Laser Hair Removal Geelong

5 Things you need to know about Laser Hair Removal

Permanent reduction of unwanted body and facial hair can be achieved at Geelong Veins, Skin and Laser. Here is what you should know about laser hair removal treatments;

  1. Unwanted hair is a very common problem for many women and men.
  2. The use of Lasers to remove hair has become established as the most effective method of hair removal.
  3. Not all Lasers are the same. Medical grade Lasers in a medical clinic environment will provide the optimum results.
  4. Not all laser practitioners are the same. Fully trained and qualified practitioners in a medical clinic environment will provide the safest results.
  5. Realistic expectations are important as results can vary between different patients and in different areas on the same patient.

What is the best Laser for Hair Removal?

There are 2 quite different types of light technologies used for hair removal, one of which is Lasers and the other being IPL (Intense Pulse Light). Lasers use a specific wavelength (colour) of light to specifically target hair follicles, whereas IPL’s use a broad band of light which is less specific and targets multiple structures in the skin, one of which is the hair follicle. As a general rule Lasers, being more specific, are more effective than IPL’s for laser hair removal. As a general guide medical based practices tend to use Lasers for hair removal whilst beauty salons tend to use IPL’s.

In terms of Lasers there are in fact several different types of Lasers used for hair removal. The gold standard used in the majority of medical based practices is called an Alexandrite laser, the term Alexandrite referring to the type of crystal inside the laser which determines the wavelength of the light it produces (called 755 nanometres). Other types of Lasers that can be used for hair removal are Diode (810 nm), Ruby (694 nm) and YAG (1064 nm). All of these different lasers can have a place in hair removal as different lasers will suit some patients and skin types better than others. At the Geelong Veins, Skin and Laser we have a range of hair removal lasers and this allows us to optimise our hair removal treatments by selecting the most appropriate laser for your hair type and skin type.

Is the treatment permanent?

The short answer is laser hair removal is often permanent but not always. The effectiveness of laser hair removal varies with several factors.

The colour of your hair is important as laser hair removal works better on darker hair as it has more pigment (melanin) to attract the laser light.
The thickness of your hair follicles is important as different thicknesses of hair can require different settings on the laser (called pulse duration).

The type of your skin is important as racial background and skin colour can influence skin reaction and this impacts on both the choice of which laser to use, the power settings and the choice of skin cooling both during and after laser treatment.

The presence of a tan can be critical, and may even require deferral of treatment, as the stimulation of your skin’s melanin by tanning greatly increases the chance of an adverse skin reaction with laser hair removal.

The depth of the hair roots is important as deeper hair roots require the laser beam to penetrate deeper to reach the hair root and this can impact on the choice of how large a laser beam to use (called spot size) as larger spots penetrate deeper. Not all lasers can deliver enough power when a larger spot is used to be effective on deeper hair roots.

Hormonal factors are important as hormones can stimulate hair growth and the laser does nothing to influence hormone levels. Hormonal factors include high levels of the male hormone testosterone, an imbalance between the male and female hormones or a genetic sensitivity to normal hormone levels. Women with the hormonal condition of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (abbreviated PCOS ) often have significant excessive hair growth.

The body area being treated is another variable as some areas of the body respond better than others. Areas like the underarms, bikini line and lower legs in women and chest hair in men tend to respond exceptionally well whereas facial hair, especially in women can often require maintenance treatments.

Using the optimum medical grade laser for your skin and hair type is important. Cheap lasers or IPL’s from China do not work as well as expensive medical grade lasers from regulated markets such as the USA. Regular servicing is critical to having lasers operating at optimal specifications.

Having the treatment performed by an experienced and well trained laser practitioner is also very important. Even if a medical grade laser is being used, it needs someone well trained in its use to have it perform optimally for maximal effectiveness and to use it safely for minimal side effects. Always enquire about qualifications and experience with all laser and cosmetic procedures. At the Geelong Veins, Skin and Laser we have been using medical grade lasers for over 20 years.

What are reasonable expectations?

