Laser Hair Removal FAQ Redlands

How does laser hair removal work?

Laser hair removal is non-invasive light therapy designed to safely eliminate unwanted hair from all parts of the body. The laser generates a pulse of intense, concentrated light directed through a small, cooled hand piece which is gently applied to the treatment site. Each pulse of the laser lasts only a fraction of a second and treats an area just under a square centimeter. The laser energy passes through the skin to the hair follicle where it is absorbed by pigment in the hair and hair follicle. The absorbed light energy is converted to heat which damages or destroys the hair root but not the surrounding skin structures.

What areas can be treated?

Theoretically, any hair follicle can be destroyed using laser energy, no matter where it is located. It is easiest to describe where we will not treat unwanted hair. For safety reasons, we do not attempt to destroy hairs that are very near the eyes (e.g. eye lashes), within tattoos, or within some moles. We do treat hair between the eyebrows (monobrow). Laser energy is not suitable for fine shaping of the eyebrows. We will treat unwanted hair at all other sites.

What are the most common areas treated?

Women – Bikini line, facial hair, underarms, legs

Men – Back, shoulders, chest, face/neck

Which patients will benefit from laser hair removal?

Any patient with unwanted pigmented hair (not blonde, gray, or white) may benefit. In particular, Patients who struggle with in-grown hairs, razor burn, abnormal hair growth (hirsuitism/hypertrichosis), time-consuming daily hair maintenance regimens, or for women, hair on the face, are usually very satisfied.

How does laser hair removal compare to other hair removal methods?

Shaving, waxing, plucking, threading, and depilatories all leave the hair follicle intact allowing hair re-growth in days to weeks. Only laser hair removal and electrolysis treat the hair follicle causing long-term hair reduction. Compared to electrolysis, LHR is extremely quick allowing treatment of even very large areas in a single visit.

Laser hair removal vs. electrolysis?

Electrolysis is performed by attempting to probe each hair follicle individually down to the root and zapping the root with an electrical charge. The hair is then removed with tweezers. Needless to say this is a slow, tedious, and painful process which is not feasible for large areas such as the back or the legs. In contrast, laser hair removal can treat dozens of hair follicles with each pulse at up to 2 pulses per second! Larger areas are more feasibly treated with laser but it does have limitations. Laser cannot treat grey, blonde or vellous hair (peach fuzz). That is why I routinely refer certain patients who are not good candidates for LHR to an electrologist.

What lasers/light sources are used at Senza?

We have two hair removal laser systems: the Cutera Coolglide XEO Nd:YAG, the Lumenis LightSheer Diode and the Cutera ProWave 770. These three systems give us ultimate safety and effectiveness for all skin types as well as some challenging hair types.

Is laser hair removal FDA approved?

Laser hair removal with our laser systems is FDA approved.

What kind of results can I expect? Is it permanent?

Laser hair removal is not quite perfect. Yes, you probably will still have some hair to deal with after you have had a series of treatments but the amount of hair will be much less than you started with and the growth will be much lighter and finer than before. Also you will have more time in between shaving/waxing etc. We have many patients who used to shave their bikini lines daily but now shave only once every few months!! Some areas are more stubborn than others and will take more treatments. Occasional touch-ups will be necessary in many cases to maintain results.

How many treatments does it take?

Most patients will require 5 to 7 treatments in any given area. Keep in mind that each patient is different and some patient to patient variation in response does exist. In addition, certain areas like the bikini line and underarms treat better than others like the notoriously stubborn upper lip. As a general rule, the thicker the hair, the easier it is to treat. What is important for Patients to understand is that they will need to have ongoing treatments INDEFINITELY. The interval is variable but most patients visit us 1-2 times a year for maintenance.

Why does it take so many treatments?

All lasers work by killing hairs that are actively growing at the time of treatment. However, many dormant hairs are also present at any given time which do not have as much pigment deep in the follicle; these hairs will not be affected by the laser during that treatment. Because all hairs go through this cycle of active growth, dormancy and regression, multiple sessions are necessary to catch them all in their active growth phase. Wouldn’t it be nice if ALL your hairs were growing at the same time and we could kill them in one treatment?! SORRY, that is not the case! In fact, a treatment may only kill 10-20% of the hairs present at the time of treatment. By the time of your next treatment, a new group of hairs will be in their active growth phase and ready to be treated.

