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Frequently Asked Questions

Effectiveness Suitability Complications Before Treatment During and After Treatment Science

laser hair removal Effectiveness FAQs

Here are some of your frequently asked questions that relate to the effectiveness of laser treatment for both men and women:

How many sessioms are required?

Many people ask what is laser hair removal and does it work? Normally, to achieve satisfactory results, a series of 3 to 5 treatments are required at 4 to 8 week intervals depending upon the amount, location, colour and type of hair. Following the initial set of treatments, further sessions are usually required at less frequent intervals to keep all the hairs away in a given area.

After a single treatment, the hair in the treated area is usually reduced in amount and thickness for a very long period of time. However, as previously mentioned, it may not be completely all gone. To keep an area completely hair free, maintenance treatments may always be required for some patients. These maintenance treatments may eventually only be required at yearly intervals or even less frequently. The total number of initial treatment sessions and maintenance treatments depends on the area being treated as well as the patient's skin and hair characteristics.

How long does a session take?

One of the main advantages of having laser treatment is the speed of the procedure. The length of the treatment session depends on the size of the area being treated, and the colour of the skin and hair. It is possible for a good candidate to have an entire back treated in 1 to 1½ hours; underarms can be done in a few minutes and an upper lip in less than 1 minute. The table below shows some examples of the durations for treatments for a good candidate.

Men Session time
Back 1 - 1½ hours
Shoulders  30 - 60 minutes

Women Session time
Underarms 1 - 2 minutes
Bikini 5 - 10 minutes
Upper lip 1 minute
Chin 2 - 3 minutes
Legs 1½ - 3 hours

What are the likely results?

Laser hair removal does work and results are often permanent, but it is more likely that patients will experience a 50-80% reduction after 3 treatments, performed 6 weeks apart. Patients will need additional treatments if they wish to remove a larger percentage of their hair.

Do hairs grow back?

Hair removal is accomplished in a series of sessions generally done every 4 to 8 weeks. The average number of treatment sessions required to result in over an 80% permanent hair reduction in 80-90% of good patients is approximately 3 to 6 sessions.

Follicles produce hairs in cycles: when some follicles are growing hairs, others are dormant. It is for this reason that a patient has to have a number of treatments 4-8 weeks apart to catch each follicle in its growth phase. Having multiple sessions ensures that all the hairs are subjected to laser treatment. The hairs that grow between sessions may be shaved by the patient if desired.

Many patients find that additional maintenance sessions done once or twice per year are enough to keep hair at bay after completing the initial set of treatments.

Will my diet have an impact on the treatment?

The common substance in most people's diet that effects laser treatment is beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is found in carrots, vitamin A supplements, squash, and other vegetables. It is deposited in the skin and, when consumed excessively, it results in changes to skin colour of yellow or orange. This colouring absorbs the laser's energy, preventing it from reaching the hair follicles and increasing the chance of blisters or burns to the skin. Patients are advised to reduce the amount of beta-carotene in their diet a few months before treatment, as it can persist for many months after ingestion.

Can I just reduce the density of my hair and yet not remove it all?

Yes, it is possible to achieve this result by having only a few treatments or reducing the machine's power setting. An experienced technician will know how to adjust the laser settings accordingly. By comparing your hair's thickness before and after laser treatment, you will be able to note the reduction in density.


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