We spend a lot of time shaving, waxing and plucking to achieve an overall smooth look and feel. It’s never-ending, can be painful and is always time-consuming. There is a more permanent solution to removing unwanted hair and achieving a smooth and silky look–laser hair removal. Call the highly trained team at Dermatology Consultants of South Florida, offering this treatment in Coral Springs, FL.
How Hair Grows
To understand how this treatment is different, we have to understand how hair grows. Hair has two distinct parts–the follicle and the shaft. The follicle resides below the skin and contains the living cells that come together to form the protein keratin, which is what hair is made of. The shaft is the part of the hair we can see outside of the skin, and it’s made of dead cells.
Hair grows in three phases. The active phase is when the cells in the follicle are dividing rapidly so that a new strand of hair is formed and the old hair is pushed out. Hair stays in this cycle for two to six weeks.
The second phase is when the hair stops growing and the root shrinks. The third and final stage is when the follicle is completely at rest. These are the hairs we shed every day–up to 100 of them.
Understanding that hair grows in phases and where it begins helps us understand why certain methods of removing unwanted hair work for longer periods than others. None of the solutions we try at home or our local salon will remove it permanently, even those that pull the root, follicle, and hair out. Laser hair removal is different.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is an innovative way to help people find a permanent solution to removing unwanted hair. A laser’s light targets the hair’s follicle. As the light travels down the hair to the follicle, it turns to heat. The heat works to disrupt the walls of the follicle, destroying them. Once the hair follicle is destroyed, it can no longer grow hair.
Most areas where you try other methods to remove unwanted hair are also where laser hair removal is most effective:
- Bikini area
The way the laser targets the follicle, heats it and destroys it is what makes it permanent and sets it apart from the other ways we try to remove hair. The methods most people use are disappointing and can be uncomfortable and messy.
Shaving is the most popular way people use to get rid of hair. It seems great because it’s relatively quick and inexpensive, but there are quite a few downsides. The first is how short-lived it is.
Because it only targets the hair we can see, it takes very little time for hair to grow back: sometimes less than a day depending on the rate of your hair growth. It can also be very hit or miss–you know those days you’re in a hurry, shave quickly and feel an entire line of leg hairs you missed? That can be frustrating.
There can be quite a few physical downsides with shaving, particularly if you have sensitive skin:
- Ingrown hairs and bumps
- Nicks and cuts
- Razor burn
- Scars from repeated cuts in hard to reach places
- Dry, itchy skin
Razor prices are on the rise. The inexpensive ones irritate skin and those that cost more dull quickly and need to be replaced often. While it may seem relatively inexpensive, over time, it could end up being quite an investment for such a temporary solution.
It may be confusing that waxing doesn’t permanently remove hair given that it rips the entire hair, root and all, out. But that’s why it doesn’t work. It doesn’t destroy the follicle, making it work harder to rebuild the hair.
After you’ve put hot wax on your skin, waited for it to harden and ripped your hair out, it may grow back softer and thinner at first. Eventually, your hair follicle will do its job at full speed again, and your hair’s normal thickness will return, causing you to start the cycle again.
If you get waxing done at a salon or spa, it can be pricey. Over time, those bills add up and, again, there’s no end in sight. If you do it at home, it’s not as effective and both methods risk damaging your skin, causing burns and scars.
For the same reason waxing doesn’t permanently remove hair, tweezing doesn’t either. For areas like the upper lip and chin, tweezing can cause damage to your skin. Often, people will accidentally grab their skin, causing a small open wound, and unless you sanitize your tweezers each time you use them, it opens you up to infection.
Tweezing is painful no matter how often you’ve done it. This is a great way to target the stray hair now and then, but it isn’t a great solution for larger areas.
These creams and lotions are packed with chemicals designed to break down keratin and turn hair into a jelly-like substance. There are several cons to this method. First, the smell of the chemicals is very off-putting and requires a ventilated area for application.
The result isn’t much better than shaving because it only removes hair at and just below the surface. If you have light skin and dark hair, you’ll be left with the blueish shadow of the hair under your skin, much like a 5 o’clock shadow.
