For both men and women, unwanted body hair can be an annoyance and even be quite embarrassing. So many of us are constantly bombarded with different ways to remove hair, waxing, sugaring, epilation devices, lasers, threading and tweezing are just some of the terms featured in our Google search history. One of the most popular - and permanent methods is laser hair removal. Anything with the word ‘laser’ in it conjures up alien images of scenes from Star Wars. It’s no surprise that the term ‘laser hair removal’ can be quite hair-raising. Whether it’s the effectivity, the pain or whether or not you qualify to undergo the treatment, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. We’ve spoken to experts to get everything you’ve asked, answered.
First off, how does it work?
Laser hair removal gets to the root of the issue, starting at the hair follicle. Sonia Cheibi, Laser Hair Removal Technician at La Vie Clinic said “Laser hair removal is the process of hair removal by means of exposure to pulses of laser light that destroy the hair follicle. It had been performed experimentally for about twenty years before becoming commercially available in the mid-1990s.” Plastic Surgeon, Dr Tarek Bazayid from Dr Tarek Aesthetics said “The science behind it, is that by selectively targeting the hair follicle with a laser beam, we are actually trying to destroy it and by doing so, preventing it from growing [back]. But eventually the hair will grow back again, and because so, it is called hair reduction and not removal.”
Can anyone have the treatment?
Not everyone can opt in for a treatment, your hair type and your skin’s condition determines how well it will work for you. Michael Mitry of The Private Clinic said, “Treatments are proven to be effective on any hair with at least some pigment. This includes a wide range of hair colours, from auburn to brown and dark black hair. Unfortunately, the effective treatment of white and light blond hairs is limited due to their lack of pigment.” It is also important for any existing skin conditions to be checked during the first consultation. Dermatologist Dr. Souzan Al-Zoubi from Emirates Speciality Hospital said “Patients with skin diseases such as psoriasis or vitiligo should be warned about the risk of koebnerization (a skin condition causing legions) following laser surgery. The use of Q-switched laser should be avoided in hair-bearing areas that overlie cosmetically applied white, beige, tan or pink tattoos due to the risk of paradoxical darkening.”
Is it 100% effective?
While the treatment is nearly 100% effective, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s permanent. Sonia Cheibi said “Results can be seen from the first session itself, even after the first session hair growth is reduced to 75%, which is an amazing result for beginners. Well its up to 90% which makes your skin look hairless almost at all times. Another to note is that laser hair removal needs a touch up every 10 years. This is maintenance and needs only 1 session a year after probably 10 years. So over all it does look like you have no hair but maintenance is a must when it comes to laser."
When will customers begin to see results?
The difference is almost always instant. Dr. Frank Conroy, Plastic, Reconstructive & Cosmetic Surgeon at American Hospital Dubai said, “Customers will see results almost instantly with some of the hair obliterated immediately. Typically, over the next few days following treatment more hair follicles will be shed and the results will become more apparent. Hair has 3 phases in its life cycle - a ‘growing’, ‘resting’ and ‘shedding’ stage and as such the treatment should be repeated in about 4-6 weeks in order to capture all of the hair as it passes through its life cycle.”
Are there any side effects?
“As with all treatments there is the potential for side effects, these include, blistering (burn), pigment change - this can be both hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation of the skin due to the laser effects on the melanin in the skin. Residual hair growth and paradoxical hair growth - this is an increased hair growth in areas not treated by the laser. This is quite unusual though,” Dr. Frank Conroy said.
What can you do to prepare?
Prepping your skin is key to ensure a painless, successful experience. Certain creams, products and even UV rays can have an effect on the treatment. Michael Mitry advised to, “Make sure the hair has not been bleached or coloured prior to the treatment. and if it has been, then the treated hair must be grown out and shaved off before treatment. Hair should be trimmed or shaved very short, this saves time, but we generally do this if the patient has trouble doing it themselves. Also, there should be no makeup, deodorant or creams on the area. The most important thing to avoid is the sun! It is good advice anyway, as the sun is the worst thing for prematurely ageing the skin, but specifically in the case of laser hair removal, we advise patients to avoid sun exposure at least two weeks pre and post treatment.”
We spoke to some of you who have undergone the treatment and here’s what you had to say:
UAE resident, Shila Jazayeri said, “I saw results immediately! The hair grows back and within a week start to falls out. Those still in place are ones that the particular laser session didn't effect, so hopefully the next five or so will tackle those. Where visible, I would use a trimmer but otherwise on the whole, it is great not having to worry about waxing or shaving.”
Personal trainer, Dawn Block said, “Other than the smile on my face because I didn’t have to shave anymore? No. I didn’t notice any side effects. Before I did laser treatment, I used to wax regularly. I would get ingrown hairs and pimples, which were very aggravating. I never experienced anything like that
with laser treatment. My skin is smooth and happy.”
Sales and marketing consultant, Anila Ackrim said, “There was no pain at all. I was very surprised. I would definitely recommend the procedure!”