has been around for centuries! Through the ages, this topic has changed for different reasons. In ancient Egypt, upper-class Egyptians shaved off all their body hair, including their heads, which was also beneficial in avoiding lice and other parasites. During Elizabethan times, women plucked their eyebrows and removed hair around their hairline to give the look of a more prominent forehead, which was the look at the time.
There are several reasons why people may want to remove unwanted hair:
Aesthetics – many people remove hair to improve their appearance. Smooth skin is often considered more attractive and youthful.
Cultural or religious norms – in some cultures, hair removal is considered the norm for both men and women. Similarly, in certain societies or professions, hair removal is expected or required as part of grooming standards.
Personal preference – some individuals simply prefer the look and feel of hair-free skin.
Hygiene – removing hair in certain areas, such as the underarms or pubic region, can help reduce bacteria and odors trapped in the hair.
Medical reasons – in some cases, hair removal is recommended for medical conditions that cause excessive hair growth, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or Cushing syndrome.
Athletic reasons – some athletes remove hair from their bodies to reduce friction and improve performance.
While the decision on hair removal is entirely up to each individual, should you choose to remove unwanted hair, laser hair reduction is an excellent alternative with long-lasting results.
What is laser hair reduction, and how does it work?
Laser hair reduction is a procedure that uses pulsed laser light (highly concentrated light) to damage and destroy hair follicles. The laser’s specific light wavelength is attracted to melanin or pigment in the hair. The hair absorbs this light, which is then converted from light to heat, damaging the hair root and preventing future regrowth. Hair is always at different growth phases. At any one time, the hair is either in the rest phase (telogen) or the growth phase (anagen). For this reason, multiple treatments are often needed to “catch” the hair in the best growth phase while it is still attached to the root.
Areas Where Laser Hair Reduction is Effective
Laser hair reduction can be used on many areas of the body where unwanted hair growth occurs, including:
- Face: Laser hair reduction can remove hair from the upper lip, chin, cheeks, and sideburns.
- Underarms: This area is a popular choice for laser hair reduction because the hair can be thick and coarse.
- Bikini line: Laser hair treatments can help reduce hair growth in the pubic area, including the bikini line.
- Legs: Laser treatments are commonly used to remove hair from the legs, including the upper thighs, lower legs, and ankles.
- Back and chest: Men may choose laser hair reduction to treat hair growth on their back and chest.
- Arms: This includes the forearms and upper arms.
What should you expect from your laser hair reduction treatment?
During your initial consultation, we will review your medical and health history. It is essential to know if you have any allergies or sensitivities, what type of medications you are taking, and your goals.
Before beginning the procedure, we will prepare any treatment area with a degreaser to remove oil, sweat, deodorant, or lotion. Next, a spot test will be performed to ensure the settings are effective but comfortable. After any adjustments are made, we will begin treating the desired areas. We treat until the area has reached our clinical endpoint, typically after one pass. Afterward, your provider will apply calming products and go over home care. Patients can expect to leave feeling warm with possible itchiness and a general redness in the skin.
Hair will typically start falling out after about a week, but if patients regularly shave, they may only notice a slow patchy hair fading in the treated areas. When treated, any hair not attached to the root may grow back but will typically grow back finer. These hairs can be re-treated at subsequent appointments.
Benefits of Laser Hair Reduction
One of the benefits of laser hair reduction is that it is a safe and effective way of removing unwanted hair. Other benefits include:
- Excellent for those prone to in-grown hairs, as laser hair reduction eliminates that problem.
- It avoids the irritation from shaving or waxing, and who doesn’t want to prevent those pesky cuts and nicks?
- It is a long-term solution.
- It will save you time and money in the long run.
- Relatively painless treatments. Most people find them uncomfortable but not painful. Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery uses the GentleLase Pro®, which helps the discomfort by spraying the upper layers of skin with a cooling burst of cryogen before and after the laser pulse.
- Treatments are convenient, as certain areas can be treated in minutes. However, larger areas, such as the back, take more time.
What makes me a candidate for laser hair reduction?
Ideal candidates for laser hair reduction will be those wanting to treat dark brown or black hair. There must be a contrast between the hair color and the patient’s skin color, or we risk the laser being attracted to the skin instead of the hair.
It is important to consult a qualified Licensed Professional to determine if laser hair reduction is suitable for you and which areas of your body can be safely treated. The American Academy of Dermatology warns about the dangers of laser treatments in the hands of inexperienced Providers, as side effects can include burns, scars, and permanent changes to your skin color. While laser hair reduction is generally safe and effective, it may not be suitable for everyone. For example, laser treatments cannot be done on pregnant women, skin cancer patients, tattooed skin, people with epilepsy, or diabetics.
At Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery, we understand the need for laser hair reduction services and are proud to provide our patients with a professional approach. You can schedule an appointment for a laser hair treatment…just in time for Summer! Our locations include Spokane North, Spokane Valley, and Coeur d’Alene.
About the Author
Jessica Ashcroft, Licensed Master Aesthetician – Jessica (Jess) works at our Coeur d’Alene, ID, location. Jess’s patient care philosophy is to provide her patients with the best care possible by understanding all corrective options, adhering to strict sanitation standards, continuing her education, and treating everyone with respect. When she is not working, she is off exploring the many trails and parks in the area, attending concerts, trying out different restaurants, and spending time with her husband.