The most modern and most effective hair removal treatment is laser hair removal where permanent hair reduction is achieved by using heat to disable the hair follicle and prevent re-growth. Common treatment areas include legs, arms, armpits, bikini line, and chin.
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses concentrated light beam (laser) to remove unwanted hair. The laser emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. Light energy is converted to heat which damages the hair follicle, causing the proteins in the hair and the surrounding follicle to breakdown and die. This damage inhibits or delays future hair growth.
Azaiba Kara, Laser Therapist, Aesthetica Clinic says, "Hair goes through 3 phases namely, Anagen (growth) phase, Catagen (resting), Telogen (falling) phase, the hair in the Anagen phase responds best to hair removal. The laser targets the melanin pigment in the hair follicle, the laser light is converted into heat and the heat destroys the hair follicle."
Different Type Of Laser Hair Removal Treatments
There are a number of different type of laser hair removal treatments.
The Diode works best on dark, coarse hair, it is not as efficient on thinner, lighter hairs.
The Alexandrite has been proven to be quite effective on thinner hair more than other lasers, which makes it a great choice for areas where hair isn’t too coarse.
The Nd:YAG protects a darkly pigmented epidermis by bypassing it and going straight for the hair follicle due to its deep penetration rate compared to other lasers.
The Ruby laser, one of the oldest types of lasers used in hair removal, is best suited for those with light or fine hair and fair skin. Compared to the newer laser technologies, the Ruby laser can be more time-consuming because it covers a smaller area of skin at a time.
Dr. Myrna El Shareef, Specialist Dermatologist from Mediclinic Al Sufouh says, “Laser machines can be categorised according to the wavelength of the light they emit. Different wavelengths suit different skin or hair colour. Cooling devices used with the laser also differ. Your dermatologist or certified laser therapist will recommend the best laser suited for your skin and hair type.”
Laser specialist Natalia Voda at Zo Skin Centre by Zein Obagi Jumeirah Branch says, “Ideally it’s good when one machine combines 2 type of laser. Then your specialist will determine the best options for your case. ”
Sonia Cheibi, Laser Therapist at LaVie Clinic says, “As per LaVie clinic Alexandrite is the most sought after laser treatment in Dubai, in the last 3 years maximum patients have been asking for this particular type of laser. It has a slightly shorter wavelength than Nd:YAG. It's also got a fast repetition rate and bigger spot size, so it's perfect for targeting large patches of unwanted hair - like on your legs.”
Suitable Candidates For Laser Hair Removal Treatment
Suitability depends on a number of factors including hair thickness, colour of the hair, age and more. However, people with thick, coarse, dark hair and light
skin are the best candidates for laser hair removal.
Are A Suitable Candidate Or Not?
“The minimum age to start laser hair removal is 14 years old, although for hormone stability it is recommended to wait for puberty and, in case of women/girls, menstrual cycle to begin”, says Dr. Amany A Morshed, Specialist Cosmetic Dermatologist at Aster Clinic Arabian Ranches and Aster Beauty Clinic, Warqa
Azaiba Kara of Aesthetica Clinic says, "Any client who has thick dark hair on any part of the body and has reached puberty can do the treatment safely and effectively.
Hair must contain some level of brown pigment (melanin) to respond to laser. Blonde, grey or red hair will not respond therefore cannot be treated.
If you are currently under any medication that makes your skin sensitive to light,
you cannot undergo this treatment. Hence, make sure you tell the clinic about the medicines you are taking.
Excessively tanned skin from sun, sun-beds or tanning creams within the last two weeks should stay away from the treatment.
Any skin disorder should be treated before the treatment.
One needs to have full hair growth before the first session, meaning no waxing for at least six weeks. Pregnant women should avoid going for this treatment
“A spot test is always recommended before doing a full session, to better identify the good candidates for the specific laser. The patient should always request a spot test before the first treatment session”, says Dr. Myrna El Shareef of Mediclinic Al Sufouh.
Setting Real Expectations:
No, you don’t get rid of hair follicles in one treatment and it does not even guarantee 100 % hair removal. One needs at least 5 session to achieve the best result. A great hair reduction can be seen after the first session and after each session there will be lesser and lesser hair
Therefore, you must clear your head of all fancy expectations and get to know the real results that one is expected to get post session or sessions in many cases.
“The majority of people will receive anything from 80%+ reduction in hair growth. The hairs that remain will be soft, baby like hairs. These hairs would be targeted on subsequent top up treatments to ensure results are maintained. Hair free periods would typically last 5-6 months before these finer hairs would need to be maintained”, adds Kanta Jethwani from Bloom Aesthetic and Laser Clinic.
“At LaVie Clinic we always do a skin and hair analysis before we start a treatment, based on your hair type you can expect anywhere from 4 to 10 sessions a regular hair growth. A patient can start seeing results from first session itself, there is a decrease in hair growth and the cycle of growth slows down by 80% after the second session hence making your skin smooth for a longer time between sessions. The first 3 sessions are generally with a month’s gap in between however the later sessions do not need to be done frequently and sometimes you can go up to 6 months without a session. But again these are things that a specialist will discuss with you and explain you before, after and during the treatment”, says Sonia Cheibi of LaVie CliniC
Possible Side-Effects Of Laser Hair Removal Treatment
Though the treatment is considered to be painless and very safe, if it is not done by a trained professional, there are chances that you can face possible side-effects which may include some of the following:
• Risk of skin infection
• Burns and blisters
• Swelling of the treated area
• Changes in skin colour (darker or lighter)
• Eye injury
• Uncommon greying and paradoxical growth
• Some discomfort or pain during the treatment
Therefore always seek that the laser treatment be done by a certified, trusted and experienced laser therapist.
How To Prepare
Laser hair removal treatment is not just another waxing session that you may just show up for. The treatment needs preparation and one should consult and get all queries answered before getting the treatment done. The most common things one needs to follow in the run up to the day include the good to go consent from the dermatologist.
Dr. Myrna El Shareef of Mediclinic Al Sufouh suggests, “First the patients who wish to do laser hair removal must be cleared by their dermatologists. The dermatologist will review the patient’s medical history, medication use, and look for any history of skin disorder or scarring, and make sure that the patient does not have any contraindications to the procedure.”
Also, one must stay indoors for at least six weeks prior to the first session.
Plucking, waxing and electrolysis should be avoided at least four weeks before the treatment. "Refrain from waxing, tweezing, plucking or anything which pulls out the root completely, as for hair removal our main target is the root where our target melanin pigment is located", advises Azaiba Kara of Aesthetica Clinic.
Shave the area that you plan to have laser hair removal treatment on the night prior to the first session.
Avoid medications before the treatment “The patient should avoid taking medications or herbal supplements that would thin the blood or make them more sensitive to the sun. Always consult your dermatologist and be informed about all the benefits and possible risks before the treatment”, suggests Dr. Myrna El Shareef.
Protect your eyes during the treatment. Sonia Cheibi of LaVie Clinic says “Wear the protective eyewear they provide for you - you may think you look silly, but looking a little weird for a few minutes is much better than suffering eye damage.”
Once the procedure is done use the gels recommended by the dermatologist to soothe down any irritation or swelling.
“Use the restorative gel provided by your Simplicity technician after treatment. You may also want to get more for a few days after the treatment to minimise redness or other irritation, speed healing and prepare skin for your next treatment”, adds Sonia Cheibi.
Don’t expose the area to the sun for a week after treatment or take hot baths and showers, or sit in a sauna for one or two days after the treatment.
It is a fun to live a hair-free life so read up before getting yourself under the laser. A few precautions and the right expectations can make the journey easier and smoother.