Laser hair removal treatment has become a very popular alternative to waxing and shaving for people who want to remove unwanted hair. With the growing popularity, many people ask: “Is laser hair removal safe?” and “If so, how does it work?”. Let’s dive a little deeper…
With laser hair removal, the laser light is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair. When the light energy is converted to heat, the hair follicle is destroyed. Therefore, future hair growth is inhibited or delayed depending on where the hair is in its growth cycle. In order to get the desired optimal hair reduction, multiple laser hair removal treatments will be needed for initial hair removal, followed by maintenance treatments.
During each treatment, the right combination of wavelength, energy, and pulse duration must be used to achieve the desired hair reduction. Whether the hair is removed permanently or just reduced in density is influenced by:
- The color and thickness of the hairs being treated.
- The color of your skin.
- The type and level of the laser used.
- Where the hair is in the growth cycle.
To get optimal results, most med spas use at least two different laser systems and three different wavelengths so that the treatment is adapted to your particular hair texture as well as your skin color and type. A qualified consultant will discuss your options and help you decide what laser and laser level is best for you during each visit as your body hair may change over time. They will also answer any questions or concerns you may have, such as…
Is Laser Hair Removal Safe?
Laser hair removal is safe, with minimal pain or side effects, as long as the treatment is carried out by an experienced practitioner who knows how to effectively treat different types of hair and skin types. It is not a good idea to try laser treatments at home, or with an unlicensed or inexperienced practitioner. In most med spas, nurses or nurse practitioners who are specifically trained in the safety and standards of laser treatments are the ones to perform hair removal treatments.
While laser hair removal is safe for most, clients with certain skin or health conditions should not get this treatment since their condition could be aggravated or harmed by laser hair removal. For those with generally sensitive skin, your practitioner may recommend a post-laser lotion to soothe any redness or mild irritation that may occur, which usually resolves within a few hours to a few days after your treatment.
Who Shouldn’t Get Laser Hair Removal Treatment?
While most med spas do a consultation that includes a discussion about your health history, as a general rule of thumb, you should avoid laser hair removal if:
1. You have a skin condition or infection – Laser treatments are, in general, not recommended for people with a skin disease or infection. Some of the medications that are taken for skin conditions – such as isotretinoin – could make you photosensitive which can result in burning from the laser.
2. You are taking antibiotic medications – Certain antibiotics can also cause photosensitivity so It is recommended to wait for at least a week after you finish your antibiotic before getting a laser hair removal treatment.
3. You are pregnant – It is generally advised to avoid any kind of laser treatment if you are pregnant because no studies have been done to prove that it’s safe for both you and your baby. In the absence of proper research on this, medical and med spa professionals prefer to err on the side of caution.
That being said, laser hair removal can be a great alternative to plucking, threading, shaving, depilatory creams, or waxing – all of which are only temporary solutions that can also cause skin damage. Most med spas offer a very affordable lifetime maintenance program once your hair removal is complete. As they continue with maintenance treatments, most clients notice less and less hair regrowth over time, making this an almost permanent solution.