Everything You Need To Know About Laser Hair Reduction

As the newest and most innovative way to reduce unwanted body hair, lasers are one of the most popular treatments. Over recent years, there have been drastic advances in laser medicine, and dermatologists have been at the forefront of discovering all that lasers can do. One significant advancement now allows a variety of patients to receive laser hair reduction, whereas previously, only people with darker hair and light skin could have the procedure safely. Although it’s often referred to as laser hair removal, laser hair reduction only reduces the number of unwanted hairs and does not remove them permanently. 

What is laser hair reduction?

Laser hair reduction is a non-invasive procedure that reduces the amount of unwanted hair on your body. According to The Mayo Clinic, laser hair removal uses a process called “selective photothermolysis”. This process uses a laser’s heat to destroy cells with significant amounts of pigment, and when heat transfers to the hair follicles, it kills them. Hair follicles must be in the anagen phase for the procedure to be effective, and because hair is at different stages of growth all the time, patients need multiple treatments. 

Patients can receive this treatment on any part of their body, but the most commonly requested areas are:

  • Face
  • Underarms
  • Bikini area 
  • Back
  • Legs

How do you prepare for laser hair reduction?

At Renew Medical Spa, you will have a consultation with our team to discuss the best course of treatment and the related costs. Typically, laser hair reduction is an out-of-pocket expense. At Renew, we offer three different Sciton lasers: Forever Bare, BBL static, and 1064 laser. Your provider will choose the best option for you and your needs. Your provider will also give you specific directions to prepare for the procedure, such as: 

  • Staying out of the sun
  • Avoiding sunless tanners
  • Stopping some hair removal methods (such as plucking or waxing) Avoiding blood-thinning medications. 

They will also recommend shaving the treatment area prior to your appointment. This is because you want to remove the hair above the skin level that can cause skin damage from burnt hairs, but leaves the hair shaft whole under the surface (and ready for the lasers).

What does laser hair reduction feel like? 

During the procedure, your provider will press a hand-held instrument to the treatment area. A cooling device attached to the instrument or a cooling gel may also be used to help protect your skin’s surface and lessen the risk of any side effects. When the provider turns on the instrument, the laser will go through your skin to the hair follicles underneath, damaging the hair follicle. This will eventually inhibit the growth of hair in the treatment area. It is described by most patients as slightly uncomfortable, but very tolerable. Many patients report the sensation of a gradually intensifying heat or a rubber band snapping on the skin, depending on which laser technology is used. A small area such as the upper lip may only take a few minutes, but a larger area of the body may take around an hour.

What should I know after my procedure?

This procedure is well-loved because it not only achieves successful results, but also has minimal downtime. Some patients may experience very minimal redness or swelling (similar to a sunburn) in the treatment areas. This can last for several days after the treatment. You will also be unable to shave in the treatment area for 48 hours. Lastly, you will need to avoid sun exposure for up to three weeks after the procedure and use a high-quality SPF 50 while the treatment area heals. Our staff can recommend an excellent sunscreen like the Elta MD line if you need a good resource. 

Lastly, it’s essential to remember that despite the high success rate of this procedure, hair follicles do eventually heal, resulting in new hair production. This is why you will need to work with your provider to determine the number of sessions you need and be patient with the process. It’s also crucial to note that there are many at-home laser devices available on the market. Using these without proper provider supervision is very risky and can cause burns and other injuries. Entrust this procedure to professionals and feel confident that you’ll get the results you want. 

At Renew Medical Spa, our professionals know the proper precautions to take and how to provide this service safely and effectively. Get started today by scheduling your free consultation and be swimsuit-ready by summertime.