So you have decided to do laser hair removal for yourself. You realized that you deserve the freedom it offers. You will not regret this decision. Instead only wishing you had started sooner!
But now what? After you call and make an appointment, we will send you an email with a map, informative consent forms and instructions. These pre-treatment instructions are also on the website, and can be found here.
There are few contraindications for laser hair removal, but they are important, so please give honest and complete information. Your technician will go into more detail when she meets with you, but the basic requirements are 1.) enough contrast between the color of the hair and skin, 2.) enough coarseness to the hair itself (does not work on peach fuzz). 3.) Here at Permanent Choice it is company policy to not work on pregnant clients. The procedure is safe, but with all the hormonal changes more treatments may be needed. We suggest waiting until after childbirth and nursing. In some circumstances your physician may recommend treatments and will provide a letter of authorization. 4.) Certain medications are photosensitizing. There is a label on the bottle warning you about sun exposure because you are susceptible to sunburn, and would be more sensitive to lasers also. Usually it is just a matter of waiting a period of time from the date of last use.
The actual experience of the laser pulsing on your skin feels similar to a snap of a rubber-band. First you feel the chilling tip cooling your skin; our diode laser handpiece touches your skin - no aerosols are used for cooling. The laser pulse speed is controlled by the technician. She will gently, slightly, compress the handpiece into your skin as she pulses it. This is done to push the blood out of the area, allowing the only chromophore for the laser to see to be the hair itself. This increases the comfort and allows for higher settings, seeing a wider range of hair sizes and colors. Equating fewer treatments, safer, and more efficient treatments.
Your technician will look for a response from the laser, ensuring the settings are correct, and are doing what they are supposed to do. When the hair absorbs the heat it will shatter in the follicle as it cauterizes its surrounding tissue. We want to see slight swelling, bumps, even hair particles sometimes appear on the surface. These will quickly diminish. Some areas are iced to hasten this. Witch hazel also cools and refreshes. You may feel a slight sunburn sensation, but even that is short lived.
Some laser centers claim “pain free” and the skin shows no “response from the laser”. This tells me they have not used the correct settings. If the follicle is not completely destroyed but only damaged, what can happen is the returning hairs end up too fine or light to be completely obliterated. The laser can no longer treat them, and now can only be permanently removed by electrolysis. Defeating the entire purpose of laser hair removal. A very expensive mistake, hence the need for experienced technicians and a long standing professional company.
Once home you can return to your normal life with only a few restrictions. Loose clothing, do not rub the area, no swimming - these are only for a day or two.
You will not notice much difference the first couple of weeks. It will appear as if your hair is growing, but this is actually only the burnt hair particles working their way out. You may shave as much as you wish, but do not pull them out. After the first week you may begin gentle exfoliation to help with this process.
The magic usually happens around week 3! Suddenly you realize almost all the hair is gone from the area. This feels incredibly soft because even the hair BENEATH your skin is gone. You have never felt this smooth!
This heavenly period lasts about 2 weeks, then the hairs that were “cooked” but not “cauterized” (because they were not in their actively growing stage at the time of the laser treatment*) will start to return. This is why we ask you to schedule treatments 6-8 weeks apart. If you stay on schedule the remaining hairs’ growth cycles begin to coincide. This makes your treatments extremely effective as more hairs are in the anagen cycle.
People have different goals. Most women want all the hair in an area removed, while some men only want to lessen their hair, want finer hairs. Each treatment gives you permanent reduction. You will see fewer hairs and they take longer to return…...until they don’t. You are in control of how much you remove. Some areas are prone to needing maintenance. This is because those areas are androgen sensitive and may transition vellus into terminal hairs. It is very individual.