Unwanted hair can make us a lot less confident than we should be about going out and seeing the world. Getting rid of unwanted hair is an annoying part of the regular beauty routine for a lot of us, and then we have to deal with the uncomfortable stubble that arises just a day or so later. If you’ve ever considered getting laser hair removal, now is a great time to learn more from the Center for Women’s Health in Oxford, NC. We can get you the smooth skin you’re longing for in just a few treatments.
Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Treatments
How Many Laser Hair Removal Treatments Are Needed for Best Results?
The first thing to know is that everyone is different, and your unique biological makeup will play a big part in how many sessions you are going to need. That said, there are some generalities to work with.
Most people will need four to six laser treatments to see the results they are looking or, though some can get their results with as few as two treatments, while others may need up to eight. Each treatment gets rid of about 10% to 25% of the hair, so it takes a few treatments to get where you want to be.
To illustrate, imagine you have 1,000 hairs in your treatment area and each treatment gets rid of 20%. After your first treatment, you’ll have 800 hairs. After the second treatment, you’ll have only 640. After the third treatment, you’ll be down to half the hair you had to start. It’s clear that you’ll see a noticeable difference right from the first treatment, but also that it will take a few treatments to get the final results.
Why Does Treatment Only Remove 10% to 25% of Hair at One Time?
Our hair grows in cycles which include growing, shedding, and dormant phases. Not all the hair is in the same point of the cycle at the same time, and laser hair removal works best on hair that is in the active stage.
In this stage, the connection between the hair and the follicle is tight, so the heat from the laser travels efficiently down the hair shaft and damages the follicle. During dormant and shedding phases, that connection is not as good, so the laser isn’t able to do as much damage to the follicle.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work Exactly?
The short answer is that this treatment uses a laser to deliver light energy. The energy is drawn to the color in your hairs themselves, and it travels down the hair shaft until it reaches the follicle. Once there, its heat damages or even destroys the follicle.
Can I Have Treatment?
Earlier generations of lasers didn’t work well on anyone without a strong contrast between the color of their skin and the color of their hair. If their hair was too light, the laser wasn’t attracted to it at all. If their skin was too dark, the energy could be attracted to the skin rather than the hair, resulting in burns.
Today’s lasers are far more efficient and capable of treating a much wider variety of skin and hair colors. Even if you’ve been told before that you’re not a candidate for laser treatments, come talk to us about what we can do for you.
How Often Can You Have a Hair Removal Treatment?
Most people need to wait between four and eight weeks between treatments, and there are two reasons for this. First, you need time to allow more of your hair to move from dormant and shedding phases into the active stage so it can be effectively targeted. If you had a second laser treatment two days after the first one, for example, it would be essentially redundant. It would not target any new hair and would not improve your results.
The second issue is the speed of growth in your target area. Some places tend to grow very quickly, like the hair on the upper lip. The hair on the legs tends to grow more slowly. When you visit us for a consultation, we’ll help you understand the most likely scenario for your best results.
Is Hair Removal Permanent?
Once you get the results you’re looking for, you can expect to remain smooth and free of hair for months. Six months to a year is a normal timeframe, and some people’s results last even longer.
Once you do notice hair again, a single maintenance treatment will help you keep your smooth skin. The good news is that the more treatments you have, the more you damage the follicles, meaning that it typically requires fewer treatments farther apart as you go along. Some people achieve permanent hair removal.
Can Laser Removal Help With Other Issues?
Getting your hair removed by laser helps with several other issues, including razor burn and ingrown hairs. If you struggle with these issues, especially in delicate or noticeable areas of the body, laser hair removal can help you get smooth skin without the irritation.
How Long Does It Take for Hair to Fall Out?
The treated hair will shed over the next few days. It has been disconnected from the damaged follicle, but it does take a little time for it to fall out. This shedding can mimic normal hair growth, but once the hair is gone, you’ll far fewer new hairs are popping up. And of the ones that do, many will be thinner, lighter, and slower to grow than previously.
Where Can I Get Treatment?
