Considering Laser Hair Removal? Here’s What You Need to Know
Now that beach season is here, hair removal is probably top of mind — and by that, what we really mean is you’re already tired of shaving for the season. Usually around this time people start to consider alternative means of removing unwanted hair like waxing, and of course, the method of laser hair removal.
Laser hair removal is just what it sounds like — it’s a professional hair removal method that uses lasers to destroy hair follicles with heat — but there are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the topic of laser hair removal. Such as, how long does it last or when’s the best time of year to do it? If you’ve ever found yourself contemplating laser hair removal but were unsure whether or not it was right for you, we spoke to Christian Karavolas, laser hair removal expert and founder of New York City-based salon, Romeo and Juliette Laser Hair Removal, to answer all of your most pressing laser hair removal questions, ahead.
How does the process of laser hair removal work?
“Laser Hair Removal is a monochromatic beam of light that bypasses the epidermis (the top layer of your skin) and disables the reproductive cycle of the hair within the follicle,” explains Karavolas. This is what makes laser so effective at removing hair long term.
Does it work on all skin tones?
“Laser works on most skin tones, as long as the right laser is used.” There are different types of lasers and different settings that can be used depending on how light or dark your skin is.
What about on all hair types?
“Laser does not work well on hair that has very little or no pigment, such as white, light red or light blonde hair,” says Karavolas. This is because the laser operates by picking up the pigment of hair, making brown or black hair best.
Who is the best candidate for laser hair removal?
“The best candidate for laser hair removal is a person who has pigment in their hair,” says Karavolas. “In our facility, we are not concerned with skin complexion, as we have 13 lasers for all skin tones and complexions.”
Are there any areas of the body that are harder than others to get lasered?
“We can treat all areas,” says Karavolas. “However, one has to be quite methodical when treating males and bikini areas.”
We’ve heard that the summertime is less than ideal. When is the best time to get laser hair removal?
“We can treat clients year-round, even when tanned,” Karavolas says. “However, if they are sun baked, we suggest that they wait approximately two weeks prior to getting treated.” Because lasers target pigment, freshly sun-tanned skin is not recommended. Additionally, you cannot get laser on sun-burned skin.
What are the potential side effects of laser hair removal?
While it’s common to experience slight irritation after a laser treatment, more severe reactions are rare. Per the FDA, side effects of laser hair removal can include blistering, discoloration after treatment, swelling, redness, and scarring. Sunlight should be avoided during healing after the procedure. “Side effects can be some scabbing or a first-degree burn that resolves within a short period of time.” By going to a professional, experienced salon that specializes in laser hair removal, you lower these chances.
About how many sessions does it take to eliminate all hair growth?
“Usually six to eight sessions spaced six weeks apart will give permanent hair reduction.” It’s important to note that the number of sessions required to see results depends on the individual. Your technician will be able to tell you about how many sessions you should expect.
Can you shave, wax or tweeze between sessions?
It may come as a shock, but unlike waxing, you can remove hair between sessions but only by shaving. “You can shave in between sessions but no waxing or tweezing,” says Karavolas. Tweezing and waxing is prohibited because it removes the hair follicle, which needs to be present in order for the laser to work.
About how long does laser hair removal last?
“Laser hair removal, if properly administered, can offer permanent hair reduction that can last a lifetime,” says Karavolas. However, there are some cases were touch-ups may be necessary later on due to regrowth.