Throughout history, hair removal or reduction has been practiced in many cultures. The Egyptians used a pumice stone to rub away hair. The ancient Turks used a combination of arsenic, quicklime and rosewater as a hair-removal agent. Today even shaving, tweezing, creams, waxing and electrolysis seem a bit crude next to the most recent hair removal technique – the laser. Laser treatments are a safe and effective way to reduce unwanted body and facial hair; even for people of color.
It takes 4 to 13 weeks for hair growth to reach the surface of the skin, and since not all follicles grow at the same time, several laser treatments every few weeks are necessary to obtain the desired results. And the number of treatments varies with each person. Hair density, genetics, age, and hormone levels also factor into the number of treatments a person might require. However, most people experience permanent hair removal in 6 to 10 treatments.
The first question patients ask is “does it hurt?” Most people feel a warm sting as the laser penetrates the hair follicle. Many people describe the sensation as the snap of a rubber band against their skin. There are ways to minimize the discomfort such as a cool gel or topical anesthetic applied to the skin before treatment.
Other questions are “is it safe” and “does it work on all hair colors?” Laser technology is now FDA cleared for permanent hair reduction on all skin types, and in the hands of a trained laser technician it is perfectly safe. However, treatments are most effective on medium to dark hair on any skin type. Fine and light hair is very difficult to treat. Blonde, red, white, and gray hair cannot be treated.
This article was originally published by Murray Riggins, M.D. on MyMASC.com. Dr. Riggins offers cosmetic medical treatments at his Gadsden, Alabama practice, and he provides beauty and health products to customers across the country. Learn more about Instantly Ageless and FGXpress PowerStrips.