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Laser hair removal is probably the most popular laser aesthetic procedure. It permanently reduces unwanted hair.
How Does it Work? - the short version
Lasers used for hair removal utilise the colour in your hair to heat it up and damage the hair root enough to stop the hair growing again.
How Does it Work? - the longer version
Laser’s used for hair removal produce a lot of energy in the form of light at a very specific wavelength. This light beam is focused at a specific point just below the surface of the skin where hair roots are found. The light beam is fired from the laser for just a fraction of a second. This is just long enough to cause the hair root to vaporise and damage its surroundings - the follicle. Effectively, the follicle is cauterised and this stops it from producing further hair.
There two types of laser used for hair removal. They are known as an Alexandrite and an NdYag. These are not makes of laser but the names given to the two different lasers producing wavelengths of light used in laser hair removal. The Alexandrite laser produces light in the 1064nm wavelength and the NdYag generates light in the 755nm wavelength.
The Alexandrite laser is typically used to treat people with darker skin tones and the NdYag for those with paler skin.
The principle behind the treatment is that pigment, or colour, in the hair absorbs the laser’s energy and is destroyed by it. Ideally, there should be a profound difference in the colour of the skin and the hair such as a pale skinned subject with black hair. However, people with darker coloured skin have unwanted hair growth very effectively treated Alexandrite laser.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Typically after six (but on rare occasions up to eight to ten) treatments most people would consider the treated area to be hair free. The only hairs left growing being short and fine hairs. These are known as vellus hairs. But it’s not uncommon for some hairs to regrow and occasional future ‘top up’ treatments are necessary.
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
Yes and no. Those hair follicles that are cauterised by the laser cannot produce new hair. However, those that were not in the anagen stage of growth at the time of treatment will produce new growth. This is why multiple treatments are necessary to achieve maximum effect. Typically, we find that our clients reach this stage after a course of six treatments. Thereafter, further treatments are needed to maintain hair loss.
How Long Do I Have To Wait Between Treatments?
Every hair on your body is in one of three stages of growth. The first stage is called the anagen phase. Only hairs in this growth phase can be treated successfully. This is why you need an average of six laser treatments to be sure that all the hairs have been caught during the anagen phase.
Hairs on different parts of your body grow at different rates. Generally, the higher up the body the faster the rate of hair growth. Conversely, the hairs growing lower down the body take longer to grow.
This is why the gap between treatments is different for different treatment areas. For example, treatments to the upper lip can be set at four weekly intervals, the armpits at six weekly intervals and the lower legs at eight weeks apart.
These different treatment intervals give the best chance of catching all the hairs in the treatment area at the anagen phase of their life cycles. This gives you the most cost effective treatment regime.
Will I Need Further Treatment Following My Initial Course?
Yes. In women this is often due to naturally occurring life events such as pregnancy or hormonal changes.
The rate at which our clients return for maintenance treatments varies depending on the treatment areas. The area most frequently treated for maintenance is the face. Typically, our clients return at a rate ranging from once or twice a year to once every two years for maintenance to the lip, chin or other parts of the face. For the lower treatment areas of the body the maintenance treatments tend to be at a rate of once a year to once every two years.
What Body Parts Do We Treat?
We treat all areas of the body.
The most popular treatment areas for women upper lip, full face, bikini, under arms and legs.
The most popular treatment areas for men are face (beard line), shoulders, back and chest.
IPL or Laser Hair Removal?
IPL and laser are two very different technologies but are often confused for one and the same thing. It’s unfortunate that those offering IPL are allowed to refer to the service as ‘IPL laser’. This is misleading. Laser energy is powerful, finely tuned, specifically targeted and, above all, most effective. IPL is not.
Many of our clients have been repeatedly treated elsewhere with IPL over long periods of time before coming to us for more effective results.
What Happens Before Treatment?
We carry out a consultation and test patch the treatment area/s prior to treatment. We do this for all new clients and all existing clients who wish to have treatment to further body parts. This is free of charge.
The purpose of the consultation is for us to:
- hear our clients wants and expectations
- to convey the options available to them for the above
- to explain the risks and benefits of treatment
- to describe the modus operandi
- to allow enough time to hear and answer their questions
The purpose of the test patch is to ensure that the settings applied to the laser are safe.
It is of great importance to us that our clients are equipped to make informed decisions as to whether to proceed to treatment or not. It is also important that our clients be equipped to give informed consent when electing to proceed to treatment and that they should be comfortable with their choices. This is why we never ‘up-sell’ or try to ‘add value’ to their treatments. We are here to help our clients achieve their goals, not ours.
If our clients elected to proceed we would only start treatment one week following test patching. This is to ensure enough time has passed to allow any adverse effect to become apparent.
What Does Treatment Feel Like?
Individual clients have different reactions to the same stimulus. Some report that the treatment is comfortably bearable and others find it uncomfortable at times. One should not expect laser treatment to be without discomfort or pain.
Treatment with the laser may be described as feeling as if the treatment area was ‘twanged’ with an elastic band. Whether it feels uncomfortable or painful depends on many factors such as one’s pain threshold, the specific treatment area and the gender of the client.
We are happy to proceed with treatment at a pace that our clients find comfortable.
A Cryo machine is attached to the laser. This blows super-cooled air to the treatment area. This helps numb the area which desensitises it and makes the treatment less uncomfortable.
Some clients find that it helps to take a paracetamol some thirty minutes prior to treatment.
After treatment the skin may look red and/or slightly swollen. This normally disappears within minutes but may take some hours in rare cases. We supply chilled gel packs to those who want them following treatment. These help resolve any redness or swelling.
One can normally return to normal daily life within an hour of treatment.
What Precautions Should I Take?
The area being treated must not be tanned. Tanning causes increased skin pigmentation which increases the risk of laser burns. A broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher should be applied whenever exposed to the sun.
You can take paracetamol prior to treatment for pain relief. Do not take ibuprofen (Nurofen), as it will cause increased photosensitivity with an increased risk of burning from the laser.
We need to be notified any medication taken during the course of your treatment. This is because some medications may cause increased photosensitivity.
Following treatment the area treated may show redness with some swelling. This typically resolves quickly. Treat the treatment area with care. Do not rub, scratch or pick. You may scar the skin if you do. If a crust develops let it fall off naturally.
Apply Aloe Vera gel or Sudocrem to the treated area until any redness has settled. When washing, do not scrub the area. Pat it dry. Do not shave the treatment area if swelling, crusting or scabbing is present. Do not apply make up until the treated area has returned to normal. Your skin may become spotty if you apply makeup too soon.
To help reduce any swelling, apply ice wrapped in a soft cloth. You can take paracetamol as per the instructions given on the box to relieve discomfort.
Avoid sport and strenuous activity for 2 – 3 days after laser hair removal. Walking is encouraged.
In case of signs of infection (pus, tenderness, fever) please contact the clinic immediately.
Hairs treated with the laser will exfoliate, or push out, in approximately 2 weeks. Do not wax, pluck or use depilatory creams on the treatment area between treatments as no hair root means the treatment will not be effective. During the course of your Laser Hair Removal you may experience ‘regrowth’ of the hair. This is in fact hair with an intact blood supply that has yet to be treated in the anagen phase of growth. As the course progresses these hairs will be treated. box >>
Anais - hair & beauty
9 Guy Place East
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