Perfect for men who want that rugged-but-not-unkempt look. If you’re keeping a beard, why still bother with the hassle of shaving your cheeks and lower neck? With laser hair removal on those areas, whether you grow your beard, shave or keep a little stubble, you will always look well-groomed.
The Basics of Laser Hair Removal
Areas of unwanted hair are treated with a focused beam of concentrated light that is selectively absorbed by the melanin in the hair, as well as in the surrounding hair follicle. This causes thermal destruction of these hair follicles and disrupts their ability to regenerate, resulting in permanent hair reduction. Unlike electrolysis, which kills one hair follicle at a time, the laser reaches and treats hundreds of follicles at a time.
All hair grows in cycles that consist of three stages – the Anagen phase (active growth), Catagen phase (dormant growth), or Telogen phase (fall-out stage). Hair can only be permanently destroyed in the Anagen (active) phase when the hair follicles are being fed by blood vessels. The heat generated from the laser light seals off the blood vessels to these active hairs. Our specialized treatment program takes a phased approach to laser hair removal to coincide with this active phase of your hair growth.
Benefits of Laser Hair Removal at TLC Medispa in McLean, VA vs. Other Hair Removal Options
How to Prepare for Your Laser Treatment
- Make sure to stop waxing, tweezing, plucking or threading 3 – 4 weeks prior to your appointment.
- Do not bleach or use depilatories for 2 weeks prior to your appointment.
- Discontinue use of topical retinoids, hydroquinone, topical acid products, benzoyl peroxide, clairsonic brushes or other scrub products on the treatment area one week prior to your appointment.
- Discontinue use of photosensitizing medications one week prior to your appointment.
- Discontinue use of self-tanners 7 – 10 days prior to your appointment.
- Make sure you are not tan or sunburned. Limit sun exposure on the treatment area for at least 3 weeks prior to your treatment.
- Shave the treatment area either the evening before or the morning of your appointment. The closer the shave, the better. For areas that are difficult to reach such as your back or the back of your neck, please have someone shave for you. If you don’t have anyone to help you, we will shave the area for a fee. Please notify us in advance so that we allot enough time for your appointment.
- If you are worried about pain during your treatment, you may take some pain reliever 30 – 45 minutes prior to your appointment.
Who May Not Have Laser Hair Removal Treatments?
- Women who are pregnant
- Anyone who is taking photosensitizing antibiotics
- Anyone undergoing chemotherapy
- Anyone who is tanned or sunburned
- Anyone who is using topical retinoid products, hydroquinone, topical acid products, benzoyl peroxide, clairsonic brushes or other scrub products on the treatment area. Please discontinue use of these products one week prior to treatment.
- Anyone using self-tanners
- Anyone with white, gray, blonde or red hair
Laser Hair Removal FAQs
Does it Hurt?
Everyone’s pain threshold is different. Some people say it feels like a slight sting and others say the sensation is more pronounced. The sensation is only evident at the time we are pulsing the laser. Once the technician stops pulsing the laser, the sensation stops. For those individuals that experience significant discomfort, a topical anesthetic can be used. However, only a very small percentage of our patients require this. Unfortunately we are not able to provide this but often your own doctor may prescribe it for you. Compared to electrolysis and waxing, most clients should find our process very tolerable.
After treatment, there may be some redness and/or tenderness which usually lasts only a couple of hours but can last up to 48 hours. This is comparable to very mild sunburn and is not painful. Aloe vera gel or hydrocortisone cream can be used in these cases.
How does the Laser remove hair?
The laser emits a very specific light beam that is absorbed by the pigment located in the hair follicle. The laser is pulsed, or “turned on,” for a fraction of a second. The duration of the pulses has been carefully determined so that enough energy is absorbed by the hair follicle to disable it but not so much that excess heat is transferred to the surrounding skin, resulting in safe and effective hair removal.
What is the advantage of using laser?
Lasers are precise instruments that can be adjusted to the exact parameters that will specifically disable the hair follicle. The laser uses a wide beam that treats hundreds of hair follicles at once instead of treating hair-by-hair like electrolysis. Because of this, large areas such as legs, arms, or a back can be treated in a short amount of time. You will see results that last far longer than tweezing, waxing, shaving, chemical depilation, or other temporary treatments.
How long will it take?
Because the laser treats many hair follicles at a time, facial areas (lip, chin, etc.) can be treated in five to ten minutes. Small body areas (underarms, bikini, etc.) take less than 15-20 minutes. Larger body areas (full back, legs, arms, etc.) usually take about 30 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the size of the area and the density of the hair.
What happens to the skin after treatment?
Within several minutes of the treatment, the treated area may become slightly red and sometimes bumpy. Some experience a sensation similar to mild sunburn. This reaction subsides within a few minutes to a few hours and the area returns to normal. Since the laser does not burn or cut the skin in any way, no bandages are necessary. You are able to reapply your make-up, return to work, and continue with your normal daily activities. It is recommended that you do not expose treated areas to the sun for several days following treatment. If sun exposure is unavoidable, make sure to apply a high quality sunblock with at least 8% zinc oxide every hour that you are in the sun.
How many treatments will I need?
The laser works by disabling hairs in the active phase of the growth cycle at the time of treatment. Since most hair will be in the dormant stage during treatment, an average of 6 – 8 treatments is usually necessary to disable a majority of the follicles. Because everyone is different and we all have different hormone levels and medical influences, some people may need additional treatments to reach their desired goals.
How often do I need to come in for my treatments?
This depends on which area of the body you are having treated. For the face, treatments are spaced 4 – 6 weeks apart. For treatments on most areas of the body such as bikini and underarms, treatments are spaced 6 – 8 weeks apart. For the legs and back treatments are spaced 8 – 10 weeks apart
Is Laser Hair Removal permanent?
The lasers we use have received FDA approval for “permanent hair reduction.” Once we disable the blood vessels supplying the hair follicles, those particular follicles are permanently destroyed and will not grow back. However, not all of the hair follicles on our body are active and as we get older, inactive hairs will become active. The laser will not keep those hairs from becoming active but once they are, we can treat them successfully. Treatment areas that are influenced by hormones such as the chin can form new follicles more frequently and tend to require more touch-ups. Certain hormone conditions like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and even pregnancy can cause new follicle formation and thus more treatments/touch-ups may be necessary.
Does Laser Hair Removal work on blonde, gray, white or red hair?
Unfortunately, it does not. Occasionally we can get it to work on blonde or red hair if it is dark enough and the skin color is very light. Please schedule a consultation so that we can do a test spot. Normally those with blonde or red hair that is dark enough to be treated will require additional sessions to reach 80 – 90% reduction in hair.
Can I have a Brazilian treatment while menstruating?
Absolutely. Just make sure to use a tampon during your treatment.
Where can I get numbing cream?
You can purchase over-the-counter 4% lidocaine at CVS or Target. If you feel you will need this, make sure to purchase it prior to your treatment. For best results, numbing cream should be applied approximately 45 minutes before your treatment and kept in place with plastic wrap. (When the numbing cream dries out, it becomes ineffective.) You can also get a stronger numbing cream prescription from your doctor. Most clients do just fine without topical numbing products however. We can also provide ice packs during your treatment if necessary.