For centuries people have been searching for the most effective method of removing unwanted body hair. Ancient Egyptians used pumice stones, beeswax or sugar, the Romans made creams and had tiny flint razors and the Persians gave us threading. Many of these methods are still in use today, albeit in a more refined way, but they all have their drawbacks, the main ones being excessive discomfort and a lack of permanence.
Laser hair removal has been in use for several decades and is now the most popular and effective method of removing body hair. Highly advanced machines using state-of-the-art technology ensure a painless experience and permanently hair-free skin.
Are Six Sessions of Laser Hair Removal Enough?
Laser hair removal uses heat to destroy the hair’s follicle, preventing it from developing any new hairs. The colour within the hair shaft – the melanin, absorbs light from the laser, and much like a black tee shirt getting hot in the sun, heats the hair all the way to the follicle.
Each hair goes through three phases of growth, and every one can be at a different phase. These stages are:
- Anagen – this is when the hair is growing with the root firmly attached to the follicle. This phase produces the best results for laser hair removal and can last for two to three weeks
- Catagen – the hair becomes detached from the follicle and is naturally shed. As the hair isn’t connected to the follicle, the laser lacks a direct path delivering a less effective result
- Telogen – this is the follicle’s dormant phase, and depending on the individual, can last for several days or stretch on for many months
In order to produce a smooth, hair-free finish, each hair must be affected by the laser, which involves catching it during the most effective growth phase – the anagen stage.
After your first appointment, you’ll notice a difference, with hairs appearing finer and fewer in number. You’ll continue to see changes after each subsequent laser hair treatment, and many people, by the third or fourth session have to wait for the follicles to awaken from their dormant stage and begin growing before visiting the salon again.
Although everyone experiences hair growth, and loss, at different rates, meaning it’s impossible to give definites, six sessions are generally considered enough to remove all the hairs from the desired area. With every follicle destroyed by the laser, no hairs can develop, leaving the skin beautifully smooth.
How to Prepare For a Laser Hair Removal Appointment?
There are a number of things you can do to ensure your hair removal process goes smoothly, and your salon will explain their preferred method of preparation.
- Avoid tanning – whether you use a fake tanning lotion, sunbed or spend hours outside, if your skin has been subjected to a tanning process, it can produce a burning sensation when the laser is applied. Make sure you avoid tanning for at least four weeks before your hair removal appointment
- Avoid plucking, waxing or using depilatory creams – because these methods remove both the shaft and root of each hair, the heat from the laser cannot pass down the hair and destroy the hair’s follicle, preventing regrowth
- Avoid bleaching – the laser targets the melanin – the colour, in the hair shaft. Bleach removes the colour, preventing the laser from affecting the hair
- Shave the area to be treated – the night before your appointment, remove the hair with a sharp safety razor. This allows the laser to penetrate the follicle directly, producing a far superior result
- Apply a non-perfumed moisturiser – ensure your skin is moisturised and supple prior to your appointment; however, avoid using creams on the day itself
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing – to minimise any post-treatment discomfort, choose natural fabrics, such as cotton or silk
What to Expect at a Laser Hair Removal Appointment?
Your clinician should explain every stage of the process to you, giving you a chance to ask any questions you may have.
They will visually assess your body hair type. Some laser hair removal machines produce better results with darker hairs. This is due to the higher level of melanin contained within dark hair. The laser targets the melanin, which absorbs the heat from the light source, causing the hair root and follicle to be destroyed.
However, many salons are seeing the benefits of using highly advanced laser machines, such as the Nu Trilaze Plus which can remove lighter hairs just as effectively as dark.
Depending on the area of your body to be treated, you may have to undress, and your clinician should provide you with towels to cover yourself where necessary.
Using a white pen, your clinician will mark the areas you are having treated, making sure that it’s exactly what you want. During this process, they will also cover any tattoos or blemishes you may have, eliminating the risk of any issues.
Some parts of the body are more sensitive than others, and you’ll be offered numbing cream to make sure you’re comfortable; however, many superior laser hair removal machines have their own in-built cooling system to ensure a completely pain-free experience.
Goggles or Eye Shield
Laser lights can be dangerous when looked at directly with the naked eye, so to ensure your safety, and to encourage relaxation, you’ll be given goggles to wear.
Make Sure You’re Comfortable
Depending on the area to be treated, your appointment may be as short as five or ten minutes or it could be much longer, so it’s important to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Always say if you need to shift position or feel any discomfort, and remember, the more relaxed you feel, the better the experience.