How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal

You've probably been shaving, waxing or using creams to remove unwanted body hair for years and years. And it works, for a little while. Then, a day, a week, or a few weeks later, you're back at it again, shaving, waxing or using other temporary hair removal methods. If you're tired of constantly battling unwanted hair, there is a better way: laser hair removal.

laser hair removal prep tipsLaser hair removal works by damaging the hair follicles so that the hair is much less likely to grow back. It can be done on pretty much any area of the body where there's unwanted hair, with the exception of the area around the eyes. Although traditional laser hair removal methods were best suited for people with dark hair and light skin, newer advanced lasers and modern methods work on all types of hair and on a greater range of complexions.

If you're thinking about laser hair removal, follow these prep tips for the best results.

Take a Break from Waxing

If your usual hair removal method is waxing, you'll want to take a break from it starting about a month before your first laser hair removal treatment. Waxing removes hair by the root, and laser hair removal needs that root to be actively growing hair in order to work effectively. Giving up waxing at least a month before your first treatment gives your hair a chance to get reestablished.

It's not only waxing that you want to take a break from before laser hair removal, however. Any hair removal method that pulls hair out by the roots, such as tweezing and epilating, should also be avoided.

If you usually use a product like Veet or Nair to get rid of your unwanted hair, it's a good idea to stop using it for about a month before treatment. Depilatory creams work by dissolving hair at the root, so you need to give your hair time to grow back before your laser treatment.

Although it doesn't remove hair like waxing or depilatories, it's also recommended that you hold off on bleaching your hair starting about a month before your first treatment. The pigment of your hair absorbs the heat from the laser, which is what destroys the follicle. The treatment usually works best when there's some pigment for the laser to absorb.

Steer Clear of the Sun

Another aspect of laser hair removal prep is staying out of the sun and avoiding any sort of activity that will make your skin darker. Having a tan increases the risk of skin discoloration after laser hair removal.

If you do have to go outside, cover up the area you're going to treat and be sure to wear an SPF of at least 30.

Review Your Medications

Some medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, can increase your risk for sensitivity after laser treatment. It's a good idea to review what you take with your surgeon. They might recommend another option if your medicine makes skin more sensitive. Alternatively, they might simply recommend waiting to get laser treatments until you're no longer taking the medication.

It's not only oral medicines that can affect your skin. It's also a good idea to review the products you put on your skin, such as creams with retinol or alpha-hydroxy acids. Your surgeon will let you know what products you can keep using while you're getting laser hair removal.

Shave!

There's one hair removal method you don't want to give up on before laser hair removal, and that's shaving. In fact, your provider is likely to recommend that you shave the area to be treated the night before. The shorter the hair being treated, the more effective the laser usually is.

Clean Your Skin

It's also important that you clean your skin as part of laser hair removal prep. Remove any lotions or creams from the surface. If you're having your underarms treated, make sure there's no deodorant or antiperspirant there. Use a gentle soap and water to wash the area.

Learn More About Laser Hair Removal Prep Today

Dr. Haitham Masri and Dr. Fatina Masri each have more than two decades of experience performing plastic surgery and non-surgical procedures. They offer a range of facial and body procedures. They can help you prepare for laser hair removal and help you fully understand what's involved with the treatment. To schedule your free patient consultation at Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, call (866) 487-3223 today.

Treatment for Laser Hair RemovalEver thought about how nice it would be to never shave (or wax) again? You’d be surprised at how simple reaching that goal can be—all thanks to the amazing laser technology that’s been developed over the last few decades. Today, almost any of the area of the body can be treated to stop hair growth indefinitely, through just a few sessions with a special laser. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It is! But if you’re like most people, you may be curious to learn just how laser hair removal works before you take the next steps.

Laser Hair Removal: Targeting the Hair Follicles

So how does laser hair removal keep the hair from returning? It all has to do with the hair follicles. During a treatment, the laser is used to destroy the hair at the root—which also damages the hair follicle in the process. The damage caused to the follicle will keep hair from growing in the future indefinitely. However, hair grows in three distinct cycles, and not all the follicles will be active at once. This is why more than one treatment, spaced to allow for different active follicles, is necessary to achieve good results.

