Waxing, shaving and tweezing will all get rid of unwanted hair. But these methods have to be performed over and over, sometimes every day, to keep hair growth under control. If you’re getting tired of ongoing body hair maintenance, then it might be time to consider a more permanent hair removal option. Laser hair removal in Chicago, IL, with Dr. Anil Shah can permanently reduce the amount of hair in almost any area of the body after several sessions.
Why Have Laser Hair Removal?
Everyone has hair, but some people have more than others. If you have hair in areas where you don’t want it, you have plenty of options for getting rid of it. However, most at-home hair removal techniques require frequent repetition, which can be irritating and time-consuming.
That’s where laser hair removal can help. By preventing the hair follicles from producing new hair, laser treatments can result in long-term hair reduction after several sessions.
Laser treatments can be used pretty much all over the body, anywhere hair grows (except for the eye area). The procedure doesn’t necessarily permanently remove all hair, but it will permanently reduce the amount of hair in the treated area.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
During a laser treatment, a laser beam, or concentrated ray of light, is directed at the hair follicles. The pigment in the hair absorbs the energy from the laser, causing damage to the follicle. Once the follicle is damaged, new hair won’t grow from it.
Hair moves through three phases during its growth. Lasers can only damage follicles that are in the anagen, known as the active growth phase. Since not every follicle is actively growing at the same time, most people need multiple hair removal sessions to get the results they want.
Different Types of Lasers for Hair Removal
Several different types of laser can be used to remove hair from the body. The four lasers that are most often used are:
- Intense pulsed light (IPL)
- Nd:YaG lasers
Dr. Anil Shah uses diode lasers to remove body hair at his practice in Chicago, IL, specifically the Diolaze laser. Diode lasers are preferred for hair removal because they work quickly and tend to be the most comfortable for patients.
The Diolaze laser treats a larger area than other devices, meaning the process is quicker. It also works on most skin types. Another benefit of the Diolaze laser is that it has a built-in cooling mechanism to help improve patient comfort.
Good Candidates for Laser Hair Removal
As with any cosmetic treatment, laser hair removal isn’t right for everyone. Some people are better candidates than others. People with light skin and dark hair tend to be the best candidates for the procedure. The contrast between hair color and skin color allows the lasers to work more effectively.
In the past, people with darker skin tones, such as people of Middle Eastern or Indian descent, were discouraged from having laser hair removal. Older laser methods used wavelengths that could cause skin pigmentation changes and damage to darker skin tones. Fortunately, newer lasers are safe to use on all skin tones, as there are now more pulse widths and wavelengths available.
Although newer laser treatments are safe for use on people of all skin types, hair color can still affect candidacy for treatment. Blonde, red, gray, and other light hair colors can be challenging to treat with a laser since there often isn’t enough pigment in the hair to absorb the laser’s energy.
The condition of your skin also affects your candidacy. Ideally, you won’t have any open wounds, rashes, or infections on your skin before treatment. It’s also important not to tan before or after laser hair treatment.
Treatment Areas for Laser Hair Removal
Lasers can remove hair from practically any area of the body. The size of the treatment area influences how long the process will take and how many laser sessions a patient might need in order to get satisfactory results. Although both men and women have body hair, often in the same areas, the treatment areas for laser hair removal often differ for men and women.
|Common Treatment Areas for Women||Common Treatments Areas for Men|
|Bikini area||“Mankini” area|
If you have hair on a part of your body that isn’t listed above, it’s still very likely that a laser can help to reduce it. Dr. Shah will discuss your hair removal goals with you during an individual consultation and will let you know if you’re a good candidate for laser treatment.
Laser Hair Removal Consultation
An initial consultation is required before starting your laser hair removal treatment series in Chicago, IL. During your consultation with Dr. Shah, you will have the chance to ask questions and learn more about the process.
Dr. Shah will use the meeting to learn more about you and what you’re hoping to get from the treatment. He’ll discuss your goals with you, let you know if your hair is likely to respond to laser treatment, and discuss other hair removal options with you, if appropriate.
The doctor will also ask about any medications or supplements you take, your medical history, and whether or not you smoke. He may also ask about your tanning habits. It’s a good idea to bring along a list of any medications or information about any medical conditions you have.
How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal
Unlike plastic surgery, laser hair removal usually doesn’t require an extensive amount of preparation beforehand. It’s an easy, non-surgical treatment with no downtime. You won’t need to have someone drive you to Dr. Shah’s practice, nor will you need to have someone stay with you overnight after treatment.
There are a few things you can do before laser treatment to help improve your results. Since having tanned skin can reduce the efficiency of the laser, it’s best to avoid sun exposure for up to six weeks before your hair removal treatments. Keep the area you want to treat covered to minimize sun exposure and use sunscreen to protect your skin. It’s also important to skip using any type of sunless tanner during the six weeks before treatment.
