Laser Hair Removal FAQs
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal is a non-invasive light therapy that safely eliminates unwanted hair from any and all parts of the body. At GLO MD Wellness, Dr.Diana Nguyen and our Registered Nurses use the CoolGlide Nd:YAG Laser by Cutera XEO for laser hair removal. A pulse of concentrated light is emitted through a small, cooled handpiece which is applied to the treatment site for both treatment of the hair follicle and cooling of the skin. The laser energy safely passes through the skin and is absorbed by the pigment in the hair and hair follicle, causing selective damage to the hair root but not the surrounding skin structure. As the heat targets and inactivates the follicle, it prevents the hair from growing again.
What areas can be treated?
You’re in luck— Laser hair removal can be treated anywhere on the body! Well, almost anyway. For safety reasons, we do not treat near the eyes (e.g. eye lashes) except for in between the eyebrows (unibrow). We also do not treat on or near tattoos as it may cause damage to the tattoo and/or skin. Other than that, we can treat unwanted hair on any body parts of the body.
What are the most popular areas for laser hair removal?
The most popular areas are bikini line or brazilian, facial hair, underarms, and legs for women while back, chest, stomach, full or partial face, and neck are most common for men. There’s always a full body option available if you’re looking for full smoothness!
Which individuals can benefit from laser hair removal?
Anyone with unwanted hair can benefit from laser hair removal. Pigmented hair (e.g. black or brown) is treated with our Cutera XEO CoolGlide Nd: YAG while nonpigmented hair (e.g. gray or blonde hair) may be treated with Cynosure Palomar Icon. It’s additionally beneficial for those who struggle with in-grown hairs, razor burn, or time-consuming hair maintenance. Also, the darker the hair the more effective the results since the laser’s energy targets pigment. Lighter hairs may require more treatments to achieve a desired result.
How does laser hair removal compare to other hair removal methods?
Other options for hair removal, such as shaving, waxing, plucking, threading, and depilatories, leave the hair follicle intact. By doing so, it allows hair re-growth in days for short-term hair reduction. The only treatments that target the hair follicle, producing long-term hair reduction, are laser hair removal and electrolysis. Compared to electrolysis, laser hair removal is less painful and is much quicker, allowing for treatment of multiple and/or large areas in a single session.
Laser hair removal vs. electrolysis?
Electrolysis probes each individual hair follicle, zaps the root with an electrical charge, followed by removal of the hair with tweezers. Sounds fun, right? Only if you enjoy a slow, tedious and painful process! Laser hair removal is a less painful and more efficient treatment, targeting dozens of hair follicles with each pulse (which are only a fraction of a second each!). Electrolysis often requires years of treatment versus laser hair removal usually achieve desired results within 6 to 8 treatment.
Is laser hair removal FDA approved?
Laser hair removal with our laser systems, Cutera Coolglide XEO Nd: YAG and Cynosure Palomar Icon, are FDA approved. At GLO MD Wellness, safety is a priority and that is why we use laser devices that are proven to be safe and effective for our patients.
What kind of results can I expect and are they permanent?
While we love laser hair removal, we also know it has its limitations. You may still have some remaining hair after completion of a series of treatments. However, the amount of hair along with its thickness will have reduced-- leaving sparse areas of lighter, finer hair that will take longer to grow back than before you had your treatment. Areas vary and some stubborn areas will require more treatments than others. It is important to remember that occasional touch-ups will be necessary to maintain results.
How many treatments will I need?
Most areas will require 6 to 8 treatments. However, each individual is different and may experience different results—which also applies to hair on different parts of the body. The laser hair removal rule of the thumb is that the thicker and darker the hair, the better the results. For example, the bikini line and underarms treat better than facial hair (for women).
Why does it take so many treatments?
