What is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal puts laser energy to work disabling the hair follicles so that they are unable to grow hair in the future. The FDA has approved the use of lasers for “permanent hair reduction.” Due to hairs being in different phases of the growth cycle, laser hair removal at Cara Mia usually permanently removes 85-90 percent of unwanted hair in the treatment areas.
There isn’t a person on the planet that enjoys the tedium of shaving, plucking, waxing, or using harsh depilatory creams to get rid of unwanted hair. Plus, the irritation is magnified because two or three weeks later you get to do it all over again!
At Cara Mia, we have a better way. Get rid of the hair permanently with our laser hair removal services.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
There are two keys to laser hair removal: melanin and the hair being anchored in the hair follicle. Melanin in your hair provides the hair color (it also gives our skin its color). When laser light energy pulses are directed onto an area of unwanted hair, the melanin absorbs the laser light energy and it converts to heat. That heat then travels down the hair shaft into the follicle damaging the follicle and preventing it from producing hair.
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Laser Hair Removal FAQs
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
First, lasers only damage hair in the anagen (growth) cycle. But hairs can also be in the catagen (transitional phase between growth and rest) or the telogen phase (rest). The catagen and telogen phases involve stopping nourishment to the hair, shedding it, and restarting a new hair shaft. That’s why lasers don’t affect hair in these phases; they’re already on their way out and the laser energy can’t get into the follicle to damage it. Every hair on the human body is independent and works alone. Considering that the human body has around five million hairs on it (men have a few hundred thousand more than women), those are a lot of hair follicles to hope to catch in the anagen phase for effective laser hair removal.
Second, damaged follicles can rebuild with hormonal changes. Plus, if a follicle is only partially damaged, it may heal and begin to regrow hair.
Bottom line, numerous studies show the degree of permanent hair reduction to be from 85 to 90 percent. That’s why the FDA approval for laser hair removal is for “permanent hair reduction.”
Where Can I Have Laser Hair Removal Done?
The most popular areas that we remove hair at Cara Mia Medical Day Spa are the underarms, bikini line, legs, back, upper lip, and chin. Some men opt for full-face hair removal to lessen the burden of daily shaving and for full chest hair removal. Hair can be removed just about anywhere on the body, with these exceptions: inside the ears, inside the nostrils, and the male genitalia.
How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost?
This depends completely on the areas you are treating. Some areas, such as above the upper lip, are covered very quickly, so they cost less. Other areas, such as the legs, are more expensive because they take far more time and laser energy. Once you come in for a laser hair removal consultation at Cara Mia and tell us where you want to get rid of the hair, we can give you a good idea of what it will cost.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Have Laser Hair Removal?
There is no official age for having laser hair removal. Minors need the consent of a parent, however. It is worth considering, however, that if a teenager hasn’t finished puberty, the hair removal results can fluctuate because hormone levels are changing from day to day and this affects the activity of the hair follicles.
Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt?
When the laser delivers its pulses, it feels like a small rubber band is snapped against the skin. To keep you comfortable, we apply a topical numbing cream prior to your session. Also, our laser shoots out a cryogen spray prior to delivering the laser energy to cool and protect the skin in the treatment area. After your treatment is complete, we apply a topical steroid and ice to help with any post-treatment discomfort.
Are There Risks with Laser Hair Removal?
Lasers have been used for laser hair removal for almost 30 years, and the process was extensively tested prior to becoming commercially available. Laser hair removal has proven to be reliable, effective, and safe. The most common side effects after treatment include skin irritation, such as redness and slight swelling on the treatment sites. This usually passes within a few hours.
I’ve Heard Laser Hair Removal Doesn’t Work on Lighter Hair Colors. Is That True?
Since the laser energy targets the melanin in the hair, light hair isn’t as responsive to laser energy. For that reason, removing blonde or white hair is not as successful as darker hair.
Do Tanned or Darker Skin Tones Affect the Laser Hair Removal Procedure?
The laser needs to be set to the wavelength of the melanin in the hair. If the surrounding skin has a high degree of melanin, the laser isn’t as effective at differentiating. For our laser to work on people with darker skin tones, or those who have tanned skin, we have to reduce the energy level of the laser to avoid damaging the adjacent skin.
How Many Laser Hair Removal Treatments Will I Need?
Since our individual hairs are constantly rotating in and out of the growth phase (when the laser energy is effective for damaging the hair follicle), multiple sessions are necessary to catch as many hairs as possible in this phase. At Cara Mia Medical Spa, our experience is that between six and 10 laser hair removal treatments achieves the degree of hair reduction that satisfies most patients. Each session needs to be spaced from 4-6 weeks apart. Annual maintenance sessions can catch any follicles that were only partially damaged and returned to growing hair.
How is Laser Hair Removal Different from Electrolysis?
Electrolysis has been around a long time, since 1875 to be exact. But there are reasons it hasn’t become the de facto standard for hair removal. First, it takes forever. In electrolysis a small needle is inserted into a single hair follicle. The needle delivers up to 20 seconds of electrical current into the follicle, where it converts to heat and damages or destroys the hair follicle. The hair is then manually plucked out of the follicle.
Obviously, since we have roughly five million hairs on our bodies, removing hair from an area such as the legs or face would take, basically, forever. Plus, hairs usually need several treatments to become fully destroyed.
There are other issues with electrolysis. It can spur areas of the skin to change pigmentation. It can be more uncomfortable, as the electricity is delivered for up to 20 seconds per follicle. Many hairs after the initial treatment are only partially damaged. These follicles are then prone to clogging, creating ingrown hairs. Electrolysis also creates scabbing and swelling on the treated follicles. Plus, it can create bruising and dry the skin.
In contrast, laser hair removal uses light energy to target and destroy the hair follicles. Whereas electrolysis addresses just a single follicle at one time, our computer-guided lasers can address large areas of the skin with a single short-duration pulse. This makes for dramatically shorter treatment times. Plus, laser hair removal is more comfortable for the patient; pigmentation changes are virtually non-existent; scarring/scabbing doesn’t happen; and there isn’t a problem with hairs becoming ingrown.
While electrolysis is effective at destroying the follicle regardless of where it is in the growth cycle, there really isn’t a comparison between the two procedures — laser hair removal is far and away the better option.
Cara Mia Day Spa proudly provides patients from Denver, Meridian, Castle Rock, Aurora and Parker, CO with Laser Hair Removal. To schedule an appointment, contact us at (303) 350-4600 or fill out a Contact Form here.