Until the introduction of laser treatment for unwanted hair, a number of treatments were available such as electrolysis, waxing and shaving. Electrolysis is painful and painstakingly slow and whilst waxing may be suitable on the arms or legs, it can be very painful if used on the face and most women finding shaving completely undesirable. The major advantage of laser assisted hair removal is that it is effective in most patients and much faster and less painful than electrolysis.
Unwanted hair in some body areas is easier to treat than others, for instance, the bikini area, underarms and facial hair responds well. Unwanted hair on the trunk, arms and legs may be more difficult to treat but will also usually respond. For laser treatment to work there must be hairs in the hair follicles, so do not wax or pluck them for 1 months before treatment. The hair should be visible, so do not shave on the day before or the day of the treatment.
The treatment is uncomfortable but is reduced by cooling the skin. It feels most like an elastic band being snapped against the skin. The laser burns hair near the skin surface and you will be aware of a burning smell, although your skin is not being burnt.
It is unrealistic to expect all unwanted hair to disappear with laser treatment, but very significant improvement occurs in most treated patients.
The pigment in your skin can be affected by the laser. This can result in pigment loss – hypopigmentation, or pigment increase – hyperpigmentation, in the treated area. Both complications are more common and may be more noticeable in darker skinned patients. They are much less common with newer lasers. Although pigmentary changes can be distressing they are transient and clear after some months. Scarring is very rare with laser hair removal and much less common than with electrolysis.
The skin will be a little red and swollen around some of the treated hair. This usually settles within 24 hours. Blistering and weeping can occur but this is usually only in the first couple of days and settles completely. Some hairs will remain in the follicles but will fall out with time. After treatment it is very important to protect the treated skin from sun exposure. This will reduce the risk of hyperpigmentation and also tanning the skin will reduce the effectiveness of the laser at your next visit.
|6 for 5|
|Small area – e.g. upper lip, between eyebrows||£50||£250|
|Medium area – e.g. armpit, bikini line, upper lip and chin||£100||£500|
|Large area – e.g. full face and neck, shoulders||£150||£750|
|Extra large area – e.g. full legs, back||£250||£1,250|