Many men suffer from abnormal hair growth. Whether it is the annoying ear hairs that crop up between barber visits or the rough inflamed patches that can develop on the neck from tinea barbae, laser hair removal can eliminate these problem areas permanently.
More men are looking for that “clean” look that requires hours of time each week shaving faces, chests and backs. Many women like the smooth feel of their partner rather than the shaggy-dog look, and some men find their overall hairy appearance an embarrassment in sharp contrast to their apparent hair loss on tops of their heads. The rising popularity of tattoos also has led some to remove unwanted arm or chest hair to better show off their artistic body adornment.
The laser technology we employ allows us to not only remove the hair of all skin complexions, but also to treat large areas relatively quickly and with only mild discomfort. Even large backs or chests can be done in 30 to 40 minutes. Whether you are looking to just clean up your ears or neck or would like to remove more, today’s laser technology makes it safe, comfortable and affordable.
Laser hair removal is a laser treatment that directs intense light energy into the hair follicles. This is different from the IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) we use for other treatments. IPL is not nearly as effective as laser for hair removal, and the confusion it has caused when some practitioners have misleadingly called IPL “laser” treatment has given laser hair removal a bad name in the past. The laser effectively targets the hair follicle while not harming surrounding normal tissue. The laser increases the temperature of the melanin (responsible for color) in the hair follicle, destroying the follicle and preventing regrowth. Each session eliminates more and more of your unwanted hair follicles. As you complete your hair removal sessions, you will notice a permanent reduction in hair follicle growth in the treatment areas.
The optimal number of treatments required to permanently remove unwanted hair follicles depends upon your skin tone. For patients with fair to medium skin tones, usually only three to six sessions are needed. Darker skin tones receive additional treatments to achieve desired results. Due to different phases of hair growth and how the hair follicles respond to laser therapy during those phases, treatments are scheduled four or more weeks apart.
The common condition of pseudofolliculitis barbae, or ingrown hair, is rarely discussed openly, yet can be very painful and unsightly. Laser hair removal treatment in the areas most susceptible to ingrown hair such as the beard and groin can greatly reduce the incidence of pseudofolliculitis barbae. Laser hair removal is an excellent permanent treatment for those sensitive but stubborn areas.
How It Works
Laser hair removal really is a technological breakthrough with lasting results. The resiliency and thickness of hair is dependent upon many factors such as hormones, age, metabolism, skin tone, and others. The permanent removal of unwanted hair by laser takes into consideration these factors to achieve success. Hair growth has three stages: Anagen, the growth period; Catagen, the dormant phase; and Telogen, the falling-out stage. When the hair follicles are in the Anagen stage, the active growing period, the laser is the most effective. At any given time, about 20% of your hair follicles are actively growing, so consequently, laser treatment is able to eliminate that 20%. The light of the laser passes through the skin harmlessly and then is absorbed only by the pigment in the hair. The light is converted into heat which permanently damages the follicle during its growth cycle, thereby stopping all future growth.
As your treatments progress, more and more hair follicles will be affected and more hair will be permanently removed from the treated area. Treatment timing is critical in laser hair removal; treatments are spaced between 4 and 12 weeks so that the laser can sweep all hair follicles as they cycle through the Anagen phase. Proceeding in this gentle, non-invasive way ensures your comfort and safety.
What to Expect
Our laser technicians at Valley View Laser M.D. are trained medical professionals. Your comfort and safety are paramount to us. In this regard, we take every precaution to make your experience positive. We will work with you to determine the best plan for your laser hair removal treatment. Since different people have different skin tones and levels of sun exposure and hair thickness, it is difficult to give an estimate of how many treatments a given individual might need without an evaluation in person. We are happy to give you our best estimate of number of treatments and costs involved once you are examined. It is important to understand that this is still an educated guess and individual behavior can vary due to hormonal cycle, medications, areas to be treated and compliance with protocol.
During the laser treatment, you may feel a slight discomfort, prickling, snapping or warm sensation at the treatment area. Our laser has a built-in cooling tip to alleviate any significant discomfort. This technology is notably better than stand alone units or the use of ice to cool the area. Before, during, and after each session, your skin and your skin’s reactions to the treatment are evaluated; according to this personalized evaluation, the laser settings are monitored and modified. Because some of the heat from the laser is absorbed by the melanin in the skin as well as the follicle, patients with darker skin tones may react more intensely and may need more gradual, milder treatments. The laser technology which we employ has two different lasers which can be used individually or in combined mode to treat all skin types. This “multiplexing” is a feature that is not found on most current laser systems and allows us the flexibility to dial in the right combination of wavelengths to treat an individual based on skin type and hair patterns. Additionally, the laser has an optional large spot size to speed up treatments of larger areas such as legs, chest and back, thus increasing patient comfort.
What to do before a treatment
Areas to be treated must be clean shaven for treatment. The area should be free of lotions, make-up, deodorant and other applications before arriving at the laser hair removal center. Do not wax, tweeze, bleach or use depilatories for at least 2 weeks prior to treatment. since the hair follicle must be intact for the laser to destroy them. Please see patient instruction pages for for more detailed information.
What to expect after a treatmen
Your skin might be pink or red and may be slightly swollen for up to 24 hours. A mild stinging or itchy sensation may be felt for several hours. Do not expose treated area to the sun for prolonged periods for at least 2 weeks after treatment. Apply SPF 30 sunblock to treated areas that may be exposed to the sun for 4 weeks. Avoid irritating skin preparations on treated area for at least 48 hours. Hairs will fall out and/or dissipate on their own within 14 days. Follow-up visits should be scheduled as per your individualized treatment plan.
Visit the Gallery to view after treatment results.