The laser has impacted technology in hundreds of ways since it was first invented in 1960. In the 1990s, medical professionals discovered lasers could be used effectively for permanent removal of hair. Since then, this technique for reducing unwanted hair growth has grown quickly in popularity. The skilled technicians at Delta Laser & Skin Care Centre in Delta, BC are fully up to date on the latest techniques and have the most current, state-of-the-art equipment for laser hair removal.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
A laser, put simply, is an intensified beam of light. Some lasers are powerful enough to be used in manufacturing for extremely precise cuts in metal. The lasers we use for hair removal at Delta Laser & Skin Care Centre are calibrated to have just enough power to damage hair follicles.
Pigment in the hair, called melanin, absorbs the energy of the laser, converting it to heat. Hair follicles are then burned without causing injury to the surrounding skin tissue. Within a few days, hair follicles fall out, thus stopping future hair growth.
Laser hair removal stops hair growth for long periods, but the effect is not permanent for some people. Initial hair removal requires multiple treatments, and the long term prevention of hair growth sometimes requires maintenance treatments after several years. A more appropriate name for the process could be “Laser Future Hair Growth Prevention.”
Does Skin or Hair Type Matter?
Laser treatments have better results for people with light skin and dark hair. This is because the pigment of the hair, not the pigment of the skin, should be absorbing the energy of the laser. The process is designed to damage hair follicles without damaging the skin. Just as dark clothing absorbs more heat from the sun than light clothing, dark hair and skin absorb more heat from a laser. This is why persons with light skin and dark hair have the best outcomes from laser treatments.
Beyond reducing the effectiveness of treatments, too small a contrast between hair and skin color increases the risk of damage to the skin. Laser technology advances are improving options for people who have light hair or darker skin, but currently, hair colors that don’t absorb light well, such as gray, red, blond and white, have less satisfying results from laser treatments.
People with little contrast between their skin and hair are usually less concerned about hair appearance. Dark hair on light skin is by far the most visible and troubling, so, remarkably, the science of this treatment works best for the people who need it most.
How to Prepare
What you do before treatments affects results after, so we offer several easy-to-follow suggestions for what you should do before your appointments. You’re having these treatments to meet your desire for long term smooth, hairless skin, so it’s recommended to get ready for treatments well in advance. For best results, preparation begins weeks ahead of each treatment.
Six Weeks Before – Shade is Good
Protect the area to be treated from sun exposure for a month to six weeks before treatment and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. Fake tan creams and sprays darken skin the same as a suntan, so don’t use products that darken your skin for at least a week before treatments.
The contrast of light skin to dark hair is so significant to results that we might prescribe a skin bleaching cream for clients with recent tans or naturally darker skin.
Six Weeks Before – Put Away Bleach
Hair dyes and bleaches penetrate beneath the surface of skin. As explained earlier, laser hair removal targets hair roots, and it works best if the color in each root is darker than the skin. The more contrast there is between skin lightness and root darkness, the better. Bleaching hair alters the pigment and makes follicles more difficult to target. Bleaching should be stopped six weeks prior to each appointment. This allows time for the hair roots to grow back in their natural color.
Your hair pigment goes right through to the root; and so does bleach. If you have been lightening hair to make it less noticeable in the area to be treated, it’s time to stop. This allows our laser to target your hair roots more easily, destroying the hair permanently. Then you won’t have any undesirable hair to bleach, which is why you’re having treatments in the first place.
Four Weeks Before – Stop Plucking and Waxing
Laser hair removal works by targeting the roots of the hair. Roots are yanked out by plucking and waxing, so keep tweezers and wax away from the area to be treated for at least four weeks prior to appointments. Shaving leaves the root in place. In fact, shaving is encouraged, because it removes hairs from above the skin without damaging or removing follicles. This prevents possible mild collateral burns to the skin.
Appointments will be scheduled with eight to ten week intervals. You can resume waxing and plucking for a few weeks after each treatment, but it’s not recommended. And put the tweezers and wax away six weeks prior to your next appointment.
Two to Four Weeks Before – Check Medications
During your advance consultation, our laser professional will ask about all medications you take. Be sure to tell them about all medicinal products you’re using, both oral and topical. Certain medications interfere with laser treatments, making them less effective. Other products can cause the skin to be sensitive and more likely to burn or blister.
