1. What is Laser Hair Removal? Laser hair removal is a state of the art technique used to permanently reduce unwanted body hair. The system that is used in our office is a LightSheer™ diode laser which is FDA approved. The new, specially designed LightSheer™ Diode Laser effectively removes unwanted, excess hair much faster, more reliably, and more comfortably than standard long-term methods like electrolysis and electrothermolysis. To understand how the LightSheer™ diode laser works, it helps to know a little more about how hair grows and how laser light vaporizes unwanted tissue.
2. How does hair grow?
Hair forms in a pouchlike structure below the skin called a hair follicle. What we see as hair is actually the hair staff, which is the keratinized, hardened tissue that grows from this follicle.
Humans have more hair follicles per square inch of skin than most higher primates, including chimpanzees and gorillas. Because most
of this hair is fine and pale (called vellus hair), it usually isn’t visible to the naked eye. Consider this: the forehead has more hair follicles
than any other part of the body. The thicker, fully pigmented hair most people consider “real hair” is called terminal hair. This hair is found on the scalp, eyebrows, legs, back, underarms, and genital areas. This is the hair the LightSheer™ diode laser treats. Everyone’s hair grows differently, depending on age, weight, metabolism, hormones, ethnicity, medications, and others factors. But all hair goes through three distinct growth phases:
3. How the new LightSheer™ Diode Laser for Hair Removal A laser produces a beam of highly concentrated light. Different types of lasers produce different colors of light. The light emitted by LightSheer™ diode laser is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) located in hair follicles (melanin pigments give hair its color) and hair shaft. The laser pulses for a fraction of a second, just long enough to vaporize the pigment – disabling several hair follicles at a time to eliminate or significantly impede the hair’s regrowth - but not long enough to damage the surrounding skin. The LightSheer™ diode laser’s special contact-cooling handpiece further protects the epidermis (upper layer of skin). This patented method of epidermal preservation allows delivery of more laser energy deeper into the hair follicle. The recovery is rapid and patients return to normal activities right away. Additionally, the LightSheer™ diode laser is able to treat a broader range of skin types than most other hair-removal lasers. It is delicate enough for a woman’s fine, sensitive skin and robust enough for a man’s beard, back, or arms.
4. Who does it work on? The laser light is only absorbed by hair with pigment. Therefore, gray or blond hair will not be affected. It works best on black and brown colored hair. The LightSheer™ diode laser system safely and effectively treats all skin types (Fitzpatrick Skin Types I-VI) as well as tanned skin. For darker skin types and people with tans, appropriate fluences are generally lower and appropriate pulse widths are generally longer to prevent damage to the epidermis. Using the appropriate treatment parameters, however, people with all skin types can benefit from laser hair removal with the LightSheer™.
5. What does the treatment feel like? The laser is emitted through a hand held piece of equipment that is placed on the skin. A topical anesthetic cream is recommended before the treatment. Most patients experience minimal discomfort during the procedure. Some areas of the body are more sensitive than others. Some patients have described the treatment as feeling like “a rubber band snapping against the skin”.
6. Is Laser Hair Removal is safe? Laser hair removal treatments are extremely safe and our professionals are certified laser specialists. All lasers operators are registered nurses certified in laser hair removal procedures, working under the supervision of a medical doctor.
7. What are the possible side effects? There are rarely any permanent side effects which result from Laser Hair Removal treatments. Temporary skin darkening (hyper pigmentation) can occur, especially in those with darker skin tones and those with tanned skin. These changes in color usually fade with time. Hypo pigmentation (lightening of skin color) is a rare complication of laser hair removal and would more commonly be seen if one had a suntan at the time of the procedure. The risk of scarring with Laser Hair Removal is very rare.
8. How many Laser Hair Removal session does it take? The number of sessions for each individual is different. Many factors such as location, hair density, growth cycle, age, ethnicity, weight, hormones, diet, medications and metabolism all have an impact on hair growth. Each situation is unique; experience tells us that you can expect an average of 4-8 treatments spaced 6 to 12 weeks apart.
9. How long is the Laser Hair Removal session? Overall size of the area to be treated and density of hair growth are main determinates of time for an individuals laser hair removal session. Usually small areas can take as little as 15-20 minutes, while large areas may require one hour or longer.
10. How much does it cost? The cost varies depending on the area of the body being treated. Laser hair removal is very affordable compared to a lifetime of shaving, waxing or using depilatory creams.
11. What area of the body can be treated? Most all body parts may be treated with the exception of the area around the eyes. Areas for Laser Hair Removal include:
1) Active growth phase (called the anagen phase), which lasts up to several years. At any given time, the majority (85%) of our body hair is in this phase. During anagen, the hair has an abundance of melanin.
2) Regressive phase (catagen phase), which lasts about two weeks, during which the hair stops growing but is not yet shed and the follicle is reabsorbed. About 3 – 4% of our body hair is in this phase at any given time.
3) Resting phase (telogen phase), which lasts 5-6 weeks, at the end of which the hair falls out and a new hair begins to from. Approximately 10-13% of our body hair is in this phase at any one time. The LightSheer™ diode laser most effectively disables hair that is in the active growth (anagen) phase. Because all the hair in a treated area may not be in the anagen phase, more than one laser treatment may be necessary to remove the hair that subsequently enters the growth phase.