Addressing Basic Client Questions on Laser Hair Removal


In the summer, both men and women investigate strategies on how to look their best in shorts, tank tops and bikinis, particularly on how to remove unwanted hair. More and more people are turning to laser treatments for permanent hair removal. They are all veterans of shaving, waxing, tweezing, and depilatories, none of which prevent regrowth and some of which are painful. Many people have also tried electrolysis, which promises permanent hair removal but is expensive and time consuming. However, laser treatments today provide a safe, painless and effective solution for removing unwanted hair on the face, arms, legs, underarms, bikini line and more. Providing effective laser hair removal involves understanding the basics of the practice and communicating those answers to the client. Below are the basic client questions about laser hair removal.

How does laser hair removal work?

A low-energy laser directs light to the target area. The heat from the laser is absorbed by the melanin (pigment) in the bulb of each hair follicle, damaging the follicle and preventing the hair from growing. The mechanism is based on the principle that light is absorbed by dark objects. Melanin, which gives hair and skin its color, absorbs light from the laser, leaving the surrounding skin unaffected.

Since brown or black hair absorbs light more effectively than red or blond hair, laser hair removal treatment works best on coarse, dark hair. Different laser devices are used for patients with light and dark skin.

Is laser hair removal permanent?

Some hair may grow back in the treated area, although it will most likely be lighter and finer than before. Within 6-8 treatments, several weeks may be needed to treat hair follicles in different phases of the growth and dormancy cycle. The number of treatments needed depends on each individual's skin tone and the darkness and density of the hair. Some people may require follow-up maintenance treatments as well.

What should I expect during treatment?

During treatment, the technician may protect skin from the heat of the laser with a cold gel or a cooling tip on the laser device. When the hand-held instrument is pressed to the skin and the laser is activated, the client will feel little or no discomfort aside from the cooling effect from the gel or device. Treatment lasts several minutes for a small area such as the upper lip and longer for larger areas.

What should I expect after treatment?

It is best to avoid plucking, waxing and electrolysis, as the laser professional is trying to kill the root that gives the follicle  nutrients to grow. Each time it is pulled out by plucking, the chances of an effective laser hair removal are diminished. It is always best to avoid sun exposure for several weeks before and after treatment.

After treatment, there may be minor redness or swelling for a few hours, which can be soothed with a topical cream or lotion. About two to three weeks later, the treated hairs will fall out on their own.

Laser hair removal has become popular and widely available but must be done by a qualified technician. It is a safe, proven procedure for removing unwanted hair.

Jayme Bashian is the spa director and lead medical esthetician at Simply Posh Aesthetic Spa. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in education, she received her esthetic degree from the Long Island Skin Institute. She has over 12 years of experience working in esthetic medical settings alongside top cosmetic surgeons specializing in advanced esthetics and cosmetic surgery.

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