Have you ever wondered if there is a better way to remove unwanted body hair than spending hours each week shaving, waxing and plucking? Your aim is smooth skin but you often need to settle for nicks, scratches, bumps and ingrown hairs because those are unavoidable in the process. Not anymore. You can toss your razor, shaving foam and forget about expensive spa waxing when you have your unsightly body hair removed with laser hair removal in Guelph.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is the greatest thing since the proverbial sliced bread. It permanently reduces body hair for months with some of it is gone forever. Laser hair removal is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in Guelph because it is very effective, safe and makes people really happy.
The laser is focused on the hair follicle and destroys it with a flash of light. The pigment in the hair absorbs the light as heat and is unable to grow hair again. Some follicles may repair themselves over a few months and grow weak, pale hair again, but it will never be as dark and thick as before.
Waxing removes the hair follicle, and you need to wait for it to repair itself and grow hair again before you can have your next waxing session. Not so with laser hair removal. Any time you see some hair returning, you can remove it with a touch-up laser treatment. This means you can keep your smooth skin permanently.
Is Laser Hair Removal for Everyone?
The simple answer is just about. Since the laser needs pigment in the hair follicle to work, white and pale blond hair tends to be less effective. We use several different lasers to treat different skin colors. The pigment in darker skin may also absorb the laser light, but we use YAG lasers for people with darker skin tones. The Alexandrite laser is considered the best for lighter skin tones. We will conduct a test patch before choosing the type of laser that is best for removing your unwanted body hair. We need to see how your skin reacts to the laser and if there are any problems with skin pigment.
Why So Many Treatments?
Depending on the part of your body that is being treated, it may take up to six sessions to get the smooth skin you want. You will need to wait sometimes up to six weeks between sessions to allow your skin to recover from the previous laser treatment and for the next batch of hair to enter the growth stage.
Laser hair removal is generally quick. Each burst of laser light damages one r more hairs. It can be very precise to remove one hair or it can treat a larger area about the size of a quarter. The time each session takes will depend on the size of the area being treated. The underarms, face and bikini line on women tend to take less than half an hour, but legs and arms could take up to an hour.
The most popular places women treat are the upper lip and chin, underarms, legs and bikini line. Men often choose the neck as would be done for beard trimming, the chest and sometimes the back.
Each hair has four stages of growth and they are not all in the same stage at the same time:
- The anagen stage is when the hair is growing. This lasts two to seven years and the longer it lasts, the longer is your hair. The laser is only effective during this stage of growth. This is one reason it is important to be regular for your sessions. You want to make sure every hair has a chance to be removed. As we age, the growing stage gets shorter and your hair may become weaker and shorter after each growth stage.
- The catagen stage is called a transitional stage that only lasts about 10 days. During this time the hair follicle shrinks and separates from the skin.
- The telogen stage lasts about three months and is when the hair rests. About 10 – 15 percent of hair is always in the resting stage. The old hair is still attached and new hair starts to form.
- The exogen stage is part of the resting stage when the old hair falls out and the new hair grows. Don’t get worried when you get a handful of hair when you comb or brush your hair in the morning because it is normal for 50 – 150 hairs to fall out every day.
When Is the Best Time to Start a Laser Hair Removal Course?
It is very important to keep the area you are having treated out of the sun. This includes tanning beds and tanning cream. The skin being treated will feel like it is sunburned for a few days, so it needs to be covered when you go outdoors. You can use an ice pack or frozen veggies to relieve any discomfort. This is true even if the sky is overcast.
With this in mind, we recommend you start your treatment in the fall or winter when the weather turns cooler and you are less likely to enjoy a day at the beach. We know this varies from Florida to Vancouver, but winter seems to be your best option. By the time spring break or summer vacation rolls around, your laser hair removal will be complete and you can enjoy an end to shaving and plucking for months to come.
How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal
You have met our specialist and asked your questions about what laser hair removal can do for you. Now, you need to know how to get ready to start on the path to smoother skin for months at a time.
- As already mentioned, stay out of the sun for at least a month before your appointment date and don’t use any tanning cream or tanning bed. If you do expose your skin to sunlight, be sure to apply a sunscreen with SPF 15 or more that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
- You should not remove any hair from the area you want to be treated by waxing or plucking for at least six weeks before the procedure. Shaving is fine as it doesn’t affect the follicle. Don’t bleach the hair either because the laser needs the pigment to be effective.
- Avoid certain cosmetic procedures on your face such as chemical peels and dermabrasion for two weeks before and after laser therapy on your face.
- We will ask you to shave the treatment area the day before your sessions and on the day, just wash the area and don’t apply any cream, deodorant or makeup.
- On the day of your session, wear loose-fitting clothing that will give our trained technician easy access to the treatment area. If necessary, you may be asked to wear a hospital gown.
- Our technician may apply a numbing cream to the treatment area about half an hour before the session. You and the technician will wear protective eyewear against the laser light.
What about Aftercare?
While laser hair removal is a minimally-invasive procedure with virtually no recovery time necessary, there are a few things you need to do after each session. Our specialist will give you detailed instruction on how to take care of your skin to get the best results. Your aim is smooth, hairless skin, so pay attention to after-care guidelines.
For the first five days after each session apply a soothing cream after a warm shower if you feel any discomfort. Hot water may increase the heat in the treated area which could allow bacteria to grow causing infection. We will recommend the best cream for your skin type. For most people, the redness lasts about two days. Don’t use or do any of the following until the redness has subsided:
- Scented soaps or creams
- Exfoliants or loofas
- Very hot or cold water
- Swimming in a pool or hot tub
- Strenuous exercise
- Sun exposure for two weeks
After 10 days:
You can start to use an exfoliant to assist the shedding process. It may appear that your hair is growing longer for a while, but it is actually getting ready to fall out. Don’t be surprised if the towel you dry with after your bath is covered with hair. You can exfoliate with a mitten or product twice a week after 10 days.
When the treated area is no longer sensitive, you can wipe away hair with a damp cloth or exfoliation mitt. This process of shedding hair will take a few days or weeks depending on the size of the area you had treated. Laser hair removal takes time to show the results you expect. You may not see any chance until after the first two sessions.
Do not wax, pluck or have electrolysis to remove hair between laser hair removal sessions. You can shave as mentioned above because this will not affect the follicle which is needed for your next laser treatment.
If you want to enjoy smoother skin for longer periods, laser hair removal may be your best option. It will permanently reduce unwanted body hair and in some cases permanently remove it. A few hairs may be able to grow back after the final session, but these will be few and far between and easily disposed of. Consider us here at Guelph Medical Laser & Skin Centre if you are interested in learning more about laser hair removal. Our team of professionals would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to schedule your consultation in Guelph, ON!