The pursuit of hairlessness is infinite, or at least it was until lasers came along in the late 90s and gave us an alternative provided an alternative to our monthly legs-in-the-air wax appointments.
These days, you can’t turn a corner without walking into a clinic, yet many women still fear the strange follicle-zapping machine. So we spoke to Sandra Sostres, Registered Nurse and Clinical Educator for Cynosure, about the latest developments in laser hair removal today:
1. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO FOR LASER HAIR REMOVAL?
The best time is for hair removal would be in the winter months, when there is less chance of sun exposure in the treated area. If someone commences a course of treatment now , they should be hair free for summer time.
2. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE WHEN GOING FOR LASER?
Exposing the area to the sun prior or after the treatment. This could cause some adverse effects such as blisters, burns and changes in skin pigment such as hyper or hypopigmentation. People should also make sure the clinic is using a reputable laser system which is suitable for their skin type and the laser therapist has been trained.
3. WHY DO SOME LASER CLINICS ASK YOU TO SHAVE YOUR HAIR FIRST?
The hair should always be shaved prior to treatment whatever laser/IPL technology is used. If the treatment is done on long hair, the laser will singe the hair, causing an epidermal injury… The objective is for the laser energy to go directly to the root of the hair and destroy it.
4. WHICH AREAS OF THE BODY RESPOND BEST TO LASER HAIR REMOVAL?
Underarms, bikini, lower legs. The coarser the hair the better it is.
5. ARE THERE ANY AREAS WHICH WILL CONTINUE TO GROW HAIR, NO MATTER HOW MANY SESSIONS YOU HAVE?
Hormonal areas, such as women’s face and men’s back, could be more challenging.
6. ARE THERE ANY EXTERNAL FACTORS WE SHOULD CONSIDER WHEN MAKING A LASER APPOINTMENT?
Treatment can be done during the menstrual cycle but the client might be more sensitive. It is not recommended to have a laser treatment while taking some photosensitizing medication (antibiotics, antidepressant, anti-acne, natural remedies such as St John’s Wart…. etc.)
7. HOW LONG BEFORE AND AFTER YOUR LASER SESSION SHOULD YOU AVOID SUNLIGHT?
Make sure the area has not been exposed to the sun for at least 4 weeks pre and post treatment.
8. CAN DARK-SKINNED PEOPLE HAVE LASER HAIR REMOVAL?
They can now. New machines like the Elite MPX has a dual laser setting so they work well on darker skin tones (which previously couldn’t be treated on).