Painless Hair Reduction
Removal of unwanted body hair is traditionally a very frequent chore. Traditional techniques such as shaving, plucking, and waxing, provide only temporary relief and are often painful, messy, and may actually stimulate hair growth. All of these methods can result in scarring, allergic reactions, and ingrown hairs. Traditional laser hair removal has been slow and quite often caused a bit of discomfort as it was performed. Laser hair reduction works by targeting the pigment inside the hair follicle without damaging delicate surrounding structures of the skin, destroying it permanently! Unfortunately one treatment won’t get you the results you want as hair cycles through “growth” and “dormant” phases, and unfortunately during the “dormant” phase the follicle has no pigment – therefore to get the maximum result 4-5 treatments are generally required to achieve 90-95% permanent hair reduction.
Hair forms in a pouch-like structure below the skin called a hair follicle. What we see as hair is actually the hair shaft, which is the hardened tissue that grows from this follicle.
The best hair color for the laser light to target is dark blond to black. The laser technician will explain more during your consultation.
Everyone’s hair grows differently, depending on age, weight, metabolism, hormones, ethnicity, medications, and other factors. But all hair goes through three distinct growth phases:
Active growth phase (called the anagen phase), which can last up to 3 months. At any given time,20-30% of our body hair is in this phase. During anagen, the hair has an abundance of melanin and that is the key target for the laser light.
Regressive phase (catagen phase), which lasts about 3 days, during which the hair stops growing but is not yet shed. About 3 – 4% of our body hair is in this phase at any given time.
Resting phase (telogen phase), which lasts 4-14 days, at the end of which the hair falls out and a new hair begins to form.
Following the laser treatment many patients report that hair starts to shed immediately, and can be found on a towel following a shower. We recommend not waxing, tweezing or using any methods to remove the hairs following your laser treatment. Some patients will also report that the hair appears to still grow. These hairs are in fact dead club hairs. Within 3-4 weeks a new hair from another active growth phase will begin to grow out of the same hair shaft. Remember that even though the hair is growing out of the same hair shaft, the follicle growing is new and is now ready for the laser light.
Laser energy most effectively disables hair that is in the active growth (anagen) phase. If we get all of the active hairs each treatment that is generally 30 days apart, you would have disabled 20-30% of all hair follicles. Because all the hair in a treated area may not be in the same anagen phase, several laser treatments are necessary to remove the hair that subsequently enters the growth phase. Our goal after 5 treatments is to have sustained 90-95% permanent hair reduction.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the treatment involve?
You will be asked to wear eye protection. A small laser hand piece is placed against the skin and the laser is activated. With the new INMOTION painless technique the laser is constantly moving to prevent discomfort. Small areas or grids are treated at a time to concentrate the laser’s energy in those hair follicles, the hand piece is repositioned and the laser is activated again until all the grids in a given treatment area have been treated.
How many sessions are needed?
The number of sessions will vary for each individual due to hair color and hair follicle density. During the initial visit, the laser light disables those follicles in the “active” phase of the growth cycle. Follicles in the “dormant” phase will not be affected. Since follicles cycle through “active” and “dormant” phases, additional sessions will be necessary once the “dormant” follicles become “active”. For this reason, we recommend a series of three or more treatments.
Is their discomfort with the treatment?
With the new Alma INMOTION technology only available at Renew most women and men report no discomfort at all!! Most will mention a sensation of warmth as the laser does it’s job destroying those unwanted hair cells. For very sensitive patients, or those we need to treat with our traditional Syneron 810 hair laser, anesthetic creams can be applied prior to the treatment.
Does the treatment have side effects?
Immediately after the treatment the skin may look a bit pink, especially immediately around the hair follicles, and slightly swollen – this is actually a sign of a good treatment. This will usually subside within 24 hours. Occasionally, a patient will have temporary pigment changes, rarely some blistering, or scabbing. In the unlikely event of blistering, we recommend keeping the area covered with triple antibiotic ointment. A test spot is the best determinant of how each individual’s skin will react.