Unwanted body hair can be embarrassing and annoying to deal with. If you’re tired of shaving, waxing, tweezing, or covering up parts of your body to hide your body hair, then laser hair removal may be the perfect solution for you.
Laser hair removal is a quick, safe treatment for removing unwanted hair that involves very little downtime or discomfort. Laser hair removal can benefit both men and women on just about any area of the face or body. Common treatment areas include the chin, upper lip, neck, ears, underarms, back, legs, and bikini area.
Dr. Ran Rubinstein is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who specializes in laser hair removal in Hudson Valley, NY. With help from his team of aesthetic specialists, Dr. Rubinstein helps patients achieve smooth, hair-free skin. Laser hair removal is performed in our Newburgh office on an outpatient basis.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is a permanent hair removal method that involves using a laser to safely destroy hair follicles. It is non-invasive and most people report feeling no pain during the procedure.
The most common areas for laser hair removal on the face include the upper lip and chin. The sideburns and beard can be treated as well. On the body, patients often opt for hair removal on the neck, forearms, underarms, hands, chest, abdomen, back, bikini area, and legs. Laser hair removal is even effective for treating ingrown hairs.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser hair removal is far superior to traditional hair removal treatments like electrolysis, which can be painful, inconvenient, time-consuming, and can even result in scarring. The laser allows large surface areas to be treated in just a matter of minutes.
During treatment, laser light is applied to the skin and the pigment in each hair follicle absorbs the light. This destroys the hair follicles while sparing the surrounding skin.
Is Laser Hair Removal Right For You?
Successful outcomes depend on a few variables. The most important has to do with which laser system is being used. Patients naturally have different skin types, some lighter and some darker. There isn’t one laser that is effective for all skin types.
The best laser for lighter skin types is the Alexandrite laser. The Diode laser is the next best option (i.e. LightSheer).
For darker skin, the long pulse YAG laser is the most effective and safe. Using IPL (intense pulsed light, often found in spas), Diode, and Alexandrite lasers for darker-skinned or tanned patients can result in serious complications such as burns and scarring.
We have found the Lutronic Clarity II to be the most advanced and effective laser hair removal system as it contains both the Alexandrite and Long Pulsed YAG lasers in one system. This allows us to switch back and forth as needed based on each patient’s skin type and needs. This brilliant machine also utilizes IntelliTrak™ technology to deliver more consistent treatment coverage throughout large areas. Clarity II provides the user with real-time skin temperature feedback and shorter pulse widths throughout the procedure, allowing for more efficient removal of fine hairs.
The other equally important factor for a safe and successful laser hair removal outcome has to do with who is performing the treatment. Dr. Rubinstein has the most skilled, highly trained, and experienced aestheticians and nurses performing the procedure under his supervision.
Be wary of “medical spas” that offer rock bottom pricing and often feature old and poorly maintained lasers being used by poorly-trained, inexperienced technicians in an unsupervised environment.
Laser Hair Removal – The Procedure
Laser hair removal is performed in our Newburgh office on an outpatient basis. During treatment, the laser device is passed over the treatment area. Patients typically experience a sensation similar to a warm rubber band being snapped against the skin. After treatment, a cooling gel can be applied to the skin for comfort.
Several treatments are needed in order to permanently reduce hair in any given area. This is because the laser targets hairs that are in the active phase of growth. Only 25% of hairs are in this phase at any given time.
On average, six sessions are sufficient for excellent results. These are performed at 6 to 8 week intervals depending on the area being treated. Periodic maintenance treatments will be required over time in order to maintain long lasting results.
How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a very safe and straightforward procedure, so there are only a few small things you should do to prepare for your treatment.
About six weeks before your procedure you should stop plucking, waxing, sugaring, electrolysis, or using hair removal creams. This is because the laser targets the roots of your hair, so those need to be in place for the procedure to be successful.
You should also try to avoid sun exposure prior to your treatment. Skin that has been damaged or altered by the sun can be more sensitive. Tanning and topical self-tanning products can also affect the way the laser reacts with the skin, which may cause complications.
Laser Hair Removal and Cold Sores
We recommend that patients with a history of cold sores pretreat with valacyclovir (Valtrex) a day prior to their treatment and continue for a day afterward. One of our clinicians can provide a prescription for antiviral prophylaxis prior to your treatment. Note that this is only necessary if the area being treated is on the face.
After Treatment: What to Expect
There is little recovery or downtime associated with laser hair removal. Newburgh hair removal patients may experience some minor redness or swelling but these side effects typically resolve quickly. In most cases, work and other normal activities can be resumed right after treatment.
Laser hair removal is a very safe procedure, but there are some possible complications to be aware of. These may include blisters or pigmentation changes. If you have acne or are experiencing a breakout at the time of your treatment, there is a risk of infection.
Certain medications may cause your skin to be more sensitive or slower to heal. Your provider can advise you on whether or not you are a good candidate for laser hair removal.
FAQs about Laser Hair Removal
The light from the laser damages the hair follicles and prevents hair from growing back, so it can be a permanent hair removal solution. Hair may grow back after laser treatments, but it will most likely be much lighter and finer. Periodic maintenance treatments will be required over time to maintain long lasting results.
Each laser pulse takes less than a second and can zap multiple hair follicles at a time, so the treatment is very fast. The length of your session depends on the size of the area you want to treat. A small area like the chin or upper lip will only take 5 minutes, while a larger area like the back or legs may take 15 to 30 minutes.
Most patients do not feel any pain during a laser hair removal treatment. Some liken the feeling to a rubber band snapping against the skin. If you have sensitive skin, your provider may suggest using a mild numbing cream or placing ice on the treatment area prior to and after the treatment.
Laser hair removal is a non-invasive treatment that is usually pain-free, so there is no downtime required after a laser hair removal treatment. You can go about your normal daily routine immediately following your treatment. You should avoid sun exposure following your treatment.
The hair will fall out from the treated follicles soon after the procedure. However, not all follicles are active at once, so several treatments are needed. It can take several months to achieve permanent hair removal.
The cost of your laser hair removal treatment will depend on a number of factors including the size of the area you want to treat, how dense your hair is, and the number of sessions you’ll need to achieve results.
It’s best to have your treatments at a board-certified plastic surgeon’s office. If you live in the state of New York, Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists offers laser hair removal among its services.