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Laser Hair Reduction- Treatment Procedure, Benefits & Side-Effects

Laser hair reduction is the process of hair reduction through exposure to pulses of laser light that destroy the hair follicle. You can get the best hair reduction treatment at Pristyn Care through advanced laser treatment equipped with ice-cool technology to ensure you get the smoothest and clearest skin.

Laser hair reduction is the process of hair reduction through exposure to pulses ... Read More

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What Is Laser Hair Reduction?

Laser hair reduction is a procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light to eliminate unwanted hair. During laser hair reduction, a laser device emits light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. The light energy is transformed into heat, which destroys the tube-shaped sacs within the skin (hair follicles) that produce hairs. This damage inhibits future hair growth.

Although laser hair reduction effectively delays hair growth for long periods, it usually does not result in permanent hair removal. Also multiple laser hair removal treatments are required for initial hair removal, and maintenance treatments might also be required. Laser hair reduction is most suitable for people with light skin and dark hair, but it can be successfully and effectively used on all skin types. People may get hair reduction treatment on any part of their body, but the most common areas are:

  • Face
  • Underarms
  • Bikini area, or other areas that grow pubic hair
  • Back
  • Legs

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Who Can Have Laser Hair Reduction?

Anyone with excessive hair growth can have laser hair reduction. At times, laser hair reduction treats excess hair growth caused by:

  • Hirsutism – when women have excessive hair growth in areas where men usually have hair.
  • Hypertrichosis – when women or men have excessive hair growth anywhere on their bodies.

These medical conditions might be the result of:

  • Certain medications, like birth control pills and anabolic steroids
  • Hormone imbalances, especially increased testosterone or androgen levels.
  • Inherited diseases and conditions passed from parents to children through genes.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Tumors that produce hormones.

How To Prepare For Laser Hair Reduction?

If you are interested in laser hair reduction, select a doctor who is board certified in dermatology and has experience with laser body hair reduction. Before laser hair reduction, consult your doctor to decide if this is an appropriate treatment option. Your doctor will likely do the following:

  • Review your medical history, history of skin disorders or scarring, and past hair removal procedures
  • Discuss risks, advantages, and expectations, including what laser hair reduction can and can’t do. 
  • Take photos that can be used for before-and-after assessments. 

During consultation, discuss the treatment plan and related costs of laser hair reduction. Laser hair reduction is usually an out-of-pocket expense. Your doctor will also provide certain instructions to prepare for laser hair reduction. These might include:

  • Staying out of the sun. Follow the doctor’s suggestion for avoiding sun exposure before and after treatment. Therefore, whenever you go out, apply a broad-spectrum SPF30 sunscreen.
  • Lightening your skin. Avoid any skin lotions that darken the skin. Your doctor may also prescribe a skin-bleaching lotion if you have a dark skin or tan.
  • Avoiding other hair removal methods. Plucking, waxing, and electrolysis can damage the hair follicle and should be avoided at least four to five weeks before treatment.
  • Avoiding blood-thinning medications. Ask your doctor what medications to avoid before the process.

What Happens During Laser Hair Reduction Procedure?

Depending on the laser or light source used in the procedure, you must wear appropriate eye protection. Your doctor might apply a topical anesthetic to your skin to reduce discomfort during treatment. 

During the procedure, your doctor will press a hand-held laser device on your skin. Depending on the type of laser used, a cooling device on the tip of the laser instrument or a cool gel might be used to protect the skin and reduce the risk of side effects.

When the doctor triggers the laser, the laser beam will pass through the skin to the hair follicles. The extreme heat from the laser beam destroys the hair follicles, which hinders hair growth. Some patients experience a sensation that is similar to a sunburn-like sting or a rubber band snapping. Treating a small area, like the upper lip, might take only a few minutes. However, treating a larger area, like the back, might take more than an hour.

Laser hair reduction usually needs two to six treatments. The interval between treatments will differ depending on the area where the treatment is performed. In areas where hair grows quickly, like the upper lip, armpit, etc., the treatment might be repeated in four to six weeks. However, in areas of slow hair growth, like the back, the treatment might be repeated every 12 to 16 weeks.

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What To Expect After Laser Hair Reduction?

The recovery time after laser hair reduction procedure is minimal. However, the affected area may be red with rashes for a few hours to a few days. Therefore, placing an ice pack to the skin may help. Just as wearing sunscreen before the procedure is essential, so is continuing to wear it afterward. This will help prevent further irritation and discomfort. 

You can expect to see a reduction in hairs in the treated area instantly after the procedure. However, two to eight weeks after laser hair reduction, you may notice an increase in hair growth in the treated area. This is because not all hair follicles react equally to the laser treatment. 

Most patients see a 10 to 20 percent reduction in hair after the first treatment. It usually takes between six and eight sessions to achieve 90-95% hair reduction. The consultation with your doctor before the procedure will give you a better idea of how many treatment sessions you may require. 


Post-operative Care To Follow After Laser Hair Reduction

Your doctor will give you certain instructions to follow for taking care of your skin after laser hair reduction. Some of the tips to follow after the procedure include the following:

  • Cleanse the treated area gently. The treated area should be washed gently with mild soap. The skin should be patted dry & not rubbed during the first 48 hours after the treatment.
  • Apply cool compresses. Wet a clean, soft cloth with cool water and place it on the treated area for several minutes at a time. You can also use an ice pack covered in a paper towel. This helps to relieve temporary swelling and irritation after the laser hair reduction treatment.
  • Apply prescription creams as directed. Your doctor may prescribe a steroid cream to help reduce pain and discomfort following the treatment. You may also take Tylenol or anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief.
  • Protect your skin from the sun. Since the skin will be extremely sensitive after laser hair reduction, your doctor will recommend avoiding getting direct sun exposure. Therefore, you should avoid the sun for 1 month before the procedure and 1 month afterward. Also, apply sunscreen to the area of treatment every day.
  • Avoid makeup, moisturizer, and deodorant for the first 24 hours. Always keep the treated area clean & dry. Also, skip your makeup, moisturizer, and deodorant until the irritation has subsided after the treatment.
  • Do not pick and scratch the area. Avoid picking or scratching the treated skin. Also, do not use any other hair reduction methods or products on the treated area during the course of your treatments, as it will prevent you from achieving the best results.

Side Effects Of Laser Hair Reduction

Side effects of laser hair reduction vary with hair color, skin type, treatment plan, and commitment to pre-treatment and post-treatment care. However, the most common side effects of laser hair reduction include:

  • Skin irritation. Temporary discomfort, redness, and inflammation are possible after laser hair reduction. However, these signs and symptoms generally disappear within several hours.
  • Pigment changes. Laser hair reduction might darken or lighten the treated area. These changes can be temporary or permanent. Skin lightening mainly affects those who don’t avoid sun exposure before or after treatment and those with darker skin.

Rarely laser hair reduction can cause blistering, crusting, scarring, or other transformations in skin texture. Other side effects include graying of treated hair or excessive hair growth around treated areas, mainly on darker skin. Laser hair reduction is not advised for eyelids, eyebrows, or surrounding areas, due to the possibility of severe eye injury.

Benefits of Laser Hair Reduction

Laser hair reduction can remove unwanted body hair in many areas. Some other advantages that make laser hair reduction stand out include the following:

  • Removal of ingrown hair
  • Never having to wax or shave again by preventing hair growth
  • Safety and accuracy of procedure by only targeting the treatment area
  • High success rate, with most patients having 90-95% hair reduction after a few sessions
  • Less painful than other hair reduction treatments
  • Smoother skin after the procedure
  • Minor irritation and discomfort

FAQs Around Laser Hair Reduction

Who shouldn't have laser hair reduction?

. You should avoid the procedure if you:

  • Are pregnant.
  • Are taking certain medications, like medications prescribed in acne treatments.
  • Have genital herpes or are prone to cold sores.
  • Have keloid scars.
  • Have or have had skin cancer.

Consult your healthcare provider before having laser hair reduction

Will I need multiple treatments for laser hair reduction?

You will likely require around six to eight sessions of laser hair reduction treatments. The sessions are usually about six to eight weeks apart. This timing helps capture more hairs in various growth phases.

What is the most suitable time to get laser hair reduction?

It is most suitable to begin laser hair reduction at the end of summer, fall, or winter.

Can I shave after laser hair reduction?

Yes, you can shave after laser hair reduction, but not instantly after the treatment. It is advised to wait several days before shaving the treated area until it is no longer sensitive to the touch.

Is laser hair reduction painful?

In most cases, laser hair reduction causes minimal pain, especially when compared to other treatments like waxing. However, the area being treated and your personal pain tolerance will dictate the pain level associated with laser hair reduction.

Is laser hair reduction safe?

Laser hair reduction is usually safe and effective for most people. However, it is best to choose an experienced healthcare provider in a specialty like dermatology for the procedure. Laser hair reduction is a very safe and effective procedure if done under the supervision of an experienced dermatologist.

When to seek medical attention after laser hair reduction?

You should call your doctor if you see the following:

  • increased swelling
  • burns or blisters
  • pain that does not respond to the prescribed antiseptic cream
  • symptoms of pigmentation changes or scarring
  • symptoms of infection, like pus and red or discolored streaks