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Considering the amount of time, money, and energy the average person devotes to shaving, waxing, plucking, bleaching, or otherwise getting rid of unwanted hair, it’s not surprising that laser hair removal has become one of the most popular aesthetic services in America.

Whether you’ve had your fill of Brazilian wax appointments (nice results, but the process is just so… intimate), you’re tired of spending so much money on razors (what are they made of — gold?), or hair removal simply has become a chore, laser hair removal is an ideal solution.

Here at Bella Medical Aesthetics in Columbia, Maryland, we’ve helped a lot of people get rid of undesirable facial or body hair for good, and we can help you, too. Before you get started, though, there are a few things you should know.

Laser hair removal works best on dark hair

Non-invasive and effective, laser hair removal is an advanced technology that works by sending pulses of laser energy directly into active-growth hair follicles. As the pigmentation in the follicle absorbs this energy, it causes the follicle to become inactive so it can no longer produce hair.

Because dark hair contains a higher concentration of pigments, it’s better-able to absorb the broader spectrum of light energy that the laser delivers.

But what does this mean for you? It means that you’re likely to see more complete results on dark underarm hair, for example, than on light forearm hair.

Skip waxing and tweezing, but don’t forget to shave

Laser hair removal targets active-growth hair follicles, which means it only can work effectively if there’s a little bit of hair in the follicle.

While you want the treatment area as smooth and hair-free as possible, you shouldn’t wax or tweeze the area prior to your appointment — both waxing and tweezing pull hair out at the root, leaving nothing behind for the laser to target.

Instead, you should shave the treatment area one or two days before your appointment. Your remaining growth should be close enough to the surface of your skin that virtually all of the laser’s energy is directed down the short stubble and into the follicle.

If you shave too far ahead of your appointment, on the other hand, your visible growth will be too long, and too much of the laser’s energy is spent targeting hair that shouldn’t be there.

You can expect to see immediate results

You start to see noticeable results after just one laser hair removal session: Not only does the hair in the treatment area appear finer and sparser, but the hair that does remain also grows more slowly. Most people notice a 10-25% reduction in hair after their first laser treatment, and further reductions with each successive treatment.

Complete results require multiple treatments

While you can expect to see a significant reduction in hair after your first laser treatment, you need to undergo multiple treatments to achieve complete results. That’s because hair grows in three phases — anagen, catagen, and telogen — and of these, anagen is the only active-growth phase.

This means that hair follicles that are in either the catagen or telogen phase during your first session won’t be affected by the treatment at all. To make sure most of the hair in a specific area is addressed, you need to have multiple laser hair removal sessions over the course of time.

Most patients see complete, permanent results after a series of three to six laser hair removal treatments, with each session spaced four to six weeks apart for maximum effect.

Winter is the best season for laser hair removal

Sure, you may spend more time keeping unwanted hair at bay in warm-weather months, but the laser hair removal process is best saved for the long winter months.

First, your skin is more likely to have returned to its normal tone and color by the time winter arrives. This is important because performing laser hair removal when your skin is tan can cause permanent discoloration.

For this reason, it’s also a good idea to steer clear of tanning beds and avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight for three weeks before your first treatment, as well as throughout your entire treatment cycle.

The late fall or early winter also is an ideal time to begin laser hair removal, because you’ll be bikini-ready just in time for the summer season, when the process is complete.

Laser hair removal is for anyone

Laser hair removal is a highly customizable treatment that can benefit virtually anyone, from women who no longer want to wax or shave their bikini line, to men who want to do away with unwanted back hair.

No matter what your gender or skin type, the treatment helps you get rid of hair on almost any part of your body, including:

  • Upper lip and chin
  • Side of the face and neck
  • Toes and fingers
  • Bikini area and legs
  • Chest (including areolas)
  • Back and shoulders

If you’re ready to ditch your razor for good, we’re ready to help at Bella Medical Aesthetics — call our Columbia, Maryland office, or book your appointment online today.

Laser Hair Removal Therapy in Columbia