Laser Hair Removal

WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?

Removal of unwanted hairs used to be a painstaking business until recently and involved the discomfort of electrolysis and multiple treatments to achieve the desired result. With the advent of laser technology ,a variety of laser and IPL (intense pulsed light) systems have become available for removing unwanted hair. All of the laser and IPL systems used for hair removal work in a similar way by shining light energy through the skin with the hair follicle as the ultimate target.

The light does not give out its energy as heat until it hits its target and this allows the user to selectively target hair follicles with little risk of collateral heat damage to the surrounding skin. Treatment involves an initial visit, in which a test patch is performed, to assess the reactivity of the patients skin to the light energy. After treatment parameters have been decided therapy can begin. This involves trimming the hairs to 1 to 2mm proud of the skin and covering the area to be treated with conductive gel. The treatment is relatively painless and requires no anaesthetic. Up to 70% of actively growing follicles can be dealt with in a single session and repeated sessions are required to treat follicles which were in an inactive state at the initial treatments.

It is important not to shave or bleach the hair prior to treatment as the light energy will be transferred less effectively. It is also important to refrain from using sunbeds or fake suntan products for the duration of the treatment as darkening the skin can scatter the light energy sensitising the skin and reducing the effectiveness of treatment.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

Very occasionally pigment changes can occur following this treatment and this is why a test patch is performed. This tests the individuals sensitivity. It is important to stay out of direct sunlight for the duration of the treatment as the skin may become patchily hyperpigmented (browner) if it is exposed to the sun. Rarely the skin can become red and inflamed (like sunburn) after treatment. If this happens it will settle down itself in time and the intensity of the treatment will need to be reduced.