Laser Hair Removal
What is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is the most hi-tech long lasting hair removal option on the market. The ideal candidate for laser hair removal is someone with unwanted hair growth who has dark hair and light skin. People with lighter colored hair are not as ideal, as the laser targets melanin, which is found in significantly greater concentrations at the base of dark hairs. People with natural or very dark tan skin are not as ideal for laser hair removal as some of the laser energy can get absorbed by the skin pigmentation and may not reach the hair follicle for proper treatment. The possibility of, post-laser skin discoloration is greater in more darkly pigmented skin types.
So, how does it work?
The laser emits an invisible pulsed light that is absorbed by the dark pigment at an area at the base of the hair follicle known as the bulge. This causes the base of the hair follicle to heat up and the heat destroys the hair. Hair naturally goes through three phases of growth: Growth phase (anagen), resting phase (catagen) and shedding phase (telogen). In any area in which hair grows, there will be some hairs in each of the three phases. During the growth phase, anagen, the bulge at the base of the hair follicle enlarges. This area has the greatest concentration of the pigment melanin. When the bulge is larger, more laser light is absorbed by the melanin. This results in more heating at the base of the hair follicle which results in more effective removal of the hair. This explains why multiple sessions of laser hair removal are necessary to remove most of the hair; only the actively growing hair can be targeted and removed when those bulges are filled with the dark melanin pigment. Once the dormant or sleeping hairs begin their growth cycle, they too can be treated with laser hair removal. Depending upon your own hair growth cycle dynamics and skin type, an average of three to six treatments may be necessary to accomplish your goal of being hair free (80% or more reduction). You will notice that your lasered hair begins to shed in one to two weeks after treatment. Exfoliation may speed this process. If any hair remains after a series of laser hair treatments, they will generally be finer, lighter and much less noticeable. Additional sessions may help further refine the results. The results of laser hair removal may vary from one individual to another.
Dr. Schaffer uses the Lumenis LightSheer Duet hair removal laser. The light beam, with a wavelength of 800 nanometers, has excellent penetration through the skin to get all the way down to the base of the hair follicle. This laser light is very well absorbed by the melanin pigment of the bulge at the base of the hair follicle to provide superb hair removal.
The energy output of this laser, commonly known as fluence, is fine-tunable over a wide range to provide optimal hair removal at the same time that it provides safety for sensitive skin types.
Laser hair removal is the ideal method for treating large areas of the body because it targets multiple hair follicles at a time. By contrast, electrolysis treats only a single hair at a time. Laser hair removal treatments may take anywhere from a matter of minutes up to an hour depending upon the size of the treatment area. The Lumenis LightSheer Duet laser has two separate sized laser heads making it ideal for treating and refining smaller areas such as the lip, chin, sideburn and pubic areas as well as treating larger areas such as the legs, arms, armpits, back and neck quickly with relatively little discomfort.
What does it feel like?
As with any procedure, invasive or noninvasive, finding a qualified professional makes a big of difference. If used incorrectly by an unskilled individual, burns can occur which could be very painful as well as potentially scarring. This risk is relatively small when used properly. With the Lumenis LightSheer Duet hair removal laser, the discomfort of treatment is fairly mild. With the larger head, the feeling is one of warmth and suctioning of your skin and is very well tolerated. With the smaller head, the sensation is somewhat more noticeable, and although we will often use a topical anesthetic to numb the area to provide maximum comfort for you, most patients do not choose to use any anesthesia. Following the procedure, you may experience some slight swelling or redness but usually very little discomfort. This is usually very minor and subsides in just a few days.
Q: Is laser hair removal uncomfortable?A: Most of our patients that use the Lumenis LightSheer Duet hair removal laser experience little discomfort with the larger hand piece which is used for larger areas. With the small hand piece, there is a little more discomfort which is similar to the sensation caused by a rubber band snapping against your skin. We will often apply topical numbing medication to the skin prior to using this hand piece so that you will have the most comfortable possible experience.
Q: How long does laser hair removal last?A: The hairs that are destroyed by the laser will not come back. Hairs which are not growing at the time of the treatment will not be affected by laser hair removal.
Q: What are the most popular areas treated with laser hair removal?A: The lips, chin, sideburns, pubic areas and armpits are extremely popular. Arms and legs are favorites with both female and male patients, and, of course, the back, chest and abdomen are also frequently requested by our male patients.
Q: How many sessions of laser hair removal will be necessary to remove the unwanted hair?A: Generally a minimum of three to five or six sessions will effectively obliterate most of the unwanted hairs. This can vary significantly from one person to another depending upon your skin and hair type as well as your ultimate aesthetic goal. There is the occasional patient who is relatively more resistant to laser hair removal.
Q: Is there any downtime following laser hair removal?A: There may be some minimal soreness and redness, which usually resolves after a few hours. This is a similar sensation to what one would experience with a very mild sunburn. Sun exposure should be limited for a period of one to several weeks depending upon your skin type.
Laser hair removal pricing
FACE: Upper lip $49, chin $49, nose $49, ears $49, beard $199, cheeks $69, mid brow $49, forehead $49 plus, ladies sideburns $99, posterior neck $85, anterior neck $99.
ARMS: Underarms $69, arms $150, hands $79.
LEGS: Legs upper $269, lower $180, bikini regular $109, extended $139, feet $79.
TORSO: Back upper $199, lower $199, chest $199, abdomen $199, shoulders $99.
Patients who have had cosmetic surgery with Dr. Schaffer will receive discounts for laser hair removal.
Schedule A Consultation
If you are interested in laser hair removal, call 210-227-3223 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Eric Schaffer. Our practice serves San Antonio, Austin, and surrounding areas in TX.