Laser Hair Removal in St. Louis
Cosmetic procedures have grown by leaps and bounds over the past 20 years. One of the first cosmetic procedures to become available on the market was the Laser hair removal procedure. Since its introduction, millions of men and women have taken advantage of the benefits of laser hair removal. Worrying about your unwanted hair, has become a thing of the past.
Once considered a perk of the rich, Laser hair removal has become much more accessible to the average consumer. This is why laser hair removal has become a staple of the cosmetic industry. As the name suggests, laser hair removal is a procedure used to eliminate unwanted body hair. The procedure involves the administration of pulse laser energy directly to a target treatment area. The laser energy targets a specific chromophore. In this case melanin, the pigment that gives all of us our skin and hair color. The greater the concentration of melanin, the more laser energy absorbed. This is precisely why laser hair removal works the best on people with a light complexion and dark hair.
When the laser pulse is fired onto the skin, the melanin in the hair follicle, will absorb the energy from each pulse and convert it to heat. This heat energy in turn, damages the hair follicle that allows the individual hair to grow. As a result, the hair follicle dies and the hair stops growing. The laser hair removal procedure, unfortunately, only works on hair follicles that are in an active growth phase. Therefore, since not all hair grows at the same time but in cycles, the hair removal process must be performed over a period of time. For most people, treatments are required every 1-3 months depending on the area being treated since not all hair grows at the same frequency and rate. The end result over time is a progressive reduction in hair regrowth in the treated area(s).
One of the most common myths relating to laser hair removal is that the treatments result in “Permanent” hair removal. The truth is that laser hair removal treatments can provide near permanent reduction in hair growth. Unfortunately, since hair follicle growth is extremely hormone dependent, new hair and hair follicles will develop over time as a result of the presence of these circulating hormones within the body. This is why men and women often continue to develop new hair follicles and new hair growth throughout the majority of their lives. This is precisely why it is never entirely possible to permanently remove all unwanted hair. This is also why most people who have undergone laser hair removal will return for touch up treatments every few years. That said, the average person can ultimately expect approximately a 90-95% reduction in unwanted hair provided that they complete the entire treatment protocol which can normally take up to a year.
Does laser hair removal work for everyone? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no. Since the laser pulse energy is designed to target the melanin in the hair and hair follicle, people who have no melanin or only a small amount of melanin in their hair, will not show the same results as those with a high concentration of melanin. This is why people with gray hair or red/blonde hair, normally do not benefit from the laser hair removal process since these hair colors do not hold enough melanin to make the treatment effective.
Reasons to get Laser hair removal:
For most people looking for laser hair removal treatments, the reason is simple, a mix between not wanting to shave all the time and for aesthetic reasons. Of course, at the end of the day, everyone has their own particular reasons for pursuing treatment. Originally developed to rid people of unwanted hair on the legs, laser hair removal has since grown to include nearly every hair growing part of the body with the only exception being the eyelids.
The laser hair removal process is generally quite safe when performed by a trained medical specialist. Where problems can present themselves, is normally due to the variability that comes with an individual’s skin type, hair color, and treatment protocols. Since no two people are exactly alike, the medical professional must adjust for all of these variables. Unfortunately, even when adjustments are made correctly, some people can still develop some level of skin irritation as a result of the treatment. This irritation stems from the temporary redness and puffiness that can develop as a result of the injury to the hair follicles when the laser energy is absorbed. The irritation is actually quite normal and typically resolves within a few hours of the treatment. Another common risk is the development of lighter or darker spots in the treatment area. The hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation that can occur, are most commonly seen in individuals who did not protect their skin from sun exposure following treatment.
On rarer occasions, skin damage in the form of scarring, or blistering can result from the treatment. Fortunately, any skin damage that results, will ultimately heal and resolve much like a severe sun burn. Any laser hair removal treatments involving the eyelids, eyebrows, and surrounding areas should be avoided due to the risk of potential eye damage from the laser.
Things to do before treatment
Your physician will instruct you to do a few things before and during your treatment:
- Avoid a suntan: The lighter your skin tan, the more effective the treat can be
- Avoid sun exposure: The treatment is not much different than getting a mild sunburn. Avoiding the sun after a treatment or using a SPF 50 sunscreen can help to minimize discomfort and discoloration issues that can result from the treatment.
- Do not wax or pluck your hair: It is important not to wax or pluck your hair prior to treatments. Doing so, removes the hair itself from the hair follicle, thus eliminating anything for the laser to target making the treatment less effective
- Shave the day before: This is the preferred method of removing unwanted hair prior to treatments. Shaving helps to reduce any excess hair around the target follicles that could potentially cause skin damage as a result of burning hair.
What happens during a treatment:
Treatments typically begin with the medical professional answering any additional questions that you might have. Once ready, you will be given some protective eye wear while the treatment area is isolated and covered with a clear gel. This gel helps to not only keep the skin cool during the procedure and thus help to reduce any immediate discomfort that my result when the laser is fired. You will feel what is described as a warm rubber band hitting your skin every time the laser is fired. The duration of each treatment will vary depending on the size of the treatment area. The bigger the area, the longer the session will last. Once the treatment is completed, the gel will be removed, and you will be able to leave. Most people require 5-6 treatments over the course of a year. The treatment interval will vary for each target area since not all body hair grows at the same rate. For instance, the treatment interval for the upper lips, which grows faster, is normally every 4-6 weeks. In contrast the hair on the back grows much slower so the treatment interval is normally every 12-16 weeks.
Immediately after the treatment, the target area may feel warm and tender and appear slightly red and puffy. This normally resolves within the first few hours after the treatment. At this time, it is important to wear sunscreen and to avoid excessive sun exposure.
Treatment results will normally vary from person to person. In general, people can expect to see a gradual reduction in hair growth over the course of a few weeks following every treatment. They will also notice that their hairs will start to fall out over that time. With each subsequent treatment, you can expect to see less and less regrowth as more and more hair is eliminated. Most people first notice this change when they realize that they are not having to shave as frequently as before. Once the treatment protocol is complete, the majority of the unwanted hair should be gone. New hairs will develop but for the majority of people that hair is fortunately only peach fuzz hair which is usually finer in texture and lighter in color. Some people do require additional maintenance laser hair treatments over the years to help to treat those new hairs that may develop over time.
When the decision has been made to pursue treatment, it is important to set up an initial consultation with professionals at Sheen Vein and Cosmetics. Let our staff answer your questions and help walk you thru the treatment protocol necessary to accomplish your goal of eliminating your unwanted hair. Call us today to set up your free consultation.