How does this work?
Light based Permanent Hair reduction is a procedure by which light energy is aimed at the hair follicle to damage it so that it will no longer produce hair.
Are there different types of light therapies for hair removal?
There are many different systems currently in use for permanent hair reduction. We, however, believe that we are using latest technology available making it the safest and most effective system available. In addition, we have two options on how we are able to deliver the light source to the hair follicle giving us more ability to help you achieve your desired results regardless of your skin color. Older laser technology only allowed individuals with pale skin and dark hair to achieve good results.
Is the procedure permanent?
The FDA has approved our system to be a long-term permanent method in hair reduction. With 4-8 treatments, most patients are quite satisfied with their results. Most patients will find that after 2-5 years some hairs are returning, but they are much finer. Maintenance procedures can be performed for this potential re-growth.
Why are multiple treatments needed?
There are basically 3 main reasons why it takes 4-8 treatments to achieve your desired results. 1) During the first laser treatment some follicles are damaged not destroyed. This allows the follicle to continue to grow hair.
2) Some of our hairs are in a resting phase. At this point there is no hair inside
the follicle. The laser works by targeting the pigment in the hair. So, if there
is no hair, there is no target and the follicle is not destroyed. 3) Some of our hair follicles are not “terminal”. These follicles are the ones that
produce the “peach fuzz”. Sometimes the light energy turns these follicles
into terminal hair follicles which go on to produce the thicker hair we are
working to rid ourselves of.
With patience and time more and more hair follicles will be destroyed until eventually enough are gone to give you the desired amount of hair reduction. The hair that is destroyed with each treatment will not start to fall out for 2-3 weeks. Many times it will get darker and thicker just before it falls out. Don’t worry if you do not see an obvious change immediately after your first treatment. The good news is that we do not continue to make more terminal follicles after we are born.
Is the Procedure Painful?
Most patients feel a sting for a fraction of a second. This is something that is usually quite tolerable. Following the procedure there can be a feeling of a mild to moderate sunburn. We find that taking Tylenol and ibuprofen prior to the procedure helps to cut down on the discomfort. In addition, cool packs following your procedure will be offered. We do not recommend topical anesthetics as they decrease the safety of the hair removal procedure.
What other types of hair removal are available?
Hair removal can be divided into short term and long-term solutions. Shaving, waxing and depilatory creams are quite effective but do not last and have to be continually repeated in order to achieve long-term results.
Long-term hair removal can either be accomplished by light based therapy as described here or with electrolysis. Electrolysis is a tedious procedure by which a needle is inserted into each individual hair follicle. At this point an electrical charge is delivered that destroys the follicle. It often can take years to eventually get the amount of hair reduction desired by electrolysis. With light based technology hundreds of hair follicles can be destroyed at each treatment. An area that would take over an hour with electrolysis can be treated in seconds with our light-based hair removal system.
What are the risks to this treatment?
One risk is that your hair follicles may not respond to the light therapy to give you an acceptable amount of hair reduction. Everyone is made different, and some individuals have follicles that can recover from light treatment better than others. If you have follicles that can recover well you will not loose as much hair with each treatment as someone does whose follicles are easily damaged with the light damage.
The procedure can lead to varying degrees of discomfort with each light pulse as well as mild pain similar to the feeling of a mild to moderate sunburn for the first 24 hours after treatment.
Short-term complications can include bruising or swelling to the area being treated. There can be blistering, crusting or flaking of the skin which may require 1-3 weeks to heal. Once healed the skin may be pink and sun sensitive for an additional 2-4 weeks possibly longer. Although rare, a skin infection to the area being treated is possible.
Long-term complications can include the slight possibility that the skin can either become lighter or darker in color compared to the surrounding area. This is usually temporary but, on a rare occasions, it may be permanent. Scarring is also a rare possibility but is quite unlikely if the post-op instructions are carefully followed.
How do I prepare for the procedure?
You will be given pre-op instructions but the main things to consider are that waxing or plucking will take away that target for the light source so these should be avoided. In addition, self-tanning lotions can absorb the light and keep the treatment from being as effective. These can also cause temporary but extensive discoloration to the skin surface.
What can expect after the treatment?
You will be asked to avoid hot bathing and sun exposure for a week post-op. The light therapy has caused heat energy to be transferred to your skin and you will want to protect it from further heat exposure until it has completely healed. In addition to avoiding heat exposure, it is best to avoid chemicals such as Retin-A, Benzolyl peroxide, glycolic acid and other astringents for several days after your treatment. Waxing and plucking should be avoided, as this will take away the target for the laser or IPL at your next treatment. Shaving, bleaching and depilatory creams are okay.
How much does this therapy cost?
The cost of the procedure depends on the area of the body we are treating and how much time the procedure takes. For satisfying results, generally 5 treatments per area are needed. The price for different areas range from $75 per treatment for very small areas to $5,500 per treatment for a combination of many extensive areas. These prices are average and are subject to change without notice. The cost of your procedure will be determined at your complimentary consultation.
Please do not hesitate to call our office for further information or questions. Branson Clinic LLC, phone number: 417-239-0125.