Pigment: The Secret to Effective Removal

But wait—how does the laser only target the follicles? The great thing about laser hair removal, as opposed to some other laser treatments, is that it’s typically safe for all skin types, simply because it does not target the skin—it targets the hair. The laser finds the pigment in the hair, then destroys that hair at the root. For this reason, laser hair removal is most effective on patients with lighter skin and darker hair, because the contrast makes it easier for the laser to target the pigment.

The Treatments

Each treatment is customized to the patient’s skin color, ethnicity, and the thickness of the hair. The length of a treatment depends entirely on the size of the area to be treated, and can last anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour. The treatment is considered uncomfortable, but tolerable (it is often described as similar to a series of snaps from a rubber band). Each patient’s needs are different, but typically 3-6 treatments are necessary for good results, spaced several weeks apart.

After Each Treatment

After each session, there is no downtime. The only common side effect from treatments is some redness that should only last a few hours. However, patients need to be careful about sun protection and sun exposure, as the skin will be vulnerable to hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) from the laser. Tanning is an absolute no during the hair removal process, and patients should use strong sunscreens during this time to protect the skin.

Limitations of Laser Hair Removal

Because of the way the laser latches onto pigment in the hair, there are a few limitations to the hair removal process. People with very light hair (white, gray, or red) are not good candidates for the procedure, because the laser cannot target the pigment in the hair.

Laser hair removal is considered permanent, but a few touch-up procedures may be necessary along the way to achieve lasting results. Most patients are extremely happy with their results, however, and find that just a few treatments are adequate to their needs.

Choosing the Right Provider

One of the main keys to success in laser hair removal is choosing an experienced, board certified physician to perform your treatment. By choosing an expert, you’ll minimize your chances for complications and improve your results.

At Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, we’re committed to helping each patient reach their individual goals. Dr. Haitham Masri is board certified, skilled, and experienced, with over 25 years of experience. If you would like to discuss the possibility for laser hair removal treatments at our clinics in Birmingham, or Dearborn, Michigan, call 866-487-3223 today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

The Beautiful Results of Laser Hair RemovalLasers have become an effective tool in many different modern contexts, from manufacturing to military needs to medical uses. Lasers are very common in aesthetic medicine today, and for good reason—they can be used for everything from liposuction to skin resurfacing and tattoo removal. One of the most common uses for lasers in cosmetic procedures these days is laser hair removal, a popular treatment that uses the power of a specialized laser to destroy hair roots and prevent future growth indefinitely. This is a great option for people who are sick of hair removal upkeep, including shaving, waxing, and depilatories. However, many people wonder if the process is worth it. Does laser removal hurt, and how much recovery time is involve?

How Laser Hair Removal Works

Laser hair removal works by targeting the pigment in the hair follicle and destroying it at the root. This inhibits hair growth in the future. Many follicles can be treated each second, making the treatments both efficient and effective. Because the light targets pigment in the hair, it is important for people undergoing the treatments to avoid tanning, as the skin will absorb the light before the hair. Waxing and plucking should be avoided for 6 weeks before each treatment, as the hair’s root must be present for the treatment to work.

Does it Hurt?

Especially for people interested in getting larger areas treated, concerns about the comfort of the procedure are quite common. Laser treatments are somewhat uncomfortable, but they can mostly be performed without any kind of anesthetic. A cool gel is applied to the skin right before treatment to help the skin absorb the light. The amount of discomfort involved depends on the individual’s pain tolerance, but at most is usually described as similar to a series of snaps from a rubber band. Of course, the amount of pain also depends on the size of the area being treated—the laser works fast, but large areas can take up to an hour to treat.

Is There Any Downtime?

Following each treatment, the skin will feel sensitive and sunburned for a few days, but there are no restrictions on activities following the procedure. Discomfort is easily controlled, and side effect should subside quickly. The laser targets the hair, not the skin, so there is very little trauma to the area surrounding the follicles. The treated area should be protected from the sunlight before and after treatment, however, in order to protect against problems like hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin).

