Even though laser hair removal is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in the U.S.—it enjoys a 94% “worth it” rating from patients on the RealSelf website—it’s also among the least understood procedures. In this blog post, we’re going to clear up some misconceptions about laser hair removal, which attracts women and men from Merrillville, Valparaiso, and throughout northwest Indiana to our Schererville location.
Before laser technology was used for hair removal treatments, you had to rely on a process called electrolysis to avoid the daily hassle of shaving or the painful experience of waxing to keep your legs or other areas smooth. Electrolysis permanently removes hair, but it is a painstakingly slow process that requires several treatments to get the desired results. It wasn’t so comfortable, either, as the treatment involves delivering electric heat energy through small needles that are stuck into individual hair follicles.
The emergence of laser hair removal provided men and women with a safe and effective treatment alternative that is now preferred by most patients. At our practice, we use the high-speed Lumenis LightSheer® laser platform, which is approved by the FDA for hair reduction.
Laser Hair Removal Facts
Among the questions patients have about laser hair removal, one of the most common is about how long the results last. So let’s start with that one and then address a few others that we hear quite often at Dr. Galante’s practice.
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
The short answer is no. As I noted above, the LightSheer laser is approved by the FDA for hair reduction. But even though some hair may grow back, it’s typically lighter and sparser than the original hair. Hair follicles targeted by laser treatments grow significantly less hair after the procedure.
How Long Do Results Last?
So, if the hair isn’t removed permanently, how long do the results last? Each person is different, of course, but typically patients can expect results to last for up to a year before any kind of maintenance treatment is needed. Some women and men see very little regrowth for years. Hormonal changes, such as when a woman becomes pregnant, may stimulate additional growth.
How Many Treatment Sessions Are Needed?
Most patients see some results after a single laser treatment, but the cyclical nature of hair growth requires multiple sessions to get the desired outcomes. We may recommend 4 to 6 treatment sessions, spaced about a month apart, which can result in hair reduction of up to 90%.
Does it Hurt?
People’s tolerance for discomfort varies, so it’s not possible to guarantee a pain-free procedure. It also depends on the sensitivity of the treatment area. Some patients describe the sensation as similar to a rubber band snapping against the skin. Most of our patients tolerate the procedure quite well. Taking ibuprofen before the appointment can also help.
These answers are all based on choosing a provider with extensive experience performing laser aesthetic treatments. Having someone who is less experienced or not adequately trained to perform laser hair removal procedures elevates the risks of discoloration or burns. Many salons offer discounted laser hair removal treatments, but typically the savings isn’t worth the increased risk.