Your laser technician is particularly concerned to know if you are on antibiotics, birth control, acne medicine, and photosensitizing medications. You won’t need to stop taking those products, but your laser professional knows how those drugs affect the skin and will adjust your treatment accordingly. If you begin taking any new medications, be sure to let us know prior to your next appointment.
Take Care of a Cold
If you develop a cold or a cold sore in the days before your appointment, call us right away. Your treatment may need to be rescheduled. Obviously, sores on the skin could react painfully to a laser and interfere with treatments. Also, cold remedies and medications affect skin in ways you may not be aware of.
Antibiotics, for example, are photosensitive medications, meaning they make skin more sensitive and susceptible to light. All forms of laser treatments are light-based modality. Heightened sensitivity to light could result in burns or hyper-pigment, so treatments are not recommended while antibiotics are in your system.
One Day Before – Time to Shave
Plucking and waxing the area being treated should stop weeks before treatments, but shaving is highly recommended twenty-four hours prior to your appointments. Shaving safely removes hair above the surface and clears skin for the laser. A laser can target pigment located in the hair’s root: the part of a hair we can’t see with our naked eyes.
Shaving also smoothes the skin’s surface, allowing the laser device to glide easily across the area being treated.
Day of Treatment – Be Clean
Beauty products can affect the results of laser hair removal. Any makeup that has been applied should be removed prior to each appointment. Simple soap and water are best to cleanse the skin that will be treated. If the area to be treated is the armpits, skip deodorant the mornings of your treatments. Don’t even dust under your arms with baby powder; but don’t forget to shave on the days before treatments.
The areas to be treated should be completely clean of deodorant, makeup, lotions, ointments – anything you may have applied topically to the area. If you were wearing makeup and removed it, even makeup remover leaves a residue. Be sure to rinse the area with water afterward.
We’ll Make It Easy
Laser treatments are safe and simple and incur little pain. Many describe the effect as similar to feeling a rubber-band slapping their skin. By following our recommendations and precautions, you will significantly reduce the risk of any side effects. You’ll also be more likely to get the most out of your laser treatments and enjoy results that last a lifetime.
The Process – Long View
Each of our laser hair removal programs is tailored to a specific individual. Your plan will be unique to your skin, but you can expect to need two to six treatments for complete removal of hair in the treated area. Only about twenty percent of hair is affected by each treatment. This is why achieving completely hairless skin requires several visits to the clinic. The precise number of treatments you’ll need depends on your skin type and the part of the body and size of the area to be treated.
The interval between treatments varies depending on which part of the body is being treated. Some areas of skin have slow hair growth, such as the back. Those areas show better results with treatments twelve to sixteen weeks apart. Hair grows more quickly in other areas of the body, such as the upper lip. Treatments to areas with rapid hair growth are scheduled four to eight weeks apart.
Think Long Term
With treatments occurring several weeks apart, the complete process may take a year or more. In that time, you will experience less and less hair growth after each treatment. After the final treatment, hair regrowth should be stopped in the treated area for many years, and perhaps forever. Determined follicles that do start growing again usually produce much finer and softer hair than grew previously. Follow-up treatments can easily address any hair regrowth.
Almost any area of the body can be treated. The only part of the face that cannot be treated are the eyelids and skin directly surrounding eyes. We never want to risk exposing your delicate eyes to a laser beam. Treatments to small, easily accessible areas, such as an upper lip, only take about ten minutes.
You may wish to be forever rid of hair on your legs, bikini line, back or underarms. Treatments to large areas of skin take about forty-five minutes. With a few short and simple treatments, we can give you the smooth, hairless skin you want, and, in most cases, the skin will stay that way for the rest of your life.
We Are Women Treating Women
Men are welcome, of course, but Delta Laser & Skin Care Centre is proud that our staff is made up of women. Many women’s skin care concerns are issues we’ve experienced ourselves. We are easily accessible to anyone in Surrey, Langley, White Rock and all other areas around Delta, BC. If you think laser hair removal may be right for you, call Delta Laser & Skin Care Centre in Delta, BC us to arrange your free consultation. We’ll explain all the options we offer to give you the most satisfying results from your treatments.