A Process, Not Just a Procedure

Because of the way body hair grows, it is impossible to treat all the hair follicles at once, getting the process over and done with. Hair grows in phases, and at least some of the follicles will be dormant at all times. While follicles remain dormant, there is no way to target them, and multiple treatments are necessary so that all the follicles can be treated. In general, people need about 3-7 treatments, each spaced 4-6 weeks apart, for optimal results.

The Beautiful Results

While laser treatment might seem like a laborious process for simply getting rid of hair, think of the benefits: never having to shave or wax, and never being worried about missing a spot or wondering if your hair is too long to be seen in public. While touchups may be needed from time to time over the years for maintanence, the overall results of the procedure should be relatively permanent, making laser hair removal well worth the time and expense involved for most people who are interested in pursuing the process.

Learn More

The best source for learning more about a procedure and for exploring whether or not laser hair removal is a good option for you is a qualified plastic surgeon. Consultations with prospective surgeons allow you to learn more about the procedure, ask any questions you may have, and get to know the surgeon.

If you would like to speak with a board certified plastic surgeon about your goals for laser hair removal, we offer free consultations at Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery. Our highly qualified surgeons have over 75 years of experience between them, and are highly skilled in a wide range of effective procedures. Call (866-487-3223) today to schedule your complimentary consultation in Dearborn, or Birmingham, MI.

What You Need to Know About Laser Hair Removal and Dark Skin For most people, the idea of never having to shave again is a beautiful fantasy. Today, laser hair removal treatments are extremely effective, and are able to make that dream a reality for people who are willing to invest the time and money. Lasers are very powerful tools, however, and can be used for a number of different purposes, including the destruction of unwanted pigment in the skin. Because of this, laser skin treatments can have negative side effects for people with darker skin pigment. This does not mean, however, that people with dark skin cannot undergo any type of laser treatment. So what do you need to know about laser hair removal and dark skin?

Targeting the Hair Not the Skin

One of the main differences between laser hair removal treatments and other types of laser treatments is the focus on the hair rather than the skin. Most other treatments are designed to penetrate deep layers of skin to either encourage cell turnover and collagen production or to destroy unwanted pigment. Laser hair removal is gentler and is designed to cause damage to the hair follicles, not the skin. Low energy lasers such as a diode laser are used for this purpose, which sends a pulse that is absorbed by the hair and the follicle rather than the skin.

Customized Treatment for Different Skin Types

Aside from the fact that hair removal lasers target the hair and not the skin, laser hair removal is suitable for nearly all skin types because a skilled provider will tailor the procedure to the patient’s skin type, color, and thickness. It is important for patients with dark skin to be especially careful when choosing a doctor to perform the treatment.

The Process

Laser hair removal involves generally less discomfort and recovery than some other laser treatments, and each session is minimally invasive. The procedure itself feels like a series of snaps from a rubber band, and the area may be slightly red following treatment. The treated area must be protected from the sun between sessions to avoid complications.

Hair grows in cycles, so only some hair follicles are active at any given time. This is why multiple sessions are needed for total eradication of hair growth. The number of treatments needed can vary, but typically range from 3 to 6 treatments spaced a few weeks apart. These numbers will depend on the hair cycle, the hair being treated, and the patient’s skin type.

Treatment Areas

Treatments are gentle enough to be performed on nearly any area of the body. Currently, the only area that cannot be treated with the hair removal lasers is the eyebrow area. Larger areas will take more time per treatment and cost more, but the procedure is extremely flexible.

Getting the Results You Want

If you would like to move forward with permanent hair removal, then you will need to seek help from an experienced plastic surgeon who knows how to work with all skin types. Choosing the right surgeon will help you get the results you want and avoid preventable complications. During your consultations, be sure to bring up any concerns and specific questions, and never choose a doctor you don’t feel comfortable with or whom you think does not show adequate knowledge and expertise.

If you are looking for a board certified expert in the Dearborn or Birmingham, MI, areas, come to Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery and meet with our team of acclaimed surgeons. Our staff has over 75 years of combined experience and offers patients a range of effective treatments, including laser hair removal. To schedule your complimentary consultation, call 866-487-3223 today.

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