Laser Hair Removal – Everything You Need to Know
Hi! My name is Margarita, and I’m the Clinic Director for the Downtown location of Canada MedLaser Clinics. Since completing the medical aesthetics course, I’ve helped launch three clinics, including Canada MedLaser. I’ve got several passions, