Laser Hair Removal
in Teaneck, NJ
Getting rid of hair is nothing if not an ongoing perpetual nuisance. You shave, pluck, wax, or use harsh depilatory creams to get rid of the unwanted hair. Then a couple of weeks later, it comes right back.
A better solution to unwanted hair would be to come to the Teaneck offices of Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center and let us put our lasers to work permanently getting rid of your hair.
What is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal involves using laser energy to damage the hair follicles in the treatment area. Once these follicles are damaged, they stop producing hair. The FDA has approved the use of lasers for “permanent hair reduction.” Due to hairs being in different phases of the growth cycle, laser hair removal at Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center usually permanently removes 85-90 percent of the unwanted hair in the treatment areas.
Who is a Good Candidate for Laser Hair Removal?
Basically, everyone is a great candidate for laser hair removal. Each of us has areas of hair on our bodies that we’d rather do without. It could be an area as small as the upper lip for a woman, or it could be a man’s entire back. Today, trends are to have less hair. Toward that end, some men are removing hair on their chest. Women are going beyond the bikini line all the way to full Brazilian.
Laser hair removal works best when there is good contrast between the patient’s skin color and the color of the unwanted hair. That said, the technology of our lasers allows us to treat all skin tones and hair colors. When there is less contrast, we simply lower the energy in the pulses delivered.
Is Laser Hair Removal Painful?
We apply a topical numbing cream to your treatment areas when you first come in for your session. Once it takes effect, you’ll only feel a sensation akin to a small rubber band being snapped on your skin. This occurs when the laser energy is pulsed onto your skin. Our laser has a cooling feature to help keep you comfortable.
What are the Risks of Laser Hair Removal?
The FDA approved the first lasers for hair removal in 1995, but lasers had been in testing two decades prior to that. Over nearly three decades of commercial use, lasers have proven to be incredibly safe and effective for removing hair. And laser technology continues to improve to better handle lighter hair colors and darker skin tones.
The most common side effect after having laser hair removal is some redness and possibly slight swelling on the treatment areas. This usually passes within a few hours. There is a risk of burning the skin, but that is usually only a problem with inexperienced operators that do laser hair removal as a sideline. At Advanced Laser our staff is highly trained and experienced with laser hair removal.
Is There Anything I Need to Do to Prepare for My Laser Hair Removal Session?
As mentioned above, laser hair removal works best when there is a high contrast between the color of the patient’s skin and his or her hair color. So, avoiding sun is important before your appointment. Here are some things to do to prepare:
- Avoid sun exposure — If you have a tan, you need to let it fade before coming in for your session. As a rule, we advise patients to not have any sun exposure on the areas with unwanted hair for 4-6 weeks prior to their session.
- Avoid plucking, waxing, and electrolysis — For the laser energy to get down into the follicle, the hair needs to be actively anchored in the follicle. Plucking, waxing, and electrolysis all disturb the follicle. Shaving is fine, as it doesn’t affect hair in the follicle.
- Clean your skin — The treatment areas need to be free from cosmetics, lotions, and creams. If you’ve applied deodorant and are having your underarms treated, we will remove it prior to your session.
- Certain skincare products — Certain anti-aging skincare products can cause irritation when interacting with the laser energy. These include alphahydroxy acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and others. We’ll discuss these with you and tell you want to avoid for a few days before and after your appointment.
How Does a Laser Hair Removal Session Work?
When you come to see us at Advanced Laser, we first apply a topical numbing cream to the areas to be treated. Then we match our laser wavelength to the melanin in your unwanted hair. Melanin is what provides the color to our hair (and our skin). We then deliver short pulses of laser energy down onto your unwanted hairs. The melanin absorbs the laser light energy and it instantly converts to heat. This heat then travels down the hair shaft into the hair follicle damaging or destroying the follicle and preventing future hair production.
Why Do I Need Multiple Laser Hair Removal Treatments?
People wonder why it takes multiple sessions to achieve the amount of permanent hair reduction they seek. Why can’t it all go away in a single session? The reason is the hair growth cycle. The human body has around five million individual hairs on it, and each hair operates independently of the others. Each hair can be in a different phase of the growth cycle. This cycle includes active growth, called the anagen phase; a transitional period called the catagen phase, and a resting phase called the telogen phase.
Laser energy is only effective if the hair is still actively anchored in the hair follicle, and this only occurs in the anagen/growth phase. But hair can also be in the catagen or telogen phases. In these phases, the hair is already on the path to being shed. The hair is no longer receiving any nourishment from the follicle and it may have already separated from the follicle. This is why laser energy applied to hairs in these phases can’t get down into the follicle.
How Long Does it Take to See My Laser Hair Removal Results?
When you return home after your session at Advanced Laser, you’ll still see your unwanted hair, and your skin will be slightly red. Some people assume the laser energy zaps the visible hair and it is gone, but that’s not the case. The laser energy has been absorbed by the hair shaft and converted to heat and the heat then damaged the hair follicle. Those damaged follicles will no longer be able to anchor the hair, so you will notice the hairs beginning to fall out over the following days. You shouldn’t try and accelerate the process by plucking or scrubbing the unwanted hair at this point.
After a few days, you’ll see what looks like new hair growth in the treatment area. Not to worry. This is a sign that the laser energy was successful in zapping the follicles. Hair that was down below the skin in the follicles is being pushed out and shed. That is what you’re seeing.
Remember, not all of the hair in the treatment area will fall out. The hair that was in the growth phase will, but other hairs that weren’t will still be there. Usually, the affected hair will be about 20 percent of the total during that session. That’s why multiple sessions are necessary — to catch more and more hair in the growth phase.