In our practice we use the most popular LASER for hair removal: CANDELA alexandrite laser. This machine was chosen because it delivers immediate effect and it is FDA approved for permanent hair removal. Moreover, years of experience validate the efficiency and safety of treatment.
When is it indicated?
It is the ideal treatment for cases of excessive hair growth and for combating unattractive marks and painful bumps caused by other hair removal methods. However, it is also a safe a final solution for normal hair growth in the bikini line, legs, armpits, arms and upper lip. Hormone-dependent areas such as the cheeks, chin, belly line and nipple area usually require more sessions. The new trend is hair removal in men. Since men’s hairs are very strong, they require much more sessions than women’s hairs.
After what age on can we get laser hair removal?
In reality there is no limitation. Nevertheless, it is preferable that the period has started, so that full hair growth has been completed.
Is LASER safe?
LASER hair removal is a medical application that, in order to be safe, requires a knowledgeable and experienced doctor and conforming patient. Each patient is an individual case and requires different settings, so that the treatment is both effective and safe. The most common complication is burns, which however rarely leave marks on the skin. Patients must be very cautious when it comes to sun exposure, especially in a country like Greece. Laser treatment is contraindicated in tanned skin and caution is required as far as sun exposure is concerned during the treatment period (this applies more or less to all LASER types).
Dermatological LASERs emit light and not ionizing radiation, radioactivity or X-Rays, i.e. they do not emit any kind of harmful radiation that diffuses or enters into our body. They have selectivity and thus act only where we want, without affecting other parts of the body. Moreover, they do not harm areas where there are lymph nodes (e.g. armpits), glands or the breasts.
Since LASERs are a natural therapeutic treatment and act specifically on the targeted organ, they can even be used during pregnancy. The area of the abdomen must be avoided. Also, you are advised to inform the gynaecologist and get his approval.
In conclusion, when applied by experienced doctors, used on compliant patients and appropriate precautions are taken (such as special protective glasses), they are totally safe, even for small children.
How does LASER destroy the hair?
Hair removal LASER targets hair melanin, i.e. the substance responsible for the colour of the hair, and its root. This is why LASER is not effective on blonde and grey hairs. Hairs grow in cycles. Thus, some hair follicles enter a rest phase, losing their hairs temporarily, while other enter a growth phase and begin producing another hair. Therefore, only part of the hair follicles have fully grown hairs at any given time. LASERs destroy in one session all hair follicles with a hair shaft. In order to cause atrophy of the hair root though (so that hairs may no longer grow) and to target all hair follicles at the hair growing phase, repetitive sessions are required. Maximum efficiency is attained when sessions are repeated every 35-40 days. At that point, the hair has just grown from the root and is very sensitive to LASER light.
Is hair removal LASER painful?
LASER is not painless. It is painful especially in the most sensitive areas, such as the upper lip and bikini line. The new and more advanced LASERs are equipped with a skin cooling system. Before the laser pulse, cooling fluid is sprayed on the skin acting as an anaesthetic. Moreover, it protects skin from LASER’s thermal energy during the treatment, allowing us to use higher energy amount, in order to increase the effectiveness of the treatment (Candela Corporation, USA, GentleLASE, Alexandrite). An anaesthetic cream can also be applied prior to the treatment.
How long does a session last?
It depends on the area and the hair density. From 5-10 minutes for the upper lip up to 2-3 hours for the whole leg.
Is any preparation needed?
If other hair removal methods have preceded, before the first session we need to allow as many hairs as possible to grow (this is not needed for subsequent sessions). If the hairs are long, they needs to be trimmed to approximately two millimetres. An anaesthetic cream can also be applied.
What happens after the treatment?
There is a slight erythema on the skin, which subsides within a few hours. Soothing creams can be applied. When the hairs are thick, i.e. in areas such as the bikini line, it takes approximately 10-15 days for all of them to fall after the first session. In the next sessions, hairs get thinner, so it becomes increasingly easy to clear the area.
When is it contraindicated?
In very dark complexions and tanned skin. Since it targets melanin, it is evident that in the above cases the skin has large amounts of melanin attracting laser energy, which may lead to potential burns. In areas with fine hairs, ex. cheeks and neck.
How many sessions are needed?
It depends on the case, usually 8-10. After 4-5 sessions, hair regrowth is significantly reduced, unless there are hormonal disorders, in which case the number of required sessions cannot be safely predicted, especially for the face and neck. Thick dark hairs respond faster to the treatment than fine and fairer hairs, for which more sessions are required. Patients must be advised that in areas with fine hairs, as in the cheeks and neck, hairs can be activated and turn dark. In this case, many sessions are needed to reverse the situation.
Is the result permanent?
Laser hair removal has been used for the last 15 years. Experience has shown that hairs appear not to grow again.