Laser hair reduction is a non-invasive procedure performed by dermatologists or experts for reducing unwanted hair permanently. It is the most commonly sought after cosmetic skin procedure today. Many career-oriented women go in for it to avoid wasting time and effort in regularly going to the parlor for waxing every fortnight, shaving or using the epilator every two to three days.
Dr Ruchi Agrawal, our skincare expert answers some of the frequently asked questions about the procedure:
Q: Why should one opt for Laser hair reduction?
Dr Ruchi: Laser is an excellent tool for permanent hair reduction, which saves time and money . Whatever hair grows back, does so very slowly and are much finer thus reducing your need to wax or thread . Additional benefits include freedom from ingrown hair and rashes occurring during waxing or threading.laser hair reduction is great from hygiene point of view as it significantly reduces hair in underarms.
Q: How does Laser hair reduction work?
Dr Ruchi: A beam of laser is pulsed on the area where hair is to be reduced. It passes harmlessly through the skin and is absorbed by a pigment called melanin found in the hair follicle. The heat from the laser destroys the root of the follicle to a large extent, thus preventing its growth. I would like to correct the popular myth that you can get rid of all your hair with this procedure. It isn’t laser hair removal, but actually Laser hair reduction. It can reduce up to around 90% of the hair in the area it is used.
Q: Which lasers are safe for Indian skin for hair reduction?
Dr Ruchi: NdYAG and Diode are the most widely used with a good balance of safety and efficacy.
Q: Isn’t the laser harmful to the skin?
Dr Ruchi: No, the laser selectively targets the hair follicle only. The surrounding skin or internal body organs aren’t affected in any way.
Q: Can you explain the procedure?
Dr Ruchi: A detailed pre-treatment evaluation is done. Absolute contraindication is pregnancy .Any other skin problems, active infections, allergies, tattoos in the area to be lased need to be taken into consideration before laser treatment. A check for hormonal imbalance is done if required and adequate medications may be given along with the laser treatment if there is a documented hormonal problem. All forms of hair removal except shaving /hair removal cream are best avoided in the entire duration of 6-8 months till the laser treatment sessions are completed.. Your doctor will give the instructions best suited for you.
During the detailed evaluation prior to the treatment, the area for the hair removal is studied for the color, texture and thickness of the hair. This helps decide the laser parameters right for you. Thicker the hair, better is the reduction. If you have very fine or grey hair, your doctor will suggest the best way for hair reduction.
Q: Is the procedure painful?
Dr Ruchi: Most patients are very comfortable with the treatment. A mild pin prick sensation is normally felt which less than the pain of threading / waxing is. Some doctors also use numbing before the procedure to reduce the discomfort.
The newer lasers available cause virtually no pain. Ask your doctor for options available.
There is a new technology available at certain clinics which is almost ‘painless’,it works on what is called the ‘in-motion’ principle. Instead of subjecting much hair to a single shot of laser, low laser heat is used in motion on a larger area.
Q: Can you tell us more about the treatment procedure?
Dr Ruchi: Laser hair reduction requires 6-8 sessions at an interval of one to one and a half months usually. The length of each session depends on the area of the body. The upper lips may take ten minutes whereas legs may take as long as two hours.
The sessions are spaced three to eight weeks apart depending on the area of the body and the hair cycle . The face usually requires frequent sessions three to four weeks apart, whereas legs require less frequent sessions usually six weeks apart. You can start seeing the effect from the second or third sessions.
After hair growth visibly slows down, your doctor will call you less frequently; say once every two to three months. The total time duration for the procedure can be as long as six to ten months.
Q. How much does laser hair reduction cost?
Dr Ruchi: It can cost anywhere between Rs.1000 to Rs.20000 per session depending on the area of the body. It is better to choose reputed doctors / clinics to avoid problems later on.
Q: Are there any side effects one can expect after the sessions?
Dr Ruchi: A few people may experience redness, burning, slight swelling, pricking sensations for a while. If done incorrectly, it can also cause laser burns.
Q. Are there any specific instructions to follow after the sessions?
Dr Ruchi: The only care that you really need is to protect yourself from the sun. Apply adequate sunscreen prescribed to you by your doctor. You should also refrain from using other hair removal methods in the area in between the sessions.
We hope to have answered all the common questions arising in your mind about laser hair reduction. If you have any other doubts, please do leave them as comments below and we will be happy to get back to you with answers.