Laser Hair Removal / Intense Pulsed Light

Laser hair removal is a method for the permanent or long term removal of hair from the face and/or the body. Typical areas chosen for hair removal in women include the face, neck, underarms, bikini line and legs. Men frequently choose hair removal for their face, neck, ears, chest and back. This article also covers intense pulsed light (IPL) hair removal procedures.

See also laser hair removal home kits.

Why would I want Laser Hair Removal?

The majority of people who are treated have it done for the convenience of never again having to shave or wax. For some women post menopause, additional facial hair can become an acutely embarassing problem. Some people are plagued by excess hair for their entire lives. This treatment really can restore a great quality of life to those who are afflicted in this way.

What happens during the procedure?

The laser or pulsed light beam heats up the hair follicle and damages it, so preventing further hair growth. The larger the area to be treated, the longer the treatment will take. For example, the removal of under arm hair may take in the region of twenty minutes, whereas the removal of lower leg hair could take an hour. You will wear goggles to protect your eyes from the light although you will still be aware of the flash. The treatment does cause some discomfort, but from my own experience it is less painful than a wax. However, a number of treatments are required in order to remove all the hair in the area.

How many treatments will I need?

This will depend on the system being used, the area to be treated and possibly the colour of your hair. Some systems work better on dark hair / light skin combinations.

Why will I need a number of treatments?

The hair follicle is only damaged when the hair is actively growing. Therefore dormant hair follicles are left untouched. Each time you are treated, different hair follicles will be active.

What else should I know?

  • You should avoid exposure to the sun two weeks before and two weeks after treatment.
  • You should shave your hair before treatment, but don't wax or use an epilator or depilatory cream.
  • The area of your body to be treated should be free from lotions and deodorant.
  • The clinic where you are having the treatment should be regulated by the Healthcare Commission and the therapist should have a BTEC in pulsed light treatments or equivalent.
  • You should confirm with the clinic that their system is compatible with your hair / skin colour combination.

What are the risks?

Risks include sensitive and sore skin directly after the treatment. Skin pigmentation changes are possible.

laser hair removal before
laser hair removal after
Before treatment on male neck
After treatment