Laser Hair Removal

Why use laser hair treatment

Unwanted facial and body hair is a problem for many people. It may be due to genetic disposition, hormonal changes, or drug therapy. Laser-assisted hair removal offers safe, non-invasive removal of unwanted hair with minimal discomfort, providing a long-term alternative to waxing, shaving, depilatory creams and electrolysis. Hair can be removed from almost any site on the body.

While no technology promises complete hair removal, laser hair treatment can offer long-term hair reduction. How long the treatment lasts varies with each person. The majority of patients achieve a 60-70% reduction in unwanted hair. There is a minority of patients, however, who do not respond as well. Furthermore, there is an extremely small percentage of patients (3-5%) who, for some unknown reason, are only minimally responsive to hair removal lasers.

laser-hair-removalHow laser hair treatment works

We use a 1064 Nd:YAG Laser. The laser targets the pigment in the hair follicle while leaving the surrounding skin structures unharmed. The process works best in those who have dark -coloured hair and fairly light skin pigmentation. However it is also effective in darker skinned people. [The laser is US FDA approved for hair removal in dark skinned patients].

The laser targets hairs in their active growth stage (anagen). At any one time, only a certain percentage of hair follicles are in their growth phase, depending on the area of the body. For this reason a number of treatments are required (usually six to eight). Appointments are scheduled approximately six to eight weeks apart.

The sensation of laser treatment is best described as like that of a repeated flicking of a rubber band and/or a burning sensation.

Side effects are rare but may include:

  • Some redness and swelling of the treated area is to be expected for a short period of time. This usually subsides within 12 hours.
  • Hyperpigmentation (darkening of the treated area) — rare. If this does occur, it is usually temporary.
  • Hypopigmentation (lightening of the treated area) — rare. If this occurs, it is usually temporary and is more likely in people with olive or darker skin, or those who have excessive sun exposure within three months of treatment.
  • Blistering/crusting — rare.
  • Scarring — very rare.

By following the recommended ‘before’ and ‘after’ treatment instructions, you should achieve a good result.

Before laser hair removal treatment

  • Avoid excessive sun exposure and tanning beds for two weeks before treatment and also between treatments (particularly 48 hours after each treatment). Inform the Laser Nurse if sunburn has occurred at any time during the course.
  • Waxing, tweezing or electrolysis is to be avoided for one month prior to each treatment or two weeks prior to facial hair treatments.
  • Shave the area to be treated one to three days prior to treatment.
  • If possible do not wear make-up to your appointment. Please inform the Laser Nurse if you are wearing make-up so it can be removed prior to treatment.
  • Depending on your skin type a patch test may be required. Sometimes this needs to be performed a few days/weeks prior to commencing treatment.
  • No anaesthetic is required. For sensitive areas a local anaesthetic cream may be applied and the area occluded with plastic film one hour prior to treatment. This is not included in the cost of treatment. Anaesthetic cream can be purchased over the counter from your pharmacist for around $80 for a 30g tube or $20 for a 5g tube.
  • If you feel your pain threshold is low you can take two Panadol (with or without codeine) 45 minutes to one hour prior to treatment.
  • Avoid the use of fake tan preparations for two weeks prior to appointments.

After laser hair removal treatment

  • Avoid excessive sun for six weeks after a course of treatment. Use a broad spectrum 50+ sunscreen whenever the treated areas are likely to be exposed to the sun. After facial treatments we recommend wearing a hat in addition to sunscreen when sun exposure is unavoidable.
  • There may be some redness and swelling to the treated area. Vaseline or aloe vera gel/after-sun lotion can be applied to the area after treatment for a soothing effect. Applying an ice pack will also soothe the area.
  • If crusting occurs, an antibiotic ointment or Vaseline should be applied twice daily to keep the area moist. The crust should be allowed to fall off naturally. DO NOT PICK.
  • If there is any indication of infection, please contact our practice.
  • If the area blisters please contact our practice. An antibiotic ointment should be applied twice daily to prevent infection. Treat the area with extreme care.
  • You can bathe as usual after treatment. The treated area should not be rubbed with a face cloth or towel, it should be gently patted dry. Moisturiser may be applied frequently if your skin feels dry or is crusting.
  • Do not shave/wax the area for a few days after treatment as your skin may be sensitive. Do not shave/wax at all if crusting is present.
  • Make-up can be applied after your treatment if desired. However extreme caution should be used when applying or removing make-up as treated areas are very delicate. Make-up applied/removed roughly can expose the treated area, increasing the chance of infection and scarring.
  • Avoid swimming, sports and strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours after treatment.
  • After treatment some hairs may fall out. You may notice that the hair appears to grow one to two weeks after treatment. This is in fact the body pushing out the hair once the follicle has been damaged by the laser’s light. It may take up to two weeks for the treated hairs to fall out.

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