How long between treatments?

Treatments should be spaced at least 6 to 8 weeks apart to allow sufficient new active hair growth for significant treatment.

Does hair color and thickness make a difference?

Yes. Thicker and darker hair is a better target for the laser than light blond hair which may not have enough pigment to be heated by the laser at all. Very fine dark hair may be noticeable and annoying to you, but the laser may not be able to heat it enough to provide a very effective treatment.

What are the risks?

High performance laser systems such as those we use have made laser hair removal much safer than in the past. Nevertheless there is a risk of complications whenever laser treatment is performed. These include but are not limited to: blistering, prolonged irritation, hyperpigmentation (spots of darkened skin), hypopigmentation (spots of lightened skin), and burns. Again, these complications are rare and even if they do occur, they typically resolve in a few days to several months. It is extremely rare to have a permanent skin change after laser treatment performed by an experienced and well trained operator.

I have dark skin; am I still a candidate for laser hair removal?

Yes. We are excited to be able to offer laser hair removal to just about all skin types. Early laser systems had significantly increased complication rates in darker skin types, but some late model systems using longer wavelengths, especially the Cutera Coolglide that we use, have achieved a major breakthrough in safety for dark, tanned, or sensitive skin types.

Can I have laser treatment if I am pregnant?

Technically it is safe to treat a pregnant patient. At Senza we do not treat pregnant patients.

What if I love tanning beds/the beach/the river?

Tanning and lasers do not mix. Your risk of complication is increased substantially if you are tanned or are exposed to sun/tanning booth around treatment time. With our Cutera Coolglide laser we sometimes treat tanned skin for patients who accept the additional risk but we recommend no exposure for 2 weeks before and after treatment.

Does it hurt?

Yes. Some patients have a better pain tolerance than others, but to be honest, you will look forward to the results not the treatments. We have anesthetic (numbing) cream for certain sensitive areas which can be applied before your treatment and does a great job of making the treatment more comfortable. The good news is that the treatments are typically fast. A bikini line takes about 10 minutes, underarms about 5 minutes and a chin or lip about 1 minute.

How much down-time can I expect?

One of the great things about laser hair removal is that it does not interrupt your normal lifestyle. Patients routinely go back to work or their normal activity right after treatment.

Do I need to let the hair grow out in the treatment area?

Another great thing about laser hair removal is that you do not need to grow out your hair before treatment. The hair must be shaved as closely as possible to allow the safest and most effective treatment possible. It should be noted that waxing or plucking removes the laser target preventing destruction of the follicle, therefore waxing or plucking should be discontinued two weeks prior to LHR. Shave as much as you want, however.

What will the treated area look like after the treatment?

The most common post-treatment issue is a little stinging and redness which generally fades in 2-4 hours. You may get some discoloration or mottled skin for a few days but this will resolve on its own. Some patients with very thick/coarse hair growth will get crusting and some blistering which will again resolve in a few days.

Why does it look like hair is still growing after the treatment?

The laser does not magically extract the hairs as they are being treated. After treatment, the hairs will slowly be expelled from the skin allowing you to notice gradual lessening of the density of hair growth in the treated area. Do not pluck or pull on the hairs to help them along, they will do just fine on their own. The nice thing is that you will not need to shave as often as usual once the treatments begin.

What if I have a tattoo in the treatment area?

We will have to avoid the tattoo even if there is unwanted hair growing in the pigmented area. Even some large moles may need to be avoided.

Can I wax or pluck in between treatments?

No. Waxing or plucking will remove the hair from the follicle. The hair contains the pigment which the laser targets for the treatment. So, plucking/waxing hair = no target = follicle not treated.

Am I a candidate for laser hair removal?

The best way to determine how good a candidate you are is to schedule a consultation with us. We will assess your individual needs and develop an appropriate treatment plan.