It is important to have realistic expectations regarding laser hair removal as results can be variable, both between people and in the same person on different areas of the body. At your initial consultation at the Geelong Veins, Skin and Laser a full assessment will be made and a realistic expectation of likely results both in the short term and long term will be given.

As a general guide the majority of patients have a significant reduction in their hair growth in the treated areas within 4-6 treatments. For areas that we expect will do very well such as underarm, bikini line and chest areas we expect a progressive reduction in both the thickness and number of hairs with each session. If a progressive reduction in your hair growth is not occurring then the choice of laser and power settings would be reevaluated. You should not have to wait for a large series of treatments before seeing results.

In patients with more difficult to treat areas such as facial hair in women, especially if there are strong hormonal factors, then the expectation from the outset may be to control rather than cure the hair growth. This means maintenance treatments may be necessary indefinitely. We often find that the duration between maintenance treatments may become further apart over time. It needs to be realised that even in these situations laser hair removal will be giving much better results than other hair removal options such as shaving and waxing. Patients need to make an individual decision on cost effectiveness.

Can all types of hair be treated?

All hair types can be treated but Laser hair removal is going to work best on dark hair. This is because the laser light is attracted to the pigment in the hair, and if you concentrate enough light you get heat, and if you can concentrate enough heat in the root of the hair you can kill the hair. Hair colours such as blonde, grey and red do not attract the laser light as well and subsequently do not tend to respond as well. There can be situations where there are lighter hairs on the surface but darker roots and these can often still respond well as it is the root of the hair that is the target. There is no doubt it is better to treat areas before the hairs become grey with age as the laser hair removal will be more effective.

Can all skin types be treated?

All skin types can be treated but Laser hair removal is generally going to work more effectively on lighter skin than darker skin. This is because the laser light can be delivered at higher settings without causing reaction to the surrounding skin. It is preferable that you are not suntanned in the area that is to be treated at the time of the treatment as you may get more of a skin reaction. Here at the Geelong Veins, Skin and Laser we have a range of hair removal lasers that allow us to optimise laser hair by selecting the most appropriate laser for your hair type, skin colour and skin sensitivity.

Can all areas of the body be treated?

Areas close to the eye need to be treated with caution as the laser being a light source can be attracted to pigment cells in the eye and potentially cause eye damage if not used appropriately. Special eye shields are necessary when treating the face and special laser glasses with specific filters are used to protect the eyes when treating other body areas. This is another reason that laser hair removal using medical grade (what we term Class 4 lasers ) is most safely performed in a medical clinic environment with adherence to the strictest safety standards and policies.

Treatments under the eyebrow are not performed due to it being too close to the eyes. However, any other area of the body can be treated. In women, the most common areas for the removal of unwanted hair are the face, underarms, bikini line and legs. In men the most commonly requested areas to treat are the chest, back, shoulders and upper arms.

How many treatments are necessary?

The number of treatments will vary with the level of improvement required, as some patients want to just get some thinning whereas others want complete removal of hair. The majority of patients have a significant reduction in hair growth in the treated area within 4-6 treatments. However, certain patients sometimes require more treatments, especially those with coarse or lighter hair. Response to laser hair removal varies considerably between different patients and in different areas on the same person. As an example, underarm and bikini line areas tend to be extremely responsive, but facial areas are more likely to need ongoing treatments.

Meet our Dermal Therapist – Kaila Balla

Kaila is a qualified dermal clinician, having completed her Bachelor of Dermal Sciences degree in 2020. She is extremely passionate about skin and strives to share her knowledge and passion to help her clients achieve their skin goals.

She likes to take a holistic treatment approach, assessing all factors that can contribute to the onset of various skin conditions to create personalised treatment plans for her clients.

Kaila has a particular interest in scar reduction and acne management. She has expertise in Skin Needling, Skin Peels and MediFacials, Acupulse CO2 laser, Vascular laser and Pigmentation laser. Skin needling, otherwise known as collagen induction therapy, is Kaila’s favourite treatment – regularly performed in-clinic for the treatment of scarring, ageing concerns and textural irregularities.

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