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How laser hair removal works

How laser hair removal works
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Laser hair removal is a process whereby our special laser selectively targets the hair inside the follicle, then sends a pulse of energy down it while it’s in its active growth phase.

This energy transforms into heat, which then radiates out to the skin cells within your hair follicle (or pore, if you like), damaging it so it can no longer produce a hair.

Because the heat only gets so far as the nearby cells, the laser can’t damage other skin cells nearby. It is the hair that attracts the laser beam, not the skin cells, which is why in the past, dark hair with light skin was the best combination for laser hair removal. With the right lasers, you can now treat any skin type or tone, but laser hair removal still only works on darker hair. Blonde or red hair presents some issues, but speak to your dermatological clinic for advice and options.

We cannot treat underneath your eyebrows (but we can laser between your eyebrows) and we cannot laser nose or ear hairs. We can laser just about everything else though.

Laser hair removal is not permanent, in the sense that we get the hair in its active growth phase, which is why you need so many treatments over time for the same areas – the active growth phase is, well, phasic, so hairs come and go all the time. Some hair follicles may be dormant, and therefore a hair may appear after your treatments have long finished. Laser hair removal gives you more like 85 per cent removal at the end of your treatments, even if it seems like 100 per cent at the time. Many changes can cause hair to appear later on, such as hormone changes.

Some people will see a light fuzz appear, which can be shaved, waxed or depilated another way, or just left. It can be very light and inconsequential, but further treatments later in life may be necessary for a smoother finish. Some hairs may have been missed so sometimes you may need to remove small patches every now and again.

The risks of laser hair removal are low with properly operated lasers, by experienced, trained practitioners. Burns are the biggest risk, when the laser has been incorrectly set for your skin type and tone. Second on the risky list is getting sunburnt on lasered skin afterwards – your skin is delicate post-treatments, and sunburn can really damage it, causing pigmentation issues.

In the past, lasers used in hair removal could be really painful and take much longer to get the same results. Newer lasers are virtually pain free and treatments are incredibly fast and efficient. The handpieces have cooling pads that ice over, keeping the skin cool.

If you have tattoos on any area that you want laser hair removal, it won’t be possible, because the tattoo pigment confuses the laser and will cause burns. This is because any darker or coloured patch will attract the laser beam, which in the case of a tattoo is your skin, not a hair. This doesn’t mean you can’t get laser hair removal (call our Melbourne clinic for a consultation), but that your practitioner will avoid the tattooed area and you’ll need to remove the hair from it another way.

Laser hair removal, even though it’s not perfect, is the longest-lasting hair removal option we have available to us. There is no razor burn, no ingrown hairs, and hair growth – when it does occur – is sporadic and manageable.

Spend your time doing something more fun than shaving!
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