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Denver Facial Aesthetics Blog

How to Get the Most Out of Your Laser Hair Removal Treatment

08/21/20 | 8 MIN READ

If you’re considering laser hair removal, you’re in good company. It is one of the most popular non-invasive skin treatment options, among both men and women. But is there anything you can to do enhance or assure your results? Let's talk about it.

Benefits of Laser Hair Removal

  • Instead of spending the rest of your life agonizing over excessive or unwanted hair, you can get rid of it – permanently. Say goodbye to shaving, tweezing, plucking, or waxing. Say help to smooth skin that’s free of razor burn, nicks, bumpy red spots, or prickly stubble.
  • We can target any part of your body – anywhere – from a tiny area to your entire back or chest.
  • Treatments are fast – anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the area being treated. In just a few sessions (typically anywhere from 3 to 6), you can be hair-free. If a few random hairs reappear in the future, we can zap them, too. (And, if you simply want to thin excessive hair, laser hair removal is perfect for that, too.)
  • Treatments are not painful, and the laser technology we use is air-cooled to provide even greater comfort.
  • There’s no downtime.

Beware: Not All Lasers Are the Same

Laser technology is a fine science, and researchers are constantly working to expand and improve our treatment options. There are different types of laser tools, specifically designed to address certain skin care needs. For example, here at Rocky Mountain Laser Aesthetics, we might use one type of laser to reduce brown spots and small facial veins, whereas for skin tightening we would recommend a different type.

You may have seen that some spas or clinics offer hair removal services using intense pulsed light (IPL) technology. We do not use IPL for this because it is not effective compared to other options. Our goal is to help you achieve your aesthetic goal in the safest and most effective manner. By understanding how the technology works and the best uses for each type of laser, we can fully customize treatment recommendations for every patient.

There are even different types of lasers specifically designed for hair removal. All use focused light pulses to target hair follicles, but they are not all equally effective. We use a system that combines the two options – Alexandrite and Yag. What does that mean?

  • Alexandrite is a gemstone that, when used with the laser, produces a long beam of light. The longer beam requires fewer light pulses to do its work, so it is faster and more comfortable. It is safe and effective for a wide range of skin tone and hair color combinations. It is effective for very fine as well as coarse hairs, which can be problematic for other types of lasers.
  • The Nd:YAG laser uses garnet -- neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet, to be precise, which is why we use the short nickname! This type of laser can “see” subtle pigmentation differences, a significant problem for many lasers. So it is effective even for those with dark skin and hair. Like Alexandrite, the Yag also produces a very long beam.

With this dual wavelength technology, we can achieve the most effective results, and we can treat women and men with any skin type.

The Best Laser is in Skilled Hands

Using the best equipment for the job will help you get the most from your laser hair removal treatment. Equally important, it is essential to get your treatment from someone who is professionally trained and skilled in using medical grade laser technology. You want the best possible results, but with the least potential risk. In the wrong hands lasers can be dangerous. Here at Raval Facial Aesthetics, we’re friendly and have an excellent reputation because we know our stuff.

So if you’re ready to get rid of excessive or unwanted hair, let’s talk. A personal consultation will help us make the ideal recommendation for you, and it’s the first step toward smooth, hair-free skin.

Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?

We know you’re tired of repeatedly shaving or waxing to remove unwanted hair. Laser treatment is a great alternative, because results are virtually permanent. But it takes multiple sessions to get rid of most of the hair. The reason is that our hair has a three-phase life cycle, and laser targeting works only during one of the phases.

Each hair has a period of growth, which typically lasts several years. Then it sheds (the occasional hairs you see in your brush, for instance). Then the follicle rests for a time before the cycle begins again. Obviously the life cycle is not identical for all your hair, or it would all fall out at once during the “shedding” phase. Laser treatment works only on growing hairs, so each session will target hairs that are currently in that phase, but not the other two.

Exactly how many laser hair removal appointments will you need? That depends on your skin and hair. A personal consultation is the best way to learn what will be best for you. We usually schedule sessions a few weeks apart, to accommodate changes in your hair growth cycle.

Best Time for Laser Hair Removal Treatments

Laser hair removal works any time of year, but you might be surprised to know winter is an ideal time. That's because lasers need contrast to do their job. To remove unwanted hair, lasers use a concentrated light beam to target the hair follicles. The beam transfers heat through the melanin in your hair (the substance that gives hair its color), killing the roots of each hair in the targeted follicle. If your skin is tanned or sunburned (or a naturally dark color), it is difficult for the laser’s beam to distinguish between your skin and the hair follicles. 

Can Laser Hair Removal Work for Back Hair?

There’s no way you can shave your back, or conveniently attempt to apply depilatory creams. And no matter how much of a tough-guy you are, waxing hurts like mad, and you have to keep doing it. It’s a hassle, and the costs adds up seriously over time. Laser hair removal for back hair can keep you sports-ready, make wearing shirts a lot more comfortable, and give your self-image a lift so you feel more confident when you take off that shirt. Why get laser hair removal for your back?

  • It’s fast. We can treat your entire back in about an hour, which makes scheduling very convenient. 
  • It’s safe and effective. Even though we still caution potential patients that the procedure works best if you have fair skin and dark hair, don’t let that dissuade you from checking it out.
  • There’s no downtime. After your treatment session, you can go back to whatever you were doing. We do recommend avoiding strenuous exercise for about 24 hours, to give your skin a chance to rest.

