Laser hair removal is a popular procedure used to remove unwanted hair from the face and body. Patients who are considering laser hair removal sometimes ask friends or family for advice, and unfortunately, that advice is sometimes inaccurate. Here are the top laser hair removal myths you may encounter if you are considering this treatment:
1. Laser Hair Removal Takes Only One Treatment
Laser hair removal will take more than one treatment to completely remove all hair. This is because your hair grows in phases, so six to eight treatments may be required to adequately treat an area with unwanted hair growth. Some patients require up to twelve sessions for complete hair removal.
2. Laser Hair Removal Works Best in People With Light-Colored Hair
Although people with light-colored hair may not notice excessive hair growth as readily as people with darker hair colors, the truth is that laser energy is attracted to the pigment in the hair follicle, and treatment doesn’t affect blond hair, gray hair, or white hair. Since the laser directs energy to the pigment in the follicle, it will not help to use hair color before your treatment to attempt to treat lighter-colored hair.
3. Thicker Hair is Harder to Treat
Thicker hair is actually easier to treat than areas of thin hair or “peach fuzz.” It’s also worth noting that people with light skin are better candidates for laser hair removal, since lasers may not be able to distinguish between the pigment in dark hair and dark skin.
4. You Should Wax or Pluck Unwanted Hair Between Treatments
Hair removal sessions are usually four weeks apart, but waxing or plucking between treatments isn’t recommended. We recommend shaving the hair with the grain 2-4 days before your treatment session. This will leave the hair follicle intact to provide a target for the laser.
5. Any Dermatologic Laser Can Be Used for Hair Removal
Laser energy is used to target and heat the pigment in the hair, which results in destruction of the hair follicle. Choice of the correct laser is critical for safe and effective hair removal. The laser of choice for people with light-colored skin is a long-pulsed alexandrite laser (Medlite). People with darker skin should undergo treatment with the long-pulsed Nd:YAG (GentleYAG) laser. Laser hair removal is more effective than use of Intense Pulsed Light therapy (IPL).
6. “You Won’t Feel Anything”
Lasers create heat energy, and as a result, you can experience some pain and discomfort. We minimize that discomfort with use of a topical anesthetic to numb the area of treatment. Most people describe the sensation of laser hair removal as “stinging,” and some areas are more sensitive to the heat of the laser, but in general, the procedure is less painful than waxing.
7. Hair Removal in the Treatment Area is Lifelong
For most people, there is no regrowth in the treatment area, but others may experience a new hair growth cycle as they age or undergo hormonal changes. This is rare, but it can occur.
If you are considering laser hair removal, call us today for a consultation with Dr. Mehrabi at BHSkin at one of our convenient locations in Beverly Hills, Glendale, and Encino. We can help you determine whether or not you are a good candidate for this procedure.