Laser Hair Removal is one of the most popular treatments for women in the UK.
Many of us suffer from unwanted hair that can be inconvenient or embarrassing, and find the usual methods of hair removal (waxing, shaving, plucking) can be time consuming and uncomfortable. If this is the case for you, maybe laser hair removal is the solution. So far, no manufacturer has been allowed to claim that the treatment results in complete and permanent hair removal, as it may not get rid of all of the hair forever, yet it is able to promise a permanent reduction in the hair.
Laser hair removal: Am I suitable?
This treatment is suitable for most skin types and hair colours. However, those with ginger hair sometimes respond poorly to treatment, and white or blonde hairs sometimes do not respond at all. Furthermore, care should be taken for those with darker skin tones (Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Far Eastern or darker) in case unwanted damage to the follicle should be caused by the hair removal laser.
Other general factors that would stop you from being able to undergo laser hair removal include being pregnant, a skin infection in the treatment area or any sensitivity to other light-based treatments.
Laser hair removal: What do I have to do to prepare?
Because patients vary in their skin sensitivity when treated with the laser, the practitioner should test a patch of the skin before the procedure is carried out.
Recently tanned skin is more prone to the side effects from laser hair removal (see risks and side effects) so practitioners often ask that your skin be as pale as possible before undergoing the treatment.
Laser hair removal: What’s the treatment like?
A high energy beam laser that can transfer its energy through the skin to focused parts of the body is used to target the pigment contained in the hair shaft or the hair follicle. The energy of the laser heats the base of the hair follicle, thereby causing damage to the cells that cause hair growth. If enough damage is done to these cells, then it will prevent hair from growing there again.
Laser hair removal: What about after?
Your practitioner will advise you on what aftercare you should engage in after the treatment, however general advice includes applying antiseptic cream to the site of the procedure, wearing a high factor sun block if you plan on being in the sun and contacting your practitioner if you show any signs of blistering, pain or pigment changes in the area that was treated.
Laser hair removal: Are there any risks or side effects?
The treatment has been described as uncomfortable for some patients, who said they felt a slight tingling/stinging sensation like elastic bands flicking the skin. The procedure may also be more painful for patients who have darker skin tones. Immediately after the procedure, the skin may appear swollen and red, like a mild sunburn. Afterwards, the pigmentation of the skin may also appear to be darker after the procedure at the points where the laser has come into contact with the skin. This effect will gradually fade months after the procedure takes place.
Laser hair removal: What will it cost me?
Prices can vary from £40 per session for a small area like the bikini line or upper lip, to around £400 per session for larger areas like the back of the legs, for example. The number of sessions you would need depends on hair colour and skin type, although generally about three sessions are needed in order to achieve the best results.