Laser Hair Removal Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can everyone be treated?
A. Laser Hair Removal works best when there is color in the hair. People with light hair may see only moderate improvement and may need a greater number of treatment sessions. Dark hair responds best and white, blonde, grey and red hair does not respond at all.
Q. Is laser hair removal permanent?
A. Treatment results may vary among patients. The FDA approves the Cutera CoolGlide for Permanent Hair Reduction. The FDA defines permanent hair reduction as the long term, stable reduction in the number of hairs re-growing after a treatment regimen. In clinical studies patients were followed for one year after completing two treatments. The reduction in hair growth proved to be stable for that period of time.
Q. What areas can be treated?
A. The only parts of the human body that cannot be treated with the CoolGlide system are the eyelashes and the lower edge of the eyebrows.
Q. How does the CoolGlide laser treatment compare with other hair removal methods?
A. Shaving, waxing, plucking and depilatory creams provide temporary results. These treatments must be repeated frequently. Electrolysis is tedious, invasive, and often painful. It can result in scarring. It involves inserting a needle into each hair follicle and delivering an electrical charge to destroy them one a time. Electrolysis often requires years of treatments at regular intervals. The CoolGlide treatment delivers non-invasive laser light energy to hundreds of hair follicles at one time. In just a few minutes the CoolGlide can effectively treat an area that would take over an hour with electrolysis. The CoolGlide uses Nd:YAG as the laser source. Other, older laser sources, such as ruby and alexandrite, have been conclusively proven to be ineffective in terms of permanent hair reduction.
Q. How does the CoolGlide hair removal laser work?
A. Energy from a power source is pumped into the “lasing medium” — a substance that produces light particles when “excited”. The CoolGlide generates an intense and concentrated beam of long pulse Nd:Yag light. This beam of light brings energy to the area of treatment through a delivery device or handpiece, which effectively disables unwanted pigmented hair follicles, impairing their growth. The laser’s chilled handpiece is placed gently on the skin and glides along as pulses of light are delivered from the laser. When the light penetrates the skin, it selectively damages the root of the unwanted hair.
Q. Is this form of laser treatment safe?
A. Lasers have been in use medically for more than 35 years and are used by a wide range of medical specialists. Since only light is used to remove hair, it is totally non-invasive. Therefore, it does not cause some of the irritations typically found with other hair removal methods. The only real risk is a burn and here at Laser Body Solutions we have only had one minor burn in one patient in our earliest days of treatment.
Q. What do the CoolGlide laser treatments feel like?
A. The CoolGlide handpiece, as the name implies, cools and soothes the skin as it glides along the treatment area. When the light pulse is delivered, some patients experience a mild stinging or pinching sensation for a fraction of a second. No local anesthetic or pain medication is usually required. Some patients, however, do prefer a local anesthetic cream when sensitive areas are treated. Because the CoolGlide incorporates a large spot size and a high rate of energy delivery, treatments are extremely fast and effective.
Q. What can I do to help?
A. Inform the nurses or Dr. Gold if you have a hisory of sun/fever blisters, cold sores or facial herpes. They need to know about any medicines you are taking as some of them may increase your sensitivity to the laser. For facial hair treatments do not use any moisturizers or makeup the day of treatment.
Q. Are there side effects?
A. Short-term side effects include slight reddening of the skin or local swelling. These effects are typically transient, lasting from 15 minutes to two hours.
Q. How long do the treatments take?
A. An upper lip and chin can be done in 15 minutes. Underarms or bikini lines usually take 15 to 20 minutes. Legs and backs take longer. Very often, follow-up treatments are shorter because there is much less hair to treat. Hair density, area treated and phase of hair growth can affect length of treatments.
Q. How many treatments are necessary?
A. This is very important to understand. Hair goes through three stages of development. Many factors influence the hair growth cycle, such as age, weight, ethnicity, hormones, diet, medications, metabolism and stress. During the growth (anagen) stage, the hair follicles contain pigment. The laser energy is absorbed by this pigment and converted to heat. It is the heat which kills the hair follicle. So we can only kill hairs that are in the anagen stage of growth. At any given time, only 1/3 of human hair is in the anagen stage. For this reason, it is necessary to treat an area on average 5 times with the treatments spaced approximately 6-8 weeks apart for the face and 8-10 weeks apart for the body in order to see the best and longest lasting results. Darker hair will respond better, but both dark and light hair need an average of 5 treatments for maximum response and best long term results.
Q. What happens after the treatments?
A. Following the treatment you can return to normal activities immediately. SPF 30 sunscreen is recommended for the entire treatment period on any areas exposed to the sun. We can treat tan skin and dark skin, but not sunburned skin. In the next two weeks you may experience what seems to be regrowth of hair. Most of these hairs are being shed as a result of your treatment and are not regrowing. In between treatments you should not wax or pluck the hair. Shaving is OK as it will not hinder your end results.
Q. Can all skin types and colors be treated safely with the CoolGlide system?
A. The CoolGlide laser has an advantage over other laser hair removal systems because it allows treatment of all skin types, including tanned and dark-skinned patients.
Q. What are the contraindications to laser hair removal?
A. Laser hair removal is not recommended for those patients who:
- Are pregnant.
- Use medication for which 1064 nm light exposure is contraindicated.
- Have diabetes.
- Have a history of skin keloids as they may be prone to scarring after any skin trauma including laser treatment.
- Have an active infection or history of herpes simplex in the area to be treated.
- Have a history of personal or familial skin cancer.
Q. What complications may occur?
A. The only real complication is getting burned. Redness and local swelling of the skin, similar to sunburn, may occur in some patients. These effects typically last for a few hours or less. In rare instances, blistering may occur. In the case of a burn with blistering, healing may occur with hyper- or hypo-pigmentation. Please inform us, as soon as possible, of any problems.
Q. Results – what should you expect?
A. There is often no immediate change. The laser may leave small red marks on your skin, which typically only last for a few minutes. The marks clear up shortly without leaving anything behind. The hair that has been destroyed will not start to fall out for two to three weeks. Many times it will get darker and thicker just before it falls out. Don’t worry if you do not see an obvious change immediately after your first treatment.
Q. How does Laser Hair Removal compare to Electrolysis?
A. Electrolysis treats one hair at a time and the electrologist can only get the hairs that (s)he can see. The laser “sees” all of the hairs that are actively growing, even those beneath the skin. Electrolysis can require many years of regular treatments. The laser treats large areas in a fraction of the time and requires many fewer treatments for better results.
Q. What is the cost of a CoolGlide laser hair removal treatment?
A. Treatment prices begin at $150 per session for small areas. For larger areas, the fees rise accordingly. Zero percent financing is available and can make the procedure quite affordable.
Call to discuss a pricing plan specific to your needs. (203) 281-LSER (5737).
This information is intended to supplement, not replace, consultation with your physician or nurse regarding Anti-Aging Facial Rejuvenation with Titan, Genesis and IPL. Please consult with the nursing staff or Dr. Gold if you have additional questions or if you have questions that may not be covered in this section.
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