FAQs – Laser Hair Removal

Laser Hair Removal

Q.  What causes unwanted hair?
A.  Excess and unwanted hair is a common problem. Women frequently experience this condition on the face, especially the upper lip and chin area, at the bikini line, under their arms or on their legs. Men often have unwanted hair on their back or chest, between their eyebrows or on other parts of their face. In many cases excessive hair growth runs in families. Race can also be a factor — whites are more prone to having excess facial hair than are Asians and blacks. White women of Mediterranean descent are more likely to have unwanted hair than women who have a Scandinavian background. Hormones also play a role. Some people experience unwanted or excess hair from the time they reach puberty; others find it to be a condition that gets worse with age. Some women experience additional hair growth during pregnancy or menopause.
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Q.  How is unwanted hair treated?
A.Conventional treatments include shaving, plucking, waxing and depilatory creams. These methods provide temporary fixes that are often inconvenient, messy and irritating for the skin. Electrolysis can have good results, but is time-consuming, painful and is useful only in removing hair in small areas. Laser technologies are rapidly changing hair removal treatment, providing gentle, non-invasive, long-lasting solutions to unwanted hair on any body area.
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Q.  How do I know which laser works best for my hair removal needs?
A.Different skin types require different approaches for laser hair removal. Unlike smaller clinics, The Laser Center of Marin is able to invest in multiple technologies for hair removal. Our clinic has four state-of-the-art lasers which allow us to address unwanted hair for everyone, from the lightest to the darkest complexions. We utilize Diode, nd:Yag and IPL technologies to ensure your laser treatments are appropriately matched for your specific skin type.

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Q.  What lasers do you use for laser hair removal?

A.  For Laser Hair Removal we offer:

  • The Lumenis Lightsheer® Diode Laser
  • The Palomar Vectus® Diode Laser
  • The Cutera ProWave® 770
  • The Cutera CoolGlide® YAG Laser

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Q.  How does the laser remove hair?
A.  This laser targets the pigment located in the hair follicle and shaft. The light is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle and this energy is converted to heat which results in damage to the hair follicle. This damage causes delayed re-growth of the hair, and in most cases destruction of many of the hair follicles. Unlike electrolysis, which treats one hair follicle at a time, the laser reaches and treats hundreds of follicles at a time.
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Q.  What does the treatment feel like?
A.  Most people tolerate the treatments very well. Discomfort is often described as a slight tingling or a pinch similar to the snap of a rubber band. Topical anesthesia can be used when treating particularly sensitive areas of the body.
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Q. How many treatments will I need?
A. Most areas require 3-6 treatments. However, the number of treatments required for optimal long-term benefits depends on multiple factors – hair thickness, the area treated and your hair’s growth cycle. Interestingly, not all hairs are actively growing at the same time and actually go through three distinct phases: growth, regression, and resting. Laser hair removal treatments work by disabling the hair that is principally in the active growth phase at the time of treatment. Since other hairs will enter this active growth phase at different times, additional treatments will be necessary to disable all of the hair follicles in a given area.
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Q.  Are there any possible side effects?
A.  The appearance of the treated area immediately following treatment will vary from patient to patient depending on the extent of the procedure and skin type. Side effects, if any, are usually minor. There may be some redness and swelling around the treated hair follicles; this is a desired clinical result indicating that the follicle has responded to treatment. This reaction typically disappears within hours. Most people return to normal activity right away. On rare occasions, some blistering may occur, but this typically resolves quickly. The skin can become darker or lighter following treatment, but will generally return to normal within a few weeks. Limiting sun exposure before and after each treatment will minimize the risk of complications.
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Q.  What kind of results should I expect? Does this technology really remove hair long-term?
A.Yes. Scientific studies show that the use of targeted, light-based energy actually damages or destroys hair follicles at the cellular level. A reduction in the number of regrowing hairs is usually achieved following each treatment. The Laser Center of Marin also uses a process called the TLC Concept. The TLC Concept will ensure we are targeting active hairs at the right time of the hair growth cycle. This method coupled with the effective lasers we use leads to success levels exceeding 95%.
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Q.  Are these treatments FDA-cleared? Are they safe?
A.Yes, all of our hair removal lasers are FDA-cleared for the treatment of unwanted hair. These procedures have been done for many years and have unparalleled safety records. Side effects are rare and generally well-tolerated.
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Q.  Who is a good candidate for the laser hair removal?
A.The ideal candidate for most hair removal lasers has dark hair and light skin. Darker hairs absorb more of the laser light, and lighter skin allows more transmission of the laser light into the hair follicle. Although dark or tanned skin may run a higher risk of pigmentation changes following the procedure, our breadth of lasers allow us to treat most skin types.
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Q.  Are these procedures covered by insurance?
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Q.  What happens before and after treatment?
A.  The Laser Center treatment process is as smooth as the results we achieve. Treatment sessions are quick and require minimal personal care for the duration of the treatment process.

Before Treatment
No waxing, tweezing, bleaching, depilatories or electrolysis for 4 weeks prior to treatment. Shaving is fine and does not effect treatment. The area to be treated should be shaved before treatment.

Day of Treatment
If you haven’t previously received a consultation, you will receive a personalized treatment plan and price quote at that time. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions during the consultation.

The laser treats many hairs at a time, enabling short treatment sessions. Depending on the size of the treatment area, a session may last between five minutes (lip, chin, etc.) and 60 minutes (back, legs, etc.)

When the laser pulses over your skin, you will feel a momentary, slight stinging or tingling sensation. The sensation disappears the moment the laser stops pulsing. For those with more sensitive skin, a topical anesthetic, can be applied prior to treatment.

After Treatment
Immediately following laser treatment, you may experience redness, similar to a mild sunburn. These normal tissue responses are temporary and will usually disappear over the next several hours. As soon as the mild redness from the day’s treatment subsides, clients may resume normal daily activities.

Following treatment (12-24 hours) treat the area gently. Avoid rubbing, scratching or picking at the treated area. Avoid very hot showers, baths, soaking in a hot tub or swimming in a chlorinated pool. Pat the skin dry after bathing or showering.

Around day 3-7 after treatment you may experience what seems to be re-growth of hair. Actually, most of these hairs are being shed as a result of your treatment. In-between treatments you should not wax or pluck your hairs but it is permissible to shave. This process can be helped along by gentle use of a washcloth or loofa sponge four to five days after treatment.
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*Treatment results vary person to person.