Step-by-step guide to laser hair removal

Laser hair removal has proven to be a boon in the recent years. However, many are still intrigued about this option. Here’s demystifying the myths

Dr Usha BeloskarUpdated:Saturday, April 30, 2022, 11:40 PM IST
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Laser hair removal is one of the most common cosmetic procedures in India. Highly concentrated light is beamed into hair follicles. Melanin pigment in the follicles absorb the light, which destroys the hair.

Waxing, threading and shaving can lead to ingrown hair. Laser removal is safer than these options as it deals with the root of the hair and stops growth after a few sessions.

Lasers are useful for removing unwanted hair from the face, leg, chin, back, arm, underarm, bikini line, and other areas.

Advantages

Precision: Lasers can selectively target dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.

Speed: Each pulse of the laser takes a fraction of a second and can treat many hairs at the same time.

Predictability: Most patients have permanent hair loss after an average of eight to ten sessions.

Disadvantages

Sometimes delayed results.

More sessions required due to hormonal problems.

In rare cases, laser heat reactions and folliculitis can occur, which are completely treatable.

Blisters are rare, but are more likely in people with darker complexions.

Other potential side effects are swelling, redness and scarring. Permanent scarring or changes in skin colour are also rare.

How to prepare for laser hair reduction

If you are planning on undergoing laser hair removal, you should limit plucking, waxing and electrolysis for six weeks before treatment.

You should also avoid sun exposure for one-two weeks before and after treatment. Sun exposure makes laser hair removal less effective and increases chances of complications after treatment.

Use of moisturiser before and after laser.

After laser, avoid swimming for a week.

What to expect during the treatment

Before the procedure, your hair that will be undergoing treatment will be trimmed to a few millimetres above the skin surface. The laser equipment will be adjusted according to the colour, thickness, and location of your hair being treated as well as your skin colour.

Depending on the laser or light source used, you and the technician will need to wear appropriate eye protection. It will also be necessary to protect the outer layers of your skin with a cold gel or special cooling device. This will help the laser light penetrate the skin.

The technician will then give a pulse of light to the treatment area and watch the area for several minutes to make sure the best settings were used and to check for bad reactions. When the procedure is completed, you may be given ice packs, anti-inflammatory creams or lotions, or cold water to ease any discomfort. You may schedule your next treatment four to six weeks later. You will receive treatment until hair stops growing.

Recovery and risks

For a day or two afterwards, the treated area of your skin will look and feel like it’s sunburned. Cool compresses and moisturisers may help. If your face was treated,

you can wear make-up the next day. Over the next month, your treated hair will fall out. Wear sunscreen for the following month to help prevent temporary changes in the colour of the treated skin.

Caution

Laser hair removal is not just ‘zapping’ unwanted hair. It is a medical procedure that requires training to perform and carries potential risks. Before the treatment, you should thoroughly check the credentials of the doctor or technician performing the procedure. Ask for prior consultation to get a fair idea about the cost and progress of the treatment.

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