Frequently asked questions about Hair Removal

What is the advantage of using a laser and how does it work?

Lasers are precise instruments that can be adjusted to the exact parameters that will specifically disable the hair follicle. Unlike precision “hair-by-hair” treatments like electrolysis, the laser uses a wide beam which treats many hairs at once. Because of this, large areas such as the back, legs or arms, can be treated within a few hours. The beam of energy from the laser is absorbed by the melanin(pigment) in the hair within the follicle, and is converted into heat by the hair itself. It then destroys the hair without damaging surrounding tissue or skin. Some of the hair is shed immediately after the treatment while the rest is shed over the next 2 to 3 weeks.

Are there any side effects?

Most people experience no side effects at all, though few may exhibit some short-term localized reddening and swelling of the treated skin. Applying additional cool packs after treatment will minimize this reaction. In rare instances, blistering may occur. You can return to your regular activities immediately after treatment, although it is advisable to keep the skin protected from direct sunlight by applying a sunscreen.

Who can be treated?

The design of the laser used at Precision Laser allows us to treat patients of all skin types/tones including Indian, Asian, African, Hispanic, and Caucasian. Even patients with a tan can be treated safely! Lasers are not effective for blond, red or grey hair as there is insufficient pigment in the shaft of the hair for the laser to target. As well, fine or light brown hairs may be difficult to treat. A consultation will determine how effective the treatment will be for your particular situation.

How many treatments will I need?

Hair grows in a three part cycle:  anagen, telogen and catagen.  Only when hair is in the anagen or actively growing phase, can it be effectively treated or targeted by a laser. Depending on the body site, there will only be a certain percentage (approximately 30%) of hairs in that growing phase at any given time. As a result of this growth cycle, it is almost impossible to remove 100% of hairs in the area being treated. Permanent hair reduction is a more accurate term for laser hair removal. You can expect anywhere from 70% – 90% reduction in a particular area. Consistent treatments at appropriate time intervals are absolutely necessary for the best possible results.  Different areas of the body require different schedules for treatment.  That is all body parts are done at different time intervals that could be anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 weeks apart.  Other factors that will affect the treatment and results include your metabolism, hormone levels, hair thickness and density, colour of the hair, ethnicity or skin colour. Most sites will require a minimum of 6 treatments to start. Other areas may take more treatments, depending on the desired appearance or reduction that you desire. The number of treatments for each individual is based on the factors mentioned above that affect the treatment. Personal preference and expectations also play a role in number of treatments for each individual.

hair growth picture

What does it feel like?

While there is some discomfort with the laser treatment, it should not be painful. Each pulse, which lasts less than a second, can produce a slight tingling feeling or may feel like a quick, light pinch. Some people compare it to a snap of an elastic band against the skin. For sensitive areas such as the lip or bikini area, a topical anesthetic cream may be applied. This should be discussed prior to treatment. Some clients find it helpful to take an analgesic such as acetaminophen or ibuprophen can be taken approximately 1 hour prior to treatment.

What should I expect after the treatment?

Within several minutes of the treatment, the treated area will become reddened and there may also be some swelling. This reaction subsides typically within approximately 2 hours but can last up to 48 hours. The damaged hairs can take any where from 10 to 21 days to fall out. Meanwhile, it may appear as if the hair is growing. Only the hairs in the anagen phase (actively growing) are expected not to return. Not every person experiences the same reduction in hair from an individual treatment. This is dependent onseveral factors including hair colour, density of the hair, amount of hair, age and hormonal level. Between treatments you should not wax or pluck your hair, but it is permissible to shave or use depilatory creams to remove any growing hairs.

Are there any restrictions on my activity after my treatment?

Following the treatment, you can return to your normal activities right away, but some redness may occur. The use of sunscreen (spf 30) is recommended on any treated areas exposed to the sun. Any specific individualized skin care needs will be discussed at the time of your treatment.

What preparation is needed prior to a treatment?

The following guidelines are standard before having laser hair removal and are discussed in more detail in a consultation:

•Shave the area to be treated the day before or on the morning of your treatment.
•No waxing, sugaring or tweezing for 4-6 weeks before the treatment.
•Try to minimize tanning (tanning creams as well) for a week or two before treatment.
•If treated with Accutane, wait at least 6 months to have any laser treatments.
•Some people take plain Tylenol or Advil 1-2 hours prior but it is not necessary.

More questions?  Book a consultation! Email:  info@precisionlasercalgary.com or call me at (403) 270-7306