Finally, the chemicals used in these creams can do serious damage to your skin. You have to follow the directions to the letter or it could cause blisters, burns, and rashes. Even if you follow directions, there’s a higher likelihood with this method that you’ll have some sort of adverse reaction on your skin.
What to Expect From Laser Hair Removal
After consulting with your skincare expert about the area to be treated and the outcome you desire, you’ll be given preparation instructions. You shouldn’t wax or tweeze for 6 weeks before treatment. The follicle needs to be intact so the laser can find and target it.
You’ll be asked to shave the area 24 hours before your session. Getting rid of hair on the surface allows the laser to better locate the follicle. Don’t tan or use tanning products before your appointment. The more contrast between your skin and the follicle, the more effective the treatment will be.
On the day of treatment, you’ll be given goggles to minimize your eyes’ exposure to the light from the laser. Your provider will apply numbing cream, or the device they use may have a built-in cooling device to maximize your comfort. They will place the small device on your skin and turn the laser on. It will start gently targeting your hair follicles.
Afterward, you can immediately go back to your normal daily routine.
Hair won’t fall out right away-it takes up to two weeks-but once it’s out, it’s out for good. You may still have hair growth, but not because of a fault in the treatment. It’s because of the growth cycles of your hair.
Because of your hair’s growth cycle, you may need more than one treatment to achieve smooth skin. It’s impossible to know where each follicle is in the growth cycle at the time of treatment.
Some clients will get the results they want after just one treatment, while others will want several before their results are maximized. Each person’s hair’s thickness and quantity is different, so results vary along with the number of sessions someone will need to achieve a hair-free area.
Who Is a Good Candidate?
Only your skincare specialist can tell you if you’re a good candidate and what results you can expect. The best candidates have dark hair and lighter skin because it offers the most contrast between the skin and follicle. Without contrast, the laser can’t target the follicle.
Just because you have darker skin or lighter hair doesn’t mean you aren’t a good candidate. You’ll need to have a conversation with your specialist to discuss your options.
If you have dark hair that is graying, speak to a specialist sooner rather than later because gray hair is far more resistant to this treatment. If you’re tired of dealing with unwanted hair day after day and are ready for a permanent solution, you may be an ideal candidate for this treatment.
Once your skin is silky smooth, consider other treatments that will help you show off your newly softened skin.
One of the best ways to up the glow factor of your face is with dermaplaning. During this treatment, your skincare specialist will use a 10-gauge scalpel to gently scrape off the top layer of dead, dull and damaged skin cells. This treatment also removes all the peach fuzz on your face. These tiny hairs attract microscopic debris and can make makeup application difficult and face washing less effective.
Immediately after this treatment, the skin is soft, glowing and vibrant. Your face will also be able to better absorb nourishing facial products. Ask your specialist about your specific skin type and special needs it might have. When you apply skincare products after this treatment, you don’t have the layer of debris and dead skin cells blocking its absorption. You’ll be amazed at how easily and evenly your makeup will go one and come off.
Body Treatments and Facials
One of the biggest favors we can do for our skin is to incorporate facials and body treatments into our skincare routines. No matter what age you are or skin type, there is a treatment right for you. These treatments are designed to give your skin a boost of whatever it’s most craving. Your needs change with hormonal fluctuations, a change of season or an upcoming event.
Facials and body treatments can infuse your skin with hydration, nutrients, and antioxidants while exfoliating away dead skin and clearing pores with manual extractions. The health of your skin will continue to improve the more consistent you become in your skincare schedule.
Call for an Appointment
When you’ve decided you’ve put in enough time and money removing unwanted hair in ways that can be painful and messy but are assuredly temporary, it’s time to consult with a professional. The results you want are available to you: it just requires a phone call.
Reach out to the caring and expert staff at Dermatology Consultants of South Florida in Coral Springs, FL today. They will partner with you to develop a treatment plan that will have you wanting to show off your newly smooth and permanently silky soft skin to the world.