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Laser Hair Removal

Unwanted hair is a problem for many men and women. Advances in laser technology have resulted in the development of Lasers as a safe, fast, gentle and effective method of hair removal. At the Cosmetic & Laser Medical Centre we have a range of hair removal lasers, allowing us to optimise laser hair removal treatment by selecting the most appropriate laser for your hair type, skin colour and skin sensitivity.

Laser Hair Removal for Women

Some women have excess facial or body hair which is difficult to manage, whilst others simply find waxing or shaving can be unsatisfactory because of rashes or ingrown hairs..

Facial hair has been the commonest area treated but we now find women are treating ALL parts of the body. Extended bikini line and Brazilians are now possible. Laser hair removal is a often very attractive and economical option compared to a lifetime of waxing or shaving.

Laser Hair removal for Men

If you’re the sort of guy who’s already removing your hair, you’re probably tired of shaving or using depilatory cream. Or worse, waxing! Waxing hurts like hell, and both shaving and waxing leave an angry, itchy rash or pimples for days. Not a good look! Fortunately, laser is a better alternative and will last months instead of days. Popular areas for men is shoulders, back, chest, stomach and groin regions.

For more information on hair removal in men go to Laser Hair Removal

How does Laser Hair Removal work?

A LASER is a machine that can produce a concentrated beam of light of a very specific wavelength (colour). The Lasers that are most effective for hair removal produce light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicles. If enough light is concentrated in the root of the hair follicle ,where the pigment is made, it results in heating of the hair. If enough heat is produced in the hair root the hair follicle can be damaged or destroyed.

Hair follicles have a cycle of growth with some hairs being in resting, active and transition phases at any point in time. Hair follicles are most vulnerable to laser heating when they are in an active growth phase, and hence a series of laser treatments are needed to progressively target different hairs when they are most susceptible.

The top 9 things you need to know

  1. Laser Hair Removal is the most effective method of long-term hair removal available a.k.a “permanent hair reduction” and it generally takes 4-6 treatments in total.
  2. There are many different brands of hair removal laser machines which vary considerably in their quality and possible results. IPL (intense pulsed light) is not a laser.
  3. Victoria has no regulation to safeguard the public on who can use hair removal lasers unlike some other states
  4. Laser Hair Removal is a very safe procedure when performed correctly but skin damage, burns or inferior results can occur with cheap equipment or unqualified operators.
  5. Realistic expectations are important as results can vary both between people and for the same person on different areas of the body.
  6. Most skin colours and skin types can be treated but skin should not be suntanned at the time of Laser Hair Removal. It is most effective on darker hair or darker hair that contrasts well with skin colour. Blonde, grey and red hairs are less responsive.
  7. The most common areas treated in women are face, underarm, bikini line and legs, whereas in men the back, shoulders, upper arms and chest are the most popular.
  8. If the cost for Laser Hair Removal is far lower than in a medical laser clinic then there is almost certainly a compromise on laser quality, clinic facilities and/or the qualifications of the practitioner.
  9. The best and safest results in Laser Hair Removal are when a medical grade laser is used in a medical laser clinic by experienced practitioners with University qualifications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Certain areas like the underarm and bikini line in women and the chest area in men seem to be very responsive to treatment with excellent long term clearance. Other areas like the face in women and the back in men whilst they have great short to medium term results are more likely to require regular maintenance treatments.

The most common areas requested for treatment in women are the face, underarm, bikini line and lower legs. The most common areas that men want treated are the back, shoulders, upper arms and chest.

We do not recommend treatment before puberty and advise caution in treating fine, light coloured, immature hair follicles (Vellus hair) by laser as it may actually stimulate the hairs to develop into thicker and darker mature hairs.

All skin types can be treated however you should not be sun tanned at the time of treatment as you may get more skin reaction.

In darker skin colours a different type of laser that is not as strongly attracted to skin pigment may need to be used for hair removal. Cooling of the skin during and after treatment is also very important when treating darker skin types to reduce the risk of skin damage because of the larger amount of natural skin pigment.

Whilst all areas of the body can theoretically have hair removal treatment we would advise care around the eye area and to not treat eyelashes or hairs on the underside of the eyebrows.

Laser hair removal works best on darker pigmented hair. Darker hair and lighter skin (contrast) predict a better result. Blonde, grey and red hairs do not respond as well as darker hairs. White hairs are almost impossible to target as there is no pigment in the hair for the laser light to target.

Various methods have been tried to improve the results of laser removal of white hairs, such as applying a dye to the hair before laser or combining laser with suction devices and radio frequency technology, but to date none have been very successful. White hairs are best treated by electrolysis.

In Summary, darker hair and lighter skin predict a better result, however some patients will have hair roots that are situated much deeper and are more difficult to treat and may require more treatments.