It’s possible to get laser treatment almost anywhere on your body other than right around the eyes. It’s common for women to treat their legs, upper lip and chin, bikini areas, armpits, and even arms. However, we can also remove unwanted hair from the back, stomach, chest, neck, and more.
Are At-Home Lasers a Good Option?
There are many at-home devices available on the internet, and at first glance, these can seem like a good bargain. Unfortunately, they aren’t in the long run, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, these devices are considered cosmetic by the FDA, meaning they don’t have to meet the same stringent standards for safety and efficacy that a medical laser device does. They simply do not work as well, and some are actually dangerous.
Another issue is that they are more painful than the efficient lasers we work with, and you don’t have the opportunity to add a numbing cream to increase your comfort.
Is Laser Removal the Best Way to Get Rid of Unwanted Hair?
There are other methods for getting rid of your unwanted hair, but laser removal stands out as the best once you consider the downsides of other methods.
Obviously the most popular way to get rid of your unwanted hair is by shaving it off. Humans have been doing this for millennia, and it is fast and relatively easy. However, there are a lot of downsides. For one, regularly using a razor over a lifetime is simply hard on the skin. You can experience razor burn and ingrown hairs, and the more often you shave, the more likely these become.
Another issue is the waste of time. Since shaving only removes the hair that appears above the skin, it comes back quickly and must be repeated. Cost is a third factor. The average woman spends close to $10,000 in shaving products over the course of her life, and that doesn’t even count what your time is worth. If you value your time even as little as $7 an hour, the nearly 80 days you spend shaving over the course of your life costs you another $13,000+.
Waxing lasts a lot longer than shaving because it pulls out the follicle with the hair. This means your body has to re-grow the follicle before it can regrow the hair! This gives you much longer-term results, but there are two major downsides to this method.
First, this is simply painful. There’s no getting around the fact that it hurts to rip the hair out by the roots. Second, you have to wait for the new hair to grow to a certain length before the next wax treatment can effectively grab it. This means you’ll always endure periods of time where you have to cover up hair growth that’s visible but not yet long enough to wax.
Electrolysis uses electrical energy delivered to hair follicles to kill them permanently. It’s very effective and usually results in completely permanent hair removal. So how could laser removal be better?
First, electrolysis is very expensive, and part of the reason for the expense is the time it takes for treatment. To get this done, treatment providers have to insert a thin needle into every single follicle, one at a time. It’s incredibly time-consuming, making this really only a good choice for small areas. And if you’re thinking that putting a needle into your follicle and zapping it with electricity sounds painful, you’re quite right.
How Do I Prepare for Treatment?
Your first step towards getting rid of your unwanted hair is to schedule a consultation with us. We’ll look at your skin, listen to your goals, and evaluate your medical history and medications list to make sure there are no contraindications.
Once we know you’re a good candidate, we can sometimes start immediately. As you think about having treatment, be sure to stay out of the sun as much as possible, wearing sunscreen whenever you go out. If you take any supplements or medications that make you photosensitive, you’ll need to pause these temporarily.
You will also need to avoid any hair removal treatments that completely remove the hair before treatment. After all, the laser needs something to target! You can certainly shave before treatment, but avoid plucking, waxing, or anything else that removes all the hair completely.
What Is Treatment Like?
We’ll give you special protection for your eyes, and then we’ll apply a topical numbing cream to your treatment area to ensure you’re perfectly safe and comfortable throughout the treatment. If your hair has grown a bit too long, we’ll shave the area again. We want to be sure there’s enough hair for the light to target but not so much that energy is wasted.
Then we’ll use a small handheld device to treat the skin. This device passes gently over your skin, emitting a pulse of laser light at regular intervals. Expect it to take around 10 minutes to treat small areas and up to 30 or 40 to treat a larger area, like the legs.
Get Rid of the Hair You Hate!
If you’re sick of unwanted hair and ready for smooth skin you don’t have to work for every single day, visit the Center for Women’s Health in Oxford, NC today to get started!