How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

how does laser hair removal work

Plastic surgery has become increasingly more popular throughout recent years. When most people think of popular cosmetic surgeries, they think of boob jobs and nose jobs, but laser hair removal is also among the list of popular plastic surgeries. Laser hair removal does exactly what it says it does – it removes undesired hair with a laser. This might not sound like your typical surgical procedure, so you might be wondering just how laser hair removal works.

So, how does it work?

Laser hair removal uses a highly concentrated beam of light, in the form of a laser, to damage the hair follicles in the desired area of the body in order to inhibit future hair growth. The pigment in the targeted area absorbs the light, which then damages the follicles in that area. Laser hair removal prevents the growth of hair for any time between several months and a few years depending on the person undergoing the procedure. The procedure is not permanent because hair grows in indeterminate cycles, so once the cycle restarts some time months or years down the road, hair growth will recontinue. Because of this, a procedure works best if the lasers damage the hair follicles during the growth phase of the cycle.

The procedure itself is very precise as the lasers have the capacity to target individual follicles. Additionally, the laser removes hair at an extremely fast rate. The laser is able to zap multiple follicles within a concentrated area in a fraction of a second. Since the removal works so quickly, the procedure itself can be quick. For instance, in an area like above the lip, the laser hair removal only takes about a minute. But, for larger areas, such as the back of the legs, it can take up to an hour. So, the duration of the procedure can be very quick, but it can also take a decent amount of time if the targeted area is large.

Before and after the procedure:

The process of laser hair removal begins before the procedure starts in the medical facility. The procedure itself depends on certain things before and after the laser removal itself, so it’s important to understand what to do before and after the procedure to maximize its effectiveness. As we mentioned above, the pigment absorbs the laser’s light, so the procedure is most efficient if there is less surface pigment to absorb the light before it makes it to the hair follicles. Because of this, it is best not to get a significant amount of sun or tanning at salons starting six weeks before the procedure and six weeks after the procedure. This could have a huge effect on the effectiveness of the procedure, so don’t take this warning lightly.

Also, patients that are to undergo laser hair removal are strongly advised to avoid waxing and plucking starting six weeks before the procedure because these techniques tend to remove the root of the hair. If there is not root at the time of the procedure, there is no follicle to zap, and the hair will grow back normally instead of having its growth obstructed.

In addition to warnings regarding tanning and waxing/plucking, it is very important to take care of skin after the procedure. While this may not directly affect the procedure itself, it will have an impact on the overall quality of your experience, just as taking care of your skin after a tattoo affects the overall quality of the tattoo. The doctor will likely prescribe a specific treatment, but some of the typical post-procedure routines involve some sort of an OTC hydrocortisone cream, antibacterial lotion, and anti-inflammatory. However, like most procedures, the specifics of laser hair removal will vary slightly depending on the different conditions of each individual patient.

Important things to know:

Of course, there are many other important things to know in order to better understand laser hair removal, from how painful the procedure is to how much the procedure will hurt your wallet. Laser hair removal will feel different to each person that undergoes the procedure, but it can be painful. Some individuals describe the pain as being similar to that of gentle pinches, but others experience something more like a snapping rubber band. So, the pain will depend on your pain tolerance, but you will certainly feel something if you undergo laser hair removal. As for the hurt on your wallet, laser hair removal can cost up to $1000 per session depending on the size of the targeted area. However, laser hair removal typically requires three different sessions in order to effectively zap all of the hair in the targeted region. So, like any plastic surgery, it is unwise to expect a cheap procedure.

In the end, how the procedure works depends on many factors, and how well the procedure works strongly depends on your understanding of the procedure. Laser hair removal is a surgical procedure, so treat it like one. Pay attention to the details of how it works in order to ensure that the overall quality of your laser hair removal is as good as it can be. After all, you don’t want to get caught in another hairy situation because you skipped out on understanding the entirety of the process.

Written by: Russell McBurnie