Laser treatment for hair removal is an effective, permanent and safe solution for removal of unwanted hair from the body and face. FDA approved and clinically tested treatments have in existence for over 3 decades now and are now very common among adults in the age group 20 to 45. But, you cannot expect the result to show up overnight and you should also know that if you are choosing an inexperienced laser hair removal clinic, you could be exposing yourself to serious consequences. Permanent change to your skin colour, burns and potentially scars are among the issues when you are not choosing a qualified, skilled and experienced doctor who is also well versed in dermatology.
Laser treatment has grown in popularity and therefore many laser hair removal clinics have sprung up in malls and storefronts. Most of these kiosks have neither the required qualifications or experience to use laser equipment safely and effectively.
On that note, let us also understand some of the common misconceptions about laser hair removal.
1. Laser hair removal is effective on all hair colours
The truth is that laser hair removal does not work if you have grey, white, red or blonde hair since lasers capable of targeting light-coloured hair is yet to be developed. Therefore, if your hair colour falls into any of the groups mentioned, you should be wary of any business claims that it can carry out laser hair removal for you.
2. Dark-skinned people are not good candidates for laser hair removal
Laser hair removal is suitable for all skin types subject to the contrast between your hair and skin colour being present. Nevertheless, if you have darker skin, you may be more prone to hyperpigmentation and burns. Therefore, you should ensure that the doctor administering the procedure is adequately experienced in laser hair removal from dark skin tones. Further, you should also check with him/her to know the type of laser that will be used since only specific lasers like Nd: YAG can be used for dark skin tones.
3. Laser hair removal can be performed by anyone
This is incorrect and just about anyone should not perform laser hair removal. Speak to any dermatologist near you and he/she can tell you the number of patients visiting them with complications from incorrect, inefficient and incompetent laser hair removal. These complications include blisters, skin darkening/lightening, burns, infection and more from laser hair removal performed by beauticians and other persons with no appropriate qualification or experience. Experience, education and training are critical for handling sensitive lasers.
4. Laser hair removal is not permanent
Surprisingly, laser hair removal is, in fact, permanent on most parts of your body, barring the face in the case of women attributable to their hormones. The hair follicles that aid growth of hair is completely destroyed during laser hair removal and in most of your body parts these follicles do not regenerate. However, you should also know that it could take up to 6 sessions for getting rid of all hair follicles during their growth stage. When the hair follicle is not destroyed entirely, hairs will tend to grow.
5. Laser hair removal is only for women
This is not true. In fact, more and more men are seeking hair removal through a laser to get rid of unwanted hair permanently and get relief from issues like ingrown hairs and razor burn. The treatment for men is primarily on neck, face and back and many men also visit laser hair removal clinic for sculpting their sideburns and beards.
6. Laser hair removal hurts
If the procedure is performed by a qualified and experienced dermatologist, the discomfort caused would be minimal and less compared to waxing, tweezing or having a tattoo done. However, the pain you may feel is also relative to the part/s of the body you are getting treated and your own level of tolerating pain. You also have the option of using a local anaesthetic before starting the treatment and when this option is used, the whole procedure will feel similar to a rubber band snapping on the skin.
7. Side effects
Some people may experience certain side effects from laser treatment but they are mostly minor and temporary. But, if the side effects are persistent, you should see a competent dermatologist without losing time. Redness and Irritation are among potential side effects since the follicles of the targeted hair can be damaged during the procedure. Your body can react to such a possibility and you can experience redness and irritation in the areas receiving treatment. Your skin could also feel tenderness and tingling and might even slightly swell. Usually, these side effects last only a few days and your skin will only appear as you have just waxed or plucked. Cool baths and ice packs are known to bring significant relief from swelling and redness.
You should also be aware that varying wavelengths can be employed during laser treatment to penetrate different skin shades and properly remove the hair for persons having different complexions. Further, individuals having darker skin should expect the final outcome to be lower than the optimal levels since lasers focus on the melanin in the skin than in your hair follicle. It is also desirable that you collate all the relevant information from the digital world before embarking on laser treatment.