For years, those with darker skin tones were not a good fit for laser hair reduction (or using lasers for any treatment). There was a risk of hypopigmentation, or unwanted skin lightening. That is no longer the case thanks to the Candela GentleMax Pro laser which uses dual wavelengths including 755 nm Alexandrite and 1064 nm Long-Pulsed Nd:YAG. Alexandrite is reserved for lighter skin tones while the YAG option is safe to use on those with more melanin. At Palo Alto Laser and Skin Care, we are committed to providing you with the best options to achieve beautiful results—and since winter is prime time for laser hair reduction, now you can get gorgeous results regardless of your skin tone.
It is important to remember that lasers offer hair reduction, not removal. Total removal can only be achieved by electrolysis, which is a very painful, expensive, and long-term procedure. Electrolysis electrocutes the follicles, but figuring out the exact strength needed to “zap” the follicles for good is trial and error no matter how skilled the provider is. In other words, if you go with electrolysis, there’s a good chance you will have to treat follicles multiple times. Plus, electrolysis can only address one follicle at a time. It will take years to remove hair from some areas via electrolysis. However, laser hair reduction can dramatically reduce hair growth quickly and efficiently. Many patients achieve such a drastic reduction that they stop shaving and waxing for weeks, months, or even permanently.
What to Expect with Laser Hair Reduction
Regardless of your skin tone, laser hair reduction is still reserved for darker hairs. Removing blonde hairs, such as peach fuzz, is only achievable via common depilatory methods such as dermaplaning. The removal of darker hairs will require a few sessions of laser hair reduction. The exact number of treatments will depend on multiple factors, but you will get an estimate during a consultation for this treatment. Around six treatments are usually needed, with each appointment spaced one month apart. This means that if you start laser hair reduction right now, you can get the full results in time for summer.
Time between treatments is critical. This allows for new cycles of hair growth. Just like with electrolysis, hairs need to be present in order to be treated with lasers. Hairs do not have to be long, but you should avoid shaving for at least one week before your appointment. Waxing should be avoided entirely while you are undergoing laser hair reduction.
Immediately after laser hair reduction, skin can be pink for a few hours. This usually subsides by the next day. You may or may not notice that hairs are gone right after your treatment, but don’t worry. Even if hairs remain, this is a temporary state. You will start to see improvement one month after your first session. In terms of discomfort, this varies from person to person. Most clients compare laser hair reduction to the snap of a rubber band against the skin. Of course, the area being treated also makes a difference. Laser treatments on the bikini area tend to be less comfortable than underarms. Numbing agents are available for sensitive skin.
If you get laser hair reduction in an area that is exposed to the sun, such as the upper lip or the forearms, it is important to re-commit to sun protection. Even in the winter months, UV rays can do damage and skin is going to be more sensitive after any laser treatment. Although this particular laser is renowned for laser hair reduction, it can also be effective in lessening wrinkles, unwanted hyperpigmentation, and even stubborn types of hyperpigmentation like melasma. This can be an added perk of the treatment, or you may choose to have laser treatment on other areas of the face/body specifically to treat such skin concerns. Regardless, protecting the skin from the sun’s rays after any laser treatment is crucial.
To find out more about laser hair reduction and see if you’re a good candidate, connect with our skin care experts today. Contact us today by calling the office or, for the quickest response, complete the online contact form.