Professional Laser Facial Hair Removal is the Most Effective Method

Because lasers are so precise, we can use them to remove unwanted facial hair even in tiny areas such as the upper lip or earlobes. It's the best method over shaving, tweezing, depilatory creams or electrolysis. Laser hair removal is safe, effective, FDA-approved, and fast. We can treat an area about the size of a quarter in just one second.

  • Shaving cuts off the hairs at the skin’s surface, so they can reappear in just a few hours to a couple of days. You have to repeat the process frequently. Shaving is safe, but it can cause nicks, razor burn, and “rashy” looking ingrown hairs.
  • Tweezing pulls hairs out by the roots, so results last longer than shaving. Most women tweeze to shape their eyebrows or remove errant hairs that appear on their face. Tweezing can also cause ingrown hairs.
  • An epilator also pulls hairs out by the root, but this device removes several hairs at a time.
  • Waxing can be done at home or by a professional aesthetician. It is often used to remove hair from larger areas on the face, but some people can be allergic to the wax, and the process can be painful. Waxing can sometimes cause ingrown hairs, too.
  • Threading is a technique that must be performed by a trained aesthetician. It uses a thread to entangle and remove hairs at the root, so results are similar to tweezing or epilation. The discomfort level is about the same, too.
  • Depilatory creams use chemicals to dissolve hairs so you can just wash them away. This is cheaper than waxing and results last longer than shaving, but allergic reactions can happen.
  • There is a prescription cream called Vaniqua that does not remove hair but does slow its growth.
  • Electrolysis uses shortwave radio frequency delivered via a thin probe to destroy hair follicles. It can sometimes cause scarring.
  • You may have seen TV ads for a new tool that removes facial hair. It is essentially a shaver, but with a gentler touch.
  • You may even have seen do-it-yourself laser hair removal kits at the store. This is bad idea, because lasers can be dangerous. Used incorrectly, they can cause permanent skin damage. You wouldn’t consider performing surgery or some other medical procedure on yourself at home.

How to Choose a Laser Hair Removal Provider

You’ve probably already done some research about hair removal, and perhaps about clinics as well. You can talk to family members or friends to get referrals, and look online to find reviews about providers here in the Denver area. Our best advice is to look for medical professionals, not salons. Reviews aren’t foolproof, but when you find a doctor or clinic with a lot of very positive reviews, that’s certainly a good sign.

Pick two or three that stand out for you, then take a stroll around their website. You can get a feel for the clinic’s personality as well as their scope of services. Specifically, you should look for:

  • The supervising doctor’s credentials. For example, are they board-certified in dermatology, plastic or cosmetic surgery? How long have they been in practice? How many laser hair removal procedures have they performed?
  • The staff’s credentials, an whether a certified aesthetician performs hair removal treatments. 

Choosing the right clinic means choosing the right person to perform your laser procedure. The more qualified they are, the lower your risk of injury or other negative side effects, and the greater your opportunity to get truly satisfying hair reduction results.

How to Vet a Clinic: Important Questions to Ask

You cannot get all the information you need to make a confident decision without a face-to-face consultation. Some clinics charge for this, others do not. Either way, you should meet with the doctor or clinician who will actually perform your procedure. They should be very willing to answer all your questions. Your consultation has several goals:

  • Do you feel comfortable with this person and the clinic’s atmosphere? Trust is key to making the decision that’s right for you.
  • Are you a good candidate for laser hair removal? Earlier, we noted that lasers work by detecting pigment in hair follicles. Lasers cannot “see” clearly with contract between light and dark. So if you have light skin and dark hair, that’s great. If you have tanned skin, or darker tone skin, or pale hair, that’s not so great. It may turn out that this procedure isn’t worth the investment for you. But don’t make any assumptions – this is why you’re consulting a professional. Ask how many procedures they have done on people with similar hair color/skin tone to yours.

Even the provider you consult shouldn’t assure you that you’re a good candidate without doing a “patch test” on your skin. Lasers can affect different people differently, so you can’t go by hair and skin color alone. Conducting a small trial will show exactly how your body will respond to the procedure. You’ll have to wait a few days after the test to see the results.  

During your consultation, be sure to mention any medications you’re taking, because certain drugs can also affect results of laser hair removal. Your potential provider needs to be fully informed in order to give you sound advice.

  • What does the procedure involve? You can get general information from your own research, but every hair reduction procedure is unique, because each patient is unique. You want to know what your procedure will be like, in terms of time commitment, potential pain or discomfort, downtime, post-procedure requirements, and so on. Discuss potential risks and complications, too, so you can make a well-informed decision about hair removal as a procedure.
  • How much will it cost? Of course this depends on the extent of hair reduction you’re seeking, the number of treatments you’ll need, and other factors, so your cost will be different from someone else’s. But you should expect a straight answer, and it should be the projected total, so you know what to expect and won’t have any financial surprises.

You can compare costs between clinics, but be sure you’re comparing total figures for each of them. And remember that your personal safety and top-quality results are far more important than getting the cheapest price. If a clinic tells you they can give you great results with fewer treatment sessions than others recommend, that could be a red flag.

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