All areas of the body can be treated other than under the eyebrows as this is too close to the eyes. The most common areas treated in women include the face, underarms, bikini line and legs, and in men the back, shoulders, upper arms and chest

Certain areas like the underarm and bikini line in women and the chest area in men seem to be very responsive to treatment with excellent long term clearance. Other areas like the face in women and the back in men whilst they have great short to medium term results are more likely to require regular maintenance treatments.

Laser a very safe procedure when performed correctly but skin damage and burns can occur especially with cheap equipment or unqualified operators.

Hair removal lasers are classified as CLASS 4 lasers because they have the potential to cause eye damage and there have been reports of hair removal lasers causing eye injuries. Specialised eyewear must be worn by patients and by operators when performed.
Lasers generate heat and as such when not used correctly can cause skin damage including burns, blisters, altered skin pigment and even scarring. Cases of skin infection after hair removal in beauty salons have also been reported.

There are reports of lasers being used for hair removal actually doing the reverse and stimulating hair growth. This is called Paradoxical Hypertrichosis and seems to occur much more commonly when low powered machines are used for hair removal as in beauty salons.
Topical anaesthetic creams are widely used to numb the skin for cosmetic procedures. Some of these anaesthetic creams may be purchased without a medical prescription but the use of topical anaesthetic creams before treatment should be medically supervised as there have been two reports of women aged 22 and 25 years old who applied topical anaesthetic cream to their legs for hair removal having seizures and dying.

Hair removal using medical grade CLASS 4 lasers needs to be thought of as a medical procedure more than a simple beauty treatment.

You probably are if you answer yes to the below

Do you have dark hair and light skin?
Do you play sport or enjoy cycling?
Do you currently wax or shave your legs, back, shoulders, chest or arms?
Do you prefer your skin smooth and hair free with no ingrown hairs?

There are reasons cheap treatments are offered, which include that compromises are being made, notably on the quality of the equipment being used, the quality of the facilities, and the qualifications and experience of the laser operator. The old expression ‘you get what you pay for’ certainly applies.

As a guide in a medical laser clinic using a top of the range medical grade laser performed by an experienced laser practitioner with a University degree, expect to pay for small areas like the face or underarms $100-150 per treatment and for larger areas such as the lower legs around $300 per treatment.

At the Cosmetic and Laser Medical Centre we do provide discount packages if multiple areas are being treated or if a larger series of treatments are necessary. Contact us for package prices.

Realistic expectations are important as results can vary both between people and in the same person on different areas of the body. Whilst there is no doubt that medical grade lasers are the most effective method for long term hair removal, response to treatment can be variable. The initial medical consultation is very important to assess the medical and family history of a patient, medications, the pattern and severity of hair growth and possible hormonal factors. This information allows us to give realistic expectations of likely response to treatment in both the short term and long term. Sometimes a small area is treated to see how a patient’s hair responds to laser before a full treatment is undertaken. This is called a test patch and it also serves to give a patient an idea of what the process feels like and what sort of skin reaction to expect after treatment.

The number of treatments varies with the area being treated, the type of hair, hormonal factors and the level of improvement required. The majority of patients have a significant reduction in hair growth with 4 to 6 treatments. However, some patients require follow up and maintenance treatments.

It is important to realise that response to treatment can vary considerably between people and in the same person between different body areas.

With successful treatment there should be a progressive reduction in the number and thickness of hairs with each successive laser hair removal. If regrowth after hair removal occurs much quicker than expected or no significant reduction is occurring in the amount of hair being removed, then the laser treatment settings and/or expectations need to be reassessed.
Results should be progressive and you should not need to wait for a long series of treatments before seeing results you are happy with.

Patients with hormonal conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are also much more likely to require regular maintenance treatments because of ongoing hormonal factors stimulating further hair growth

Just as there are no regulatory controls on the quality of laser machines that can be used in Victoria, there are also no regulatory controls on who can perform laser hair removal or where it can be done.
There is a difference between a beautician who has done a 2 day laser safety course and a Dermal therapist who has done a 3 year Bachelor degree at University.

There is a difference in an experienced laser practitioner who can assess and provide realistic expectations then treat with appropriate settings on a medical grade laser with the optimal treatment technique.

There is a difference between treatment in a specialised laser medical clinic rather than treatment in a shop at a strip shopping centre.
There is a difference having medical supervision to reduce the chance of complications in the first instance and then secondly having medical expertise available should any problems arise.
Consumers need to be aware of the unregulated nature of Laser Hair Removal and consider factors other than just price.

Treatments can be performed during pregnancy as laser light is not a form of ionising radiation which can damage cellular DNA. This also means that female laser practitioners can continue to perform treatments if they are pregnant. However, we do advise not treating the abdominal or bikini line areas during pregnancy. This is because of the theoretical risk that laser light applied directly over the womb may be absorbed to some degree by the developing eyes of the unborn baby.

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