A laser light beam is used to target the hair follicles, sending energy down the hair shaft, killing the cells that make the hair. Once the follicle is destroyed, it can no longer make hair. Hair growth has a cycle, and the follicles are vulnerable to the laser energy only in certain parts of the hair cycle. Typically about 15-20% of the hairs are in the right part of the cycle at any given time– this is why it takes multiple treatments to clear an area of hair.
The most popular areas that men seek laser hair removal for are the back and chest. Eliminating the hair on the stomach and neck is also very popular. Other areas of the body that can be treated include the backside, between the eyebrows (monobrow), ears, nose, forehead, groin area, and bikini line.
Yes. Once a follicle is killed, it cannot regrow. However, the body slowly recruits new dark terminal hairs, especially in areas affected by hormones. Over time, new hairs may appear in the treated areas. Once treated, you may want a touch-up in any given area if enough hairs appear. Some people do a touch up once or twice a year, while others do not find this necessary.
As discussed above, the hair must be in the right part of the hair cycle to be most sensitive to the laser energy (the growth phase). Because of this, the treatments should be timed with the growth cycle of the hairs, and this timing is different for different body parts. Most treatments are 6-8 weeks apart, and most body parts will require on average 6 treatments. Some areas respond more quickly, and others more slowly. It also depends on what kind of laser is being used. The best lasers will be much more effective and require fewer treatments.
Because men typically treat large areas like the back, the speed of the laser is very important. The best lasers for hair removal are dual-wavelength lasers which include both Alexandrite AND Nd-Yag wavelengths. These lasers can be used to treat men with any skin type: Alexandrite for lighter skin and Nd-Yag for darker skin. Some lasers have technology that allows them to glide over the skin very quickly– making treatments of the back take mere minutes. Always ask what kind of laser is being used. At Glow, we like the Clarity II, the fastest in the industry. But there are many lasers that work well.
The only preparation needed is to shave thoroughly before the treatment. The laser is targeting the pigment in the hair. The energy of the laser needs to travel down the hair into the follicle to kill the stem cells. The laser can “see” the bit of hair right at the pore. Any extra hair sticking out of the skin will be burned off by the laser, and only contributes to burning hair smell. It does not help the treatment at all. Most people shave the night before or the morning of the treatment.
Certain topical skin treatments need to be stopped before Laser Hair removal, like retinols. If you are treating any area of the face or neck, these should be stopped 5-7 days before treatment.
A good treatment will result in a bit of redness and swelling around the follicles. This may last minutes to hours. The hairs treated will come out of the skin over the next few days. This will appear like the hair is growing however, this is merely the skin expelling the dead hair. This hair will then fall out on its own in a few days. The treatment itself is not particularly painful– the best lasers have cooling that make the treatment very tolerable. If you are treating a very sensitive area it may be a bit hot and prickly. There is no pain at all following the treatment.
Imagine never having to shave or wax ever again! This is the most obvious benefit.
In addition, all of the issues with shaving and waxing also disappear with the hair. No more razor burn or ingrown hairs. No more prickly stubble. Also, less hair means less odor and less sweat.
If you are considering laser hair removal in Seattle, always research the clinic providing the service. Go to a provider with lots of experience and a top quality laser. This is a real medical service and should be supervised by a knowledgeable physician.