Laser hair removal is a safe and effective way of permanently reducing or removing excess hair from all areas of the body.
Although it is, of course, a very safe method of hair removal, laser treatment does have many safety precautions that need to be followed in preparation for your hair removal sessions.
The main risk factor when undergoing laser treatment is ensuring that your skin does not get damaged by the laser during your course of treatments.
Laser hair removal works on the principle of inducing high levels of laser energy been into the hair follicles beneath the skin’s surface. The laser energy travels below the skin’s surface and is guided by the dark colour within the hair until it reaches the follicle where it causes a strong thermal reaction and destroys the reproductive cells that regenerate the hairs when they regrow.
To reach the follicle, which is located beneath the skin’s surface, the laser relies upon dark pigment within the hair to absorb and guide its energy into the follicle.
It is important that the skin has as little pigment in it as possible when undergoing treatment. This ensures that the laser will not target the skin and all energy should be absorbed by the hair due to the higher level of the pigment contained within the hair.
For this reason, tanning and Sunbeds are not allowed when undergoing laser treatment as these increase the levels of the pigment contained within the skin and the laser will also target the skin as it cannot tell the difference between the pigment in the hair and skin.
When pigment contained within the skin is targeted the laser will remove any pigment from the skin often leaving the area lighter in colour than the surrounding untreated skin tissue.
In most cases, this pigment will replenish itself over time but it may take between 6 – 24 months for the skin to return to normal depending upon the colour of the skin at the time and also the laser energies that were used.
It is important to know that if your skin is naturally dark in colour (not tanned from the sun, it is never safe to treat tanned skin) that it is also possible to have laser hair removal treatment performed safely using a special laser for darker skin types called an NDYAG.
This NDYAG laser targets the blood supply to the hair follicle and is very effective on skin types 4 – 6 although results may be a little slower than those experienced by paler skin types 1 – 3 the results are excellent and very safe.
This is the most common side effect from laser hair removal. Skin reactions such as irritation and inflammation are usually very mild and normally disappear after 24 – 48 hours post-treatment and for some are a normal part of the process after each treatment.
These reactions can appear as mild redness, slight swelling and is normally isolated around the hair follicle on the skin’s surface where the hair was targeted by the laser.
Some people with a sensitivity to heat and those that suffer from allergies such as hayfever can sometimes have small blistering on the skin due to their inability to dissipate the heat from their skin post-treatment.
This reaction is avoidable and it is important should you have an allergy that you fully explain this to your consultant and maintain your treatment course as prescribed as they will have experience in treating others with similar issues.
Should you have a skin reaction that you are concerned about it is important that you contact your clinic immediately and they can advise you on it and what you need to do, as they will have experience in this area and will have seen similar reactions many times before.
Some of the common causes of skin irritation and inflammation after laser treatment are as follows:
· A person’s sensitivity to heat.
· Dry skin in the treatment area.
· Topical products on the skin not removed before the treatment.
· Shaving too close to your treatment date.
· Allergies, etc.
It is important to fully inform your laser consultant about any medications or sensitivities that you may have in advance of your laser treatment.
They can adjust your treatment plan accordingly to ensure that any reactions are kept to a minimum and that your safety is always maintained throughout your treatments.