Laser Hair Removal FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
We provide the following laser hair removal FAQ to help you with some common questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, queries or require further detail about anything on our site.
How does laser hair removal work?
The system used is an intense pulsed light source. The energy from the light is taken up by Melanin (the protein pigment in hair). When the melanin absorbs the light, the light energy is converted into heat energy. Hair removal is accomplished by the generation of this heat, which is then transferred to the hair follicle. This leads to the destruction of the shaft and neighbouring cells responsible for re-growth of the hair.
How is the treatment carried out?
A thin layer of ECG gel is applied onto the skin before to treatment to ensure the optimal transmission of light from the applicator to the skin. A quartz applicator is placed on the skin surface. The light is pulsed through the quartz and onto the skin. The applicator is then moved to the neighbouring area and the process is repeated.
Why do I have to wear goggles during the treatment?
To protect your eyes.
Which kinds of hair can be treated with the laser?
Dark hairs are most easily treated due to the large concentration of melanin found in this hair type. Fair hair has less melanin to absorb the light energy, so therefore more treatments are usually required for permanent destruction of the hair.
Why is it best not to go tanning before my Laser Hair Removal?
The upper skin layer also contains melanin and the concentration increases when the skin is exposed to UV light, it is therefore necessary to treat dark skin individuals with less energy to avoid generation of heat and discomfort. We recommend that tanning is avoided during treatment; it is possible to treat but the treatment will be less efficient and generated at a lower setting to be safe.
Why doesn’t the treatment work on blonde, white or red hairs?
We can only manipulate the hairs containing melanin. White, red and blonde hairs don’t have any melanin within them so the laser hair removal will not work.
What are the best factors for laser hair removal?
The ideal candidate is healthy, lives a balanced lifestyle, their skin tone is natural (not tanned) and has dark hair. Although we can accommodate to different hair and skin types.
Does it hurt?
Most patients experience the sensation as moderate and acceptable and associate it to a rubber band being fired against the skin. Pain level is variable and specific to the individual. From our experience some people say it’s “like a stabbing pain or a slight pin prick” depending on the area and their natural pain tolerance. Note: Sensitivity cannot be predetermined by comparing with other stimuli experienced by an individual.
Does the patient need to shave prior to treatment?
Hair may be shaved prior to treatment. Although is not always necessary and this will be discussed at your consultation.
Can I pluck, bleach, sugar or wax during treatment?
Plucking, waxing or bleaching should not be carried out. These methods should also be avoided 4-8 weeks prior to treatment. If you have concerns please discuss this at your consultation. This is so that we ensure that as many follicles are present as possible and that every potential hair present is targeted.
Can I use sanding pads or hair removal creams?
Sanding pads and hair removal creams can also be used but not 48 hours prior to treatment – this is so that the skin is not over sensitized. Although this is not an alternative method of hair removal we recommend. We also advise that if you have not previously used these methods that you do not.
Do I have to shave?
Not in all cases but sometimes yes. This is discussed at your consultation where we can advise you accordingly. There is no need to shave prior to consultation or change anything you do normally until it has been discussed.
Will the hairs “grow” after treatment?
Unlike some laser hair removal treatments, the hairs are not evaporated. The hair follicles are killed by the heat but the hairs remain in the follicles. They may fall out after 1-3 weeks as the skin cells renew depending on the individual. During this period it will seem that the hairs are growing as they are pushed out by the skin.
Is the burning smell during my treatment normal?
Yes, in some cases the hair will be burned during treatment and may frazzle. This does not mean that if there is no burnt hair that the treatment has not been efficient.
Not all my hairs have fallen out after treatment. Did it work?
Yes it did. It simply means that either the hairs were not in the correct growth phase or the hairs are more resilient.
How can you tell if the treatment has worked when the hairs are not removed immediately?
After treatment the hairs may be loose in the follicle and can sometimes be easily pulled out with tweezers. A red ring around each follicle can also be seen a few minutes after treatment, along with reddening of the skin. These end points indicate that sufficient heating of the follicles has taken place. However they are not always seen. Many patients have successful results without the post-treatment signs.
What are the side effects?
The visible light is completely safe so no special precautions are needed apart from wearing glasses for brightness. The skin of some patients becomes quite red immediately after treatment. However, most patients experience no side effects and the described skin reactions usually disappear within hours to a few days. Very rarely temporary lightening or darkening of the skin may occur (hypo/hyperpigmentation).
Can I get burnt from the laser?
Yes. Hence it is important that you are honest with your practitioner regarding your medical and inherent susceptibilities so that we may take precautions to avoid such cases.
How many treatments are necessary?
This varies depending on the client, their susceptibilities and the area being treated.
Only hair in the growth phase can be treated. The number of hairs in this phase varies from 10-70%. The length of the growth cycle also varies. After the first treatment, most patients get significant reduction in hair density. Treatment sessions are recommended every 4-12wks (this will be advised during your consultation). The number of sessions needed varies, but usually an average number of 8-10. We have many years of experience treating a wide array of clients and the number of treatments can vary from 1 -50.
Is a consultation always required prior to my laser hair removal?
Yes, always at Clear Medical. This is to ensure there are no contraindications, that you are fully informed and that the optimal safe settings can be administered.
I have had laser hair removal treatment elsewhere; do I still need a consultation?
Yes. The body and systems can vary and we prefer safe practice.
How long is my consultation?
Appointments are arranged for 30 minutes. If you require more time, it can always be arranged. However we are always on hand via phone, text and email to answer any queries you may have.
If I am an existing client do I need a consultation for another area?
Yes, as factors for laser hair removal vary depending on the area being treated. We want to make sure that every area is treated with care and that you are fully informed.
Do I need to book an appointment?
Yes. For all treatments and consultations you need to book an appointment.
What about if I have to cancel my appointment?
That is fine. We advise that you let us know 24 hours in advance to avoid a penalty charge.
How long after my consultation can I have treatment?
After 5 days minimum.
How do I prepare for treatment?
You should avoid tanning and must not use fake tan 6 weeks ahead of treatment. It is also beneficial if you incorporate a skincare regime if you do not do that already. Please see Preparing for treatment for more information.
What do I need to do after treatment?
Immediately after the treatment the skin is particularly sensitive to UV light, and strong sunlight should be avoided for a week or more depending on individual sensitivity. Alternatively a high factor SPF can be used (50+) or our Tone & Defence Skin Oil. Please see our Aftercare advice for more information.
How long does the treatment take?
This varies depending on the area being treated and will be discussed at your consultation. Your first session is always a longer time slot to ensure that you are comfortable with the treatment.
Can I have treatment if I am planning pregnancy?
Yes you can. Although we advise that you take due care to ensure that you are not pregnant during treatment as this may result in spontaneous miscarriage.
Can I have treatment if I am pregnant?
No. This is due to foetal stress and not due to any risk on reproductive organs.
How long do I have to wait after childbirth to commence treatment?
After birth you would require a consultation. We advise treatment at your own discretional assessment of good health if you are a previous client as you are aware of what to expect. For new clients we advise 12 weeks after birth.
What is the minimum age for treatment?
According to the law there is nothing currently in place. We advise that clients be over the age of 18.
Thank you for taking the time to read through our laser hair removal faq. Please feel free to book a free skin consultation at your convenience.
If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.