Being human means having hair. Unfortunately, this growth isn’t limited to our heads, and thanks to centuries of tradition, we’re still searching for ways to remove unwanted hair from many spots. At Still Waters Day & Medical Spa in Pensacola, FL, we say search no more. Put down your razors, tuck away your tweezers, and toss your depilatory creams, because laser hair removal is safe, effective, and far easier than techniques that require daily diligence.
How Permanent Is Laser Hair Removal?
A laser can permanently remove hair, but time and patience are both necessary. Hair follicles must be destroyed, not merely damaged, to prevent future growth, and we achieve this with multiple treatments. You’ll therefore need to commit to an entire treatment plan that will take into consideration the area to be treated, your skin health, and hair thickness.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Patients sometimes get discouraged with laser hair removal because they continue to see growth while in the midst of treatment. This is completely normal for several reasons. First, individual body hairs never grow at the same rate, and they’re never in the same growth stage at once. Each laser session can therefore only target certain hairs.
In addition, until each follicle is completely destroyed, the hair will continue to grow even from damaged follicles. But the color will be lighter and the texture thinner, indicating the follicle is growing weaker and treatment is working as expected. If you continue to the end of your treatment plan, you’ll have the smooth, hair-free canvas you want; if you don’t, you’ll have substantially reduced hair growth that occasionally still needs to be shaved.
A Word on Hair Growth
All hair, regardless of where on your body it’s located, grows around 0.3 mm per day. The difference between body and head hair is in how long it takes each to complete the growth cycle, marked by three stages:
- Anagen, the active stage
- Catagen, the transition between the first and third stages
- Telogen, the resting phase
All three stages occur simultaneously, meaning each hair behaves independently. But we have no idea which strand is at which point. If hair grew at the exact same rate, it would all fall out at once. Around 90% of hair is in the anagen phase at any given time. Only 2% is in the catagen phase, and around 10% is in the telogen phase.
Explaining Laser Treatment
Body hair remains in the anagen phase for 30 to 45 days, compared to two to six years for head hair. The longer hair stays in this stage, the longer it will grow – with a caveat; body hair stops growing at 2.7cm to 5.4cm, whether you regularly try to remove it or not (head hair has no limit to its growth).
The catagen phase lasts around 10 days. Growth at this point completely stops. The hair bulb is pushed upwards, and the hair itself looks thick. The final phase, telogen, is remarkable because it’s impossible to say how long it will last. For the legs, up to six months, and for the upper lip, up to two months. Once this stage is complete, the hair is ejected (shed), and the anagen phase starts again.
Timing Is Everything
Laser hair removal treatment only targets hair in the anagen phase because this is when a strand can attract and absorb the energy emitted. The laser works by sending light down the hair shaft and into the follicle. That light energy is then converted to heat which, in turn, destroys the follicle. Once destroyed, the follicle can no longer grow hair.
In the resting phase, blood flow is cut off from the root and the hair is already in preparation for shedding. Once shed, the root has no hair that can detect and transmit the laser energy. Thus, anagen is the phase we need for treatment, and this explains why you will need several sessions to enjoy full and lasting results.
A Laser Upgrade: The Splendor X
The first laser designed for hair removal earned FDA approval in 1995. Since then, a number of different lasers have been designed to align with technology upgrades:
- The LightSheer (Diode) laser, largely considered the most popular for removing hair
- The LightSheer Duet, a faster and safer treatment than its predecessor
- The Alexandrite, regarded as highly safe but limited in speed
The Diode and Alexandrite proved ineffective for darker skin tones, therefore limiting the range of patients who could receive treatment. The Splendor X solves this and other problems with blended wavelengths that can safely treat all skin types. We simply adjust as appropriate to reflect your skin’s unique tone. And although some lasers previously employed two wavelengths, they did not deliver the blended output of the Splendor X.
At this point, you might be wondering why we’re talking about the Splendor X at all. Our office uses this laser because of its proven versatility. We’re also confident in its abilities, including faster and fewer sessions, achieved with a unique square pulse that overcomes uneven treatments.
Circular outputs are known for inefficiently skipping and overlapping treatment areas. The Splendor X employs a marking system that glows in the dark so we can place pulses directly beside each other with minimal overlap. Again, this is owed to the shape of the pulse so treatment more effectively targets an entire area.
This system also takes advantage of a double cooling system comprised of integrated air chilling and a chilled sapphire tip. These effects ensure both your safety and comfort. By chilling your skin’s surface, the laser preferentially heats deeper tissues where hair follicles are located; this means they’re less likely to be attracted to your skin’s pigment, therefore keeping the surface unharmed.
The earliest lasers took 45 to 60 minutes to remove back hair. The LightSheer Duet cut this to 15 minutes, but the Splendor X is even faster. It can treat the back in about six minutes, substantially reducing the time you need to spend in treatment.
As a side note, this system also includes a built-in suction feature to remove the plume of the vaporized hair. Patients have complained about this in prior years because the plume emits an unpleasant odor. More important than eliminating that odor, we also reduce any negative side effects the plume may pose. You can therefore rest easy in knowing this treatment is highly effective and safe.
All the Details
Many patients are sick of repetitive hair removal techniques and desperately want laser; but they fear the pain. While this may have been a valid concern years ago, today’s treatments are far more advanced. As we discussed earlier, the Splendor X is especially comfortable because of a dual cooling system and shorter treatment times. The point is if you’ve delayed treatment out of fear, you no longer have anything to worry about.
It’s important you arrive at every session properly prepared. This means cleanly shaving the treatment area 24 hours prior to treatment. A traditional razor is fine, but you should avoid electric razors because they can leave hair too long. Don’t pluck, wax, or tweeze the area; these techniques remove hair from below the skin’s surface and can render laser ineffective. Shaving is the only recommended prep method. You should also:
- Keep the treated area free of lotion, deodorant, makeup, and cream prior to your appointment
- If you don’t have time to clean before you arrive at our office, let us know
- Avoid sun exposure, which can make the skin more vulnerable to irritation
The heat emitted from the laser will stay in your skin for a while, so you’ll want to avoid additional heat exposure like that from hot showers, saunas, and the gym. If you don’t follow this recommendation, you increase your chances for a skin infection.
The days after treatment are ideal for establishing a skincare regimen that includes sunscreen. Just as sun exposure before laser can make your skin more sensitive, the same is true following therapy. But you can easily protect your skin by smoothing on products with at least SPF 30.
Consider Proper Skincare
You’ll want to give some thought to the skincare products you use after treatment. Anything containing glycolic acid or retinol should be avoided for two days. Scrubs are likewise off the table. Also, forego chemical peels and delay tanning for about two weeks. If your skin feels a bit drier after laser, opt for face mists or thicker, nutrient-rich moisturizers to deliver the hydration you need.
More Benefits Than One
As if permanent hair removal wasn’t enough enticement, laser offers additional benefits that include clearer skin. That’s right – without the presence of pesky hairs, your skin is free of the debris that gets trapped between strands. You’ll also enjoy fewer ingrown hairs because the laser doesn’t nip hair at the skin, where it can grow back with an irritating blunt end. Instead, it zaps the root for complete removal, meaning fewer bumps and a softer canvas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many patients want to know where laser hair removal can be done. The simple answer is almost everywhere. More specifically, it’s ideal for:
- Bikini area
- Upper lip
Remember that different treatment areas will likely require different treatment plans. And if you want to target more than one spot, simply let us know during your consultation.
Why Does My Hair Grow Slowly?
Hair growth can be impacted by a variety of factors, including stress, genetics, and hormones. Data from the National Institutes of Health indicates that seasonal changes also influence hair growth; you can expect a 10% upshoot in the summer versus the winter.
Who Can Have Laser Treatment?
Our office treats men and women alike; the former often want to remove hair from their backs and necks, while the latter usually target their legs, bikini lines, and underarms. We can also treat patients of all hair colors and skin types. In the past, lasers weren’t as versatile, but the Splendor X is designed for nearly everyone.
Simplify Your Life
In today’s fast-paced world, simplicity is everything. Laser hair removal – simple and effective – can permanently stop hair growth in targeted areas. You’ll need a series of sessions, but thanks to a faster and safer tool, results will quickly develop. Schedule your consultation today by calling Still Waters Day & Medical Spa in Pensacola, FL.