Waxing, shaving, tweezing: they’re annoying, and you have to keep doing them over and over again for a lifetime. Depilatory creams, meanwhile, are just plain painful, smell terrible, and irritate your skin. Laser hair removal is the best way to get rid of unwanted hair and save yourself a lot of pain and expense over the course of your life. At Allure Laser & Med Spa in Tinley Park, IL, we offer laser hair removal as a great way to get the effortlessly smooth skin you’re longing for.
How Long Does Laser Hair Removal Take?
In short, most people see their final results in six to 12 months, but it all depends on your final goal. If you just want to thin out the hair in a particular area, or if you don’t have much hair to begin with in the target area, it will only take a few sessions. If you want to get rid of the hair altogether, then you’ll need about eight to 12 sessions to see your final results. Sessions are scheduled a month to 6 weeks apart.
At first, six to 12 months might seem like a long time to wait, but when you compare it to a lifetime of shaving every day, plucking constantly, and waxing every few weeks, it’s actually quite a good deal in terms of time and money investment! Keep reading to understand why multiple sessions are needed, why it takes time for the final results to develop, and why you have to schedule a few weeks between sessions.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
Most forms of hair removal treat the hair itself. They either pull it out completely, as with waxing or tweezing, or they simply slice it off as it appears above the skin, as with shaving. Laser treatments are different. Laser treatments actually target the hair follicles, which is where the hair grows. That’s why laser hair removal is such a long-term solution.
The laser light is attracted to the pigments in your hair, and they travel down it, taking heat energy with them as they go. This heat energy hits the hair follicle, which it disables. Pigment is what gives your hair (and your skin) its color, so the laser will be calibrated to target the color of your hair and not your skin. This makes it possible to safely use the laser on a wide variety of skin and hair colors.
When the follicles are destroyed, they can no longer grow hair. At any given treatment, however, only some of the follicles will be destroyed. That’s because only follicles that are actively growing hair can be targeted: follicles that are completely dormant will not be damaged, and those which are transitioning from dormant to active stages may only be damaged. Damaged follicles will grow thinner, lighter hair more slowly.
How Skin and Hair Color Affect Your Treatment
In the early days of laser hair removal, the lasers really only worked on people with a strong contrast between the color of their skin and the color of their hair. Those with dark skin or those with light skin but also very light hair simply weren’t really good candidates. Today, advances in technology have changed all that. We can treat nearly any skin color and all colors of hair.
That said, the stronger the contrast between the skin and hair, the fewer treatments you will need. That’s because we can safely use stronger laser energy than we can if we need to be more careful to differentiate between pigment shades. If you have lighter hair or darker skin, don’t worry. We can still get you great results: you’ll just need a couple more sessions.
Why You Need More Than One Session
Many people wonder why they need more than one session with the laser, and the answer goes back to that growing stage issue we mentioned earlier. The laser destroys only the actively growing follicles, and it only damages those that are moving between stages. Dormant follicles aren’t really touched at all. Your body hair is always cycling in and out of growth stages, so each laser treatment gets an average of 30% of your hair in the treatment area.
Once you’ve had a session, you want to let a few weeks pass to allow more of the dormant hairs to cycle back into a stage where they can be targeted. Your next session will get another 30% or so of the hair in your area, and we’ll keep up this cycle until we get all the hair. The good news is that, though it does take a few sessions to get your final results, you’ll also start noticing the difference very quickly. You’ll have less hair, it will grow more slowly, and it will be a lot easier to shave off.
How Can That Be?
How can you notice a big difference quickly while only getting rid of 30% of your hair? Let’s explain. Suppose that you have about 2,000 hairs you want to remove from your legs. Your first session will get rid of about 600 of these hairs. At your next session, you’ll only have 1,400 hairs left to remove, so this session will take out another 420 or so. Now you have just 980 of your original 2,000: that’s more than half, and you’ll definitely be noticing a big difference.
FAQ About Treatment
Is It Really Worth It?
Definitely yes. Most people think of shaving, for example, as simple and inexpensive. And it is, if you only have to do it the one time! When you’re shaving over and over again for a whole lifetime, the costs add up. Over the course of her lifetime, the average woman will spend $10,000 on shaving products. She will shave an average of more than 7,700 times, wasting more than 2,600 gallons of water in the process.
Waxing is done less often, but it’s expensive, inconvenient, and painful. Tweezing is simply not a viable way to get rid of a lot of body hair because of the time commitment involved, and depilatory creams are expensive, painful, and dangerous. They smell better than they used to because we now make them with flavors to mask the chemical smell, but you’re still smearing yourself with chemicals strong enough to dissolve human hair in a minute or two.
How Often Should I Schedule My Sessions?
Each of us is unique, and the rate at which our hair grows is unique, too. Some people will be able to schedule sessions four or even three weeks apart. Some may need to wait six weeks or more. When you come for a consultation, we’ll help you set up a schedule that works for you, and we’ll keep up with you to find out whether it needs to be adjusted as it goes along.
It is important that you keep to your schedule. If you let too much time lapse between sessions, damaged follicles could repair themselves and begin growing thicker, darker hair once again.
How Do I Prepare for Treatment?
When we’ve set up your schedule and you know that this treatment is for you, your first step should be to take good care of your skin generally, avoid removing the hair from the treatment area for a month before treatment starts, and avoid darkening your skin.
If your skin is in good shape–hydrated and healthy–you’ll get the best results. You should avoid removing hair from the treatment area because the laser needs something to target. Without hair, it can’t “find” the follicle! That said, don’t worry: you don’t have to let your hair grow long in order to get this treatment. You can always shave it whenever you want, and, in fact, you’ll get the best results if you shave the day before your treatment.
Finally, don’t tan or spend a lot of time in the sun because you want as much contrast between skin and hair as possible. You also want your skin in the best possible condition, and sun exposure is always hard on your skin.
Talk to Us About Laser Hair Treatment
Are you interested in having smooth skin without having to endure smelly creams, painful waxing, endless tweezing, painful IPL, or shave over and over again? It sounds too good to be true, but with the modern lasers we use, it’s not. Come talk to us at Allure Laser & Med Spa in Tinley Park, IL today to get started.