Laser hair removal is great at destroying the hair follicles actively growing during the time of treatment. However, there are still hair follicles that aren’t currently going through its active growth cycle during one of your treatment session or are too light in pigment for the laser to pick up each time. With multiple treatments, we are able to target each hair follicle multiples times (even if it’s not every time).
How long in between treatments?
Treatments are ideally spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart for the first 3-4 sessions and then can be spaced 8 weeks apart for the few remaining sessions. This allows enough time for the hair to go through its growth cycle for the next treatment.
Does the type of hair make a difference in results?
Yes, hair color and thickness is a significant factor in laser hair removal. As the Cutera Coolglide XEO Nd: YAG detects pigment, thicker and darker hair provide an ideal target whereas the Cynosure Palomar Icon is able to pick up nonpigmented hair such as blond hair. Very fine hair (e.g. peach fuzz) may not be able to be effectively treated as the lasers may not be able to detect the follicle as well as thicker, more coarse hair.
What are the risks and possible side effects?
Our laser hair removal systems are constructed to perform treatment safely and we take great measure to assure the settings are appropriate for your skin type. However, there is always a risk of complications with any laser treatment. These include but are not limited to: blistering, prolonged or temporary irritation (redness, itching, scabbing, bruising, and swelling), hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation, and burns. These complications are rare and but should they occur, they typically resolve in a few days to several months. It is also your responsibility to communicate with our medical team with any changes to your skin, medications, and lifestyle (i.e recent sun exposure, exercising outdoors, topical and oral medications, burns or injuries). It is recommended to avoid tanning and spray tans two weeks prior; topical active ingredients, chemical peels, and exfoliation 5 days to 2 weeks prior to your treatment. Please contact our office for more specific details based on your recent skin activities.
Is laser hair removal safe during pregnancy?
Technically it is safe to treat a pregnant individual but due to the lack of information about the effect on the fetus, we do not treat those who are pregnant. We care about both your health and your child and would be happy to treat you after your pregnancy.
Does laser hair removal hurt?
Yes, it is uncomfortable but tolerable. We’ve best described each laser pulse as a “snapping rubber band” sensation. The Cutera Coolglide XEO Nd: YAG is designed to provide some comfort with the cold gold-tipped handpiece, providing a cooling glide following the laser pulse. Most of our patients do not require numbing cream but we do offer it for an additional charge. Icing is complimentary for your treatment. Silver lining: Your treatment is quick and the results are long-lasting!
Is there downtime and what are my post-care instructions?
There is no downtime with laser hair removal. You can go back to work or normal activity right after treatment. There may be some residual redness or irritation that will usually fade in 2-4 hours. We recommend avoiding strenuous exercise or excessive sweating until the following day. Use of sunscreen is recommended. You should avoid sun exposure and tanning (including tanning beds) to the treated area for a few days.
Why does it look like hair is still growing after the treatment?
The laser does not extract or remove the hair follicle during treatment. The heat of the laser targets the hair follicle which will then proceed to slowly be expelled from the skin during the following days. After each treatment, the hair growth and density in the treated area will be reduced. It is normal to still see some hair after your treatment. The hairs may also be easily removed during a shower days later.
Can I wax or pluck in between treatments?
No. It is important to avoid removing the root of the hair from the follicle, including tweezing or waxing. The laser targets the hair follicle’s pigment, but if there isn’t any hair follicle, then there isn’t any pigment to target. You may shave as often as you’d like—which eventually won’t even be as often thanks to your laser hair removal treatment!
How do I prepare for my laser hair removal treatment?
It is required that you shave the night before or the morning of your appointment for a clean, close shave. Even if you do not want the whole area treated, it is better to shave more than less. For females, we recommend avoiding appointments during your menstrual cycle as you are more sensitive during that time period. As a courtesy to our laser technician, we appreciate you thoroughly shaving and washing yourself before your appointment.
At GLO MD Wellness Spa, your safety and experience is important to us.
Our team is more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact our clinic at 714.559.5436 for more information or to book an appointment.