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Laser Hair Removal Frequently Asked Questions

How does it work?

The laser works by targeting the melanin found in the follicles of growing hair, and traveling down until it finds the bulb (root) of the hair, which it then disables. You will need multiple treatments because the hair follicle is only attached to the bulb during its growth stage, and not all the hair is in the growth stage at the same time. The treatments will be spread out so that there is time for another cycle of hair to start growing. Laser hair removal is considered to be a reduction because it cannot remove the hair that has little to no pigment, like gray and blonde hairs.

Is it permanent?

Patients generally experience permanent hair reduction when the right laser is used with the right settings and using proper laser application techniques. Patients should keep in mind that their individual experiences can vary depending on their individual skin and hair properties. For the best results, you should have dark coarse hair and light skin. The FDA approved GentleLASE/GentleYAG system as a permanent method of hair reduction. That, combined with our hair removal experience will ensure that you have the best chance for permanent hair reduction.

How many treatments will I need?

This will depend on your individual skin and hair properties. Roughly 20{057b23bcb3364d3cb07aba70d50fd55118f5c26519e85798355cb8e2a8890e2a} of your hair is growing at any one time, and that is the amount you can permanently remove in a single treatment. You should expect to have 4-8 treatments depending on what you deem to be a satisfactory reduction. Often, patients will continue treatments until they are happy with the reduction and then follow up with annual or biannual touch up appointments.

What is the difference between Alexandrite, Nd:YAG, and IPL?

Alexandrite lasers, like the GentleLASE, are the best at permanently removing hair because of their 755nm wavelength. This wavelength of laser has an easier time targeting both coarse and finer hair so that you get the best hair reduction possible.

Nd:YAG lasers operate at a 1064nm wavelength. They have a harder time finding hair that is not dark and coarse. They are more suited for those with extremely dark skin, where it may be difficult for the laser to tell the difference between the hair it should be targeting, and your skin.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) devices produce only light, and are not actually lasers even though they are marketed as such. They have a more difficult time getting under the skin to target and permanently disable the hair bulb.

Keep in mind that there are also different makes and models for each of the laser/light types, and these devices have their own settings and cooling methods.

Why is the Candela GentleLASE/GentleYAG so good?

It is clear to see why the GentleLASE is so good by taking a look at its specifications and available settings.

Wavelength: The GentleLASE is a true alexandrite 755nm laser. See above for why this already gives it a leg up compared to other laser devices.

Spot size: Our GentleLASE has variable spot sizes of 12mm, 15mm, and 18mm, which is the largest spot found on any hair removal laser. This means that fewer pulses are required, making for quicker and more comfortable treatments. A greater spot size also means a better laser penetration to find those really deep bulbs.

Fluence: The fluence, or energy, of the GentleLASE can go as high as 20 joules/cm² on the 18mm spot, and up to 30 joules/cm² on the 15mm spot. Combine that with the depth the laser can reach at the 18mm spot size, and you have enough energy to not only find those bulbs but disable them permanently, too.

Pulse duration: The GentleLASE has a fixed pulse duration of 3ms. Being very quick, it delivers just enough heat to the bulb for permanent disabling.

Dynamic Cooling Device (DCD): The Dynamic Cooling Device is a spray of cryogen to the skin just before and again just after every laser pulse. Patients find the DCD method to be more comfortable than the feeling of cold air being blown onto them throughout a treatment.

Does it hurt?

Patients describe the sensation as similar to that of a rubber band snapping against the skin. If your skin is overly sensitive and you experience significant discomfort, you can apply a topical anesthetic before your treatment. This will require you coming in at least 30 minutes before your treatment time.

Is it safe?

Laser hair removal is safe as long as patients follow the care instructions of our medical estheticians. Every precaution is taken to ensure that you have safe and effective treatments.

Lasers used for laser hair removal are non-ionizing; they do not carry any mutagenic radiation whatsoever. The lasers only have a heating effect.

What should I do before my treatment?

It is extremely important that you do not have a tan on the area to be treated. Your skin needs to have the least amount of pigment possible so that the laser can effectively target the pigment in your hair and not in your skin. Hypopigmentation (white spots) can occur when you have laser treatments on recently tanned skin. You should avoid the sun and any pigmented creams for 4-6 weeks before and after your treatment.

Razor shave the area to be treated before your procedure. Do not wax or pluck your hair in any way for 4-6 weeks prior to your treatment, as you will need to have active hair follicles for the laser to use as a target to find the bulb. Avoid applying any creams to the area before your treatment, or they can be removed beforehand. We need your skin to be as smooth and clean as possible. If you are just having a consultation, you should not be perfectly smooth, as it would help to see some hair.

What should I expect after my treatment?

You should experience some minor redness (erythema) and swelling (edema) on the treated areas during your treatment. Depending on your skin and hair conditions, the redness can last up to 2-3 days and may feel like a sunburn. Patients generally experience the most redness and swelling on larger areas where the hair is more dense and coarse. On smaller areas where the hair is finer, such as a woman’s face, the redness and swelling should subside by the end of the treatment, and/or after applying aloe vera gel.

Use an SPF 30+ zinc oxide or titanium dioxide sunblock whenever possible before, during, and after the course of your treatments. Avoid sun exposure to reduce the chance of hyperpigmentation.

Within 1-3 weeks you should start to see shedding of dead hair from your skin. Some of these dead hairs may remain under the skin and appear stuck (pepperspots). You can exfoliate to remove these, but do not use your fingers or tweezers to pick at them. They will eventually work themselves out. You can shave, but not wax or pluck, for 4-6 weeks after your treatment.