Laser hair removal is the use of laser energy to produce long-term hair reduction. This is accomplished by producing heat in the hair, which is transferred to the hair follicle, which in-turn produces inflammation, and this inflammation sends a signal to the hair follicle to go into the resting (telogen) phase.
Normally, a series of three to five treatments are administered at four to eight week intervals depending upon the location of the hair. Following the initial series of treatments, subsequent treatments are administered, usually at longer and longer intervals. Some number of maintenance of treatments may be needed to keep all the hair away in a given area. After a single treatment, the hair in a given area is usually reduced in amount and thickness for a very long period of time. However, it may not be completely gone. To keep an area completely devoid of hair, maintenance treatments are always required. These maintenance treatments may eventually be required at only yearly intervals or even longer. This depends on the area being treated as well as the individual. As with any other traits in an individual, the frequency of maintenance treatments varies considerably from person to person.
Because the laser energy is absorbed in the hair follicle producing heat, there is some sensation when performing laser hair removal. Certain areas of the body hurt more than others during laser hair removal. In addition, patients with very thick, dark hair may experience more discomfort than those with thin hair. This is because the thicker, darker hair will absorb more of the laser light during any given treatment. Generally, the hair becomes thinner and less dense after each subsequent treatment. Therefore, the most discomfort is usually experienced during the first treatment. However, at our facility, we use a simultaneous chiller that makes the skin cold and dramatically reduces the sensation of pain.
The discomfort associated with laser hair removal varies considerably between individuals and is a function of the patient’s skin type, the laser is used, the thickness and density of the hair, the area of the body where the hair is being treated, and one’s ability to tolerate or feel pain. However, in a small number of patients, it does limit one’s ability to receive laser hair removal treatments