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Laser Hair Removal Secrets... Get It Right The First Time

Posted February 16, 2013 under Laser Hair Removal - No comments

Have you had laser hair removal but were disappointed by the results? Are you thinking about getting laser hair removal, but you don't know what to look for or how to choose? You are about to learn what every good laser hair removal expert knows about how to get the job done right the first time.

Dr. Sinclair's Response

Laser hair removal can be one of the greatest investments you will ever make in your self. Done properly, it is safe and effective. You can expect to shave much less (sometimes no more shaving at all!) and avoid razor burn. Done poorly, it can be anything from ineffective to a nightmare with permanent scars. Picking your place to have it done requires some leg work and asking the right questions.

To be successful the laser operator must accomplish 3 things:

  1. Destroy the hair follicles at the base of the hair shafts
  2. Destroy the stem cells that surround the hair shaft that can grow new follicles.
  3. Protect the skin from being injured.

 

If you have dark hair and light skin and no recent sun exposure, step 1 is not difficult. But that alone will only give you a temporary result. You have to destroy the stem cells. Stem cells are clear and colorless. There is no way for any laser to heat them directly. To destroy stem cells, the laser must be powerful enough to heat the hair shaft just under the skin. It is this heated hair shaft that destroys the stem cells that surround the hair shaft. That is why you must not wax or pluck for 2 weeks before your treatment.) Older lasers needed you to have some stubble to transfer enough heat down to the follicle and to heat the stem cells. The newer more powerful lasers are so strong that any hair on the surface just gets in the way and causes more discomfort.

Recently tanned skin is much more susceptible to burning. You should NEVER get a tan 2 weeks before your laser treatment!

Your skin needs to be protected during the treatment. If the skin gets too hot, it can blister, turn white and even get scars. Cooling the skin during the procedure is critical. Older lasers had no cooling, the operator had to apply cold air to the skin. Better lasers had spray devices built-in that would spray cold liquid on the skin before each pulse of the laser. The newest lasers use continuous contact cooling. That means the laser itself is very cold and lays directly on your bare skin. This provides the maximum protection and comfort during your procedure.

Finally, some hair follicles are very deep in your skin. If the laser can't penetrate deep into your skin, only the hair shaft gets heated. The follicle survives and grows new hair. The secret to achieving deep penetration is a combination of the laser's power (called fluence) and the laser's spot size. Older lasers have very small spot sizes, about the size of a dime. The light at the center of the spot goes the deepest. Toward the edges of the spot, the light penetrates only superficially. Adding more power to a small spot can be counter productive. The light in the center can go so deep it heats tissue below the follicle which just causes more pain and longer recovery. Furthermore with a small spot size you tend to see "striping" where you see long lines of hair that appears to have been missed.

Ask for a free consultation with the person that will actually be doing your treatment. During the consultation, you should ask the following:

  1. Do I need to have some stubble before you do the treatment? (Best answer: shave right before the treatment)
  2. Can I get a tan or wax before the laser treatment? (Best answer: NO! But it is OK to get a tan and wax after the treatment)
  3. How big is your spot size? (Best answer: The bigger the better)
  4. How do you protect my skin during the treatment? (Best answer: The laser is very cold and is constantly touching your skin)


 

 

 

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