You should also avoid doing any type of hair removal that disturbs the hair follicle in the weeks before you start treatment. Plucking, epilating (using hair removal creams), and waxing all remove the hair by the root and should be avoided. Laser hair removal needs the follicle and root to be intact to work.
It’s important to note that you can continue to shave since it doesn’t disturb the root. In fact, you will need to shave your hair the night before your treatment to ensure that the laser can work properly.
What to Expect During Laser Hair Removal in Chicago
On the day of your laser hair treatment, you’ll be given a pair of protective goggles to wear, to shield your eyes from the laser. If the treatment area hasn’t been shaved within the past 24 hours, it will be shaved at the office (for a fee) to remove any hair and to help the laser target the follicle more effectively.
Before starting the hair removal session, Dr. Shah might apply a topical numbing cream to improve your comfort. During the treatment, he will place a hand-held instrument to your skin, allowing the laser to target the follicles. The Diolaze laser Dr. Shah uses has a cooling device built in to help keep the laser from heating up the skin. As the treatment goes on, you’ll likely feel some warmth from the laser.
How long the process will take depends on the size of the treatment area. A small area, such as above the lips, might only need a few minutes. Larger areas, like the legs, chest or back, might require an hour or longer.
Laser Hair Removal Recovery and Aftercare
You won’t need to take time off from work or your other activities after having laser treatment to remove hair. There’s no downtime involved.
It’s common for the treated areas to be red and somewhat tender for several days. You can use cold compresses to help reduce redness and improve your comfort.
To protect the treated area, avoid sun exposure as much as possible for the next six weeks. Your skin will be particularly sensitive to the effects of the sun after laser treatment. It’s also a good idea to use sunscreen daily.
Results After Laser Hair Removal
When you will see results from your laser treatment depends on your unique pattern of hair growth. It can be challenging to predict results since everyone’s hair grows differently. You might see some shedding starting a few days after your first treatment or it might take weeks before you see a noticeable change.
About four weeks after the first treatment, you’re likely to notice that your hair is growing in patches. That’s a sign that the treatment has worked and that the treated hair follicles are no longer producing new
You’ll want to schedule an additional laser treatment within four to eight weeks after your first session. Depending on your hair growth, you might need up to five additional treatments. Since the amount of hair in the area is considerably reduced with each treatment, you’re likely to notice that the process becomes easier and quicker with each session.
Risks of Laser Treatments
There are some minor risks involved with laser treatments to remove unwanted hair. Mild side effects can occur, such as swelling, redness, and irritation of the skin. People with darker skin might notice pigmentation changes, but these are usually temporary. Following Dr. Shah’s instructions before and after treatment can help you reduce risks.
Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Hair Removal
Gray hair contains less pigment than other hair colors. There often isn’t enough pigment in the hair to absorb the energy of the laser and effectively damage the hair follicle.
Laser treatments usually aren’t recommended for people with blonde hair, as the hair is too light to absorb the laser’s energy.
Dark hair is often ideal for laser treatments. Brown or black hair has plenty of pigment to absorb the laser’s energy and effectively damage the follicle. The preferred combination for effective laser treatment is dark hair and light skin as the contrast helps to ensure optimal results
While older laser treatments weren’t recommended for people with dark skin, newer methods are designed to work on all skin types. If you have dark skin, Dr. Shah will recommend that a particular light wavelength be used on your skin to reduce the chance of pigment changes.
Dr. Shah uses diode lasers at his practice, because of their versatility and efficacy. Diode lasers work on a wide range of skin types. The Diolaze laser Dr. Shah uses has a larger spot size than other options, allowing it to destroy more hair at once.
Yes, both men and women can benefit from laser hair removal. The treatment areas for men are often different than the treatment areas for women, but there is some overlap.
While it’s not a good idea to wax, pluck, or epilate your hair before a laser treatment, shaving is acceptable and is actually part of the treatment preparation. You will most likely be asked to shave within 24 hours of your treatment to help the laser work better. If you don’t have the time to shave beforehand, we can shave the area in our office, for an additional charge.
Does laser hair removal create ingrown hairs?
Ingrown hairs happen when a hair grows back into the skin, rather than out and away from it. They can be uncomfortable, as well as unsightly, and usually occur after shaving or waxing. Laser treatments will not cause ingrown hairs. In fact, they can help reduce the occurrence of ingrown hairs after several treatments, since fewer follicles will be active.
Can I do laser hair removal at home?
Although at-home devices exist that claim to remove hair using lasers, they aren’t going to be as effective as a treatment performed in-office, by a trained, board-certified medical professional. There haven’t been studies conducted on the effectiveness of at-home devices. You also don’t save much money using an in-home laser device, as most of them cost hundreds of dollars.
Schedule a Laser Hair Removal Consultation in Chicago, IL Today
A double board-certified facial plastic surgeon based in Chicago, Dr. Shah has established himself as a specialist in using lasers to remove unwanted hair. If you’re ready for a permanent reduction in unwanted hair growth, call 312-944-0117 to set up a laser hair removal consultation in Chicago, or book online today.