We all love silky, smooth and hairless skin. If you’re looking for a more permanent solution to getting rid of unwanted body hair, you may want to consider laser hair removal. This modern technique of hair removal claims to significantly and permanently reduce unwanted hair, making it a safe and effective alternative to shaving and waxing. That being said, laser hair removal can come with (though minimal) its own risks and side effects therefore if it’s your first time undergoing laser hair removal treatment, it’s important to understand the potential side effects, benefits, dos and don’ts before making your first visit.
What is laser hair removal?
“Laser hair removal uses light energy at specific wavelengths to hit pigmented hair follicles and causes termination of those cells giving more permanent results in the specific area treated. It can be done on most parts of the body and typically requires multiple sessions over a period of time in order to result in significant hair reduction,” says Dr Sushma Yadav, dermatologist, cosmetologist, hair transplant surgeon and founder of the Bengaluru-based Skinology Centre. (Also read: The ultimate skincare guide to shaving women’s facial hair )
“Laser hair removal is a popular cosmetic procedure that utilizes laser technology to target and destroy the hair follicles, inhibiting future hair growth. The procedure involves a handheld laser device that emits concentrated light pulses onto the targeted area. The melanin in the hair follicles absorbs the light energy, which then converts into heat, ultimately disrupting the follicles’ ability to produce new hair,” says Dr Vijay Singhal, Sr Consultant Dermatology at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute Delhi.
Dr Vijay added, “Before undergoing laser hair removal, it’s very important to consult with a qualified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon to assess your skin type, hair colour, and medical history. This evaluation will determine if you are an ideal candidate for the treatment.”
Dr Vijay further shared with HT Lifestyle some important dos and don’ts of laser hair removal.
– Follow the pre-treatment instructions given such as shaving the treatment area before the session.
– Wear protective eyewear during the procedure to shield your eyes from potential laser exposure.
– Inform your doctor about any changes in medications or medical conditions before each session.
– Follow the post-treatment care, such as avoiding sun exposure, using sunscreen, and moisturizing the treated area.
– Ideally, one should avoid plucking or waxing the treatment area for at least six weeks prior to the procedure, as the laser targets the hair roots.
– Refrain from using tanning beds or excessive sun exposure, as it may increase the risk of complications.
– Do not undergo laser hair removal if you have an active infection, open wounds, or tattoos in the treatment area.
Pros of laser hair removal
Here are some advantages highlighted by Dr Sushma:
1. It’s a more long-term solution for unwanted hair growth. It reduces the number of unwanted hairs in the targeted area and when the hair does grow back, there’s less of it and it’s finer and lighter.
2. Laser hair removal typically requires 6-8 sessions and then occasional maintenance in the future.
3. It also helps to reduce ingrown hair and inflamed bumps on the skin, helps with issues like keratosis pilaris, folliculitis and reduces pigmentation to an extent.
4. Though the initial cost might seem high it’s definitely a more economical investment for yourself if you see it in the long run.
Dr Vijay highlighted the following advantages:
1. Long-lasting results: Laser hair removal provides longer-lasting hair reduction compared to traditional hair removal methods like shaving or waxing.
2. Precision: The laser targets specific areas, leaving the surrounding skin unharmed.
3. Time-saving: As the treatment progresses, patients experience significantly reduced hair growth, saving time on daily hair removal routines.
Cons of laser hair removal
Dr Sushma shared the following disadvantages:
1. Downtime immediately posts laser-like redness, and mild swelling which usually goes down in a few hours.
2. It can cause acne breakouts or exaggerate any underlying skin issues like infections so always inform your dermatologist when you go for consultation.
3. Laser hair removal does not work on white or very blonde hair so keep that in mind when opting for this treatment.
4. People with any underlying hormonal imbalance may also have scanty results or might require extra sessions to tackle the progressive growth.
5. People with darker skin tones are more at risk for things like burns, infections and permanent damage from laser hair removal if not done properly.
6. Lastly, paradoxical hair growth which means areas where you don’t have growth or have very fine growth should be avoided as it can cause more hair growth in those areas.
Cons of laser hair removal highlighted by Dr Vijay:
1. Multiple sessions may be required: Since hair grows in cycles, multiple sessions are typically needed to target all the active hair follicles effectively.
2. Mild discomfort: Although the procedure is generally well-tolerated, some individuals may experience minimal discomfort, often described as a mild stinging sensation or rubber band snap feeling.
3. Cost: Laser hair removal can be expensive, especially when considering multiple sessions, although it may be a cost-effective option in the long run.
“If is if you are someone looking to take care of unwanted, thick, coloured hair then this is the way to go about it. However, before heading for laser hair removal, one should discuss their concerns and medical history with a qualified dermatologist to make the process successful, keeping any complications at bay,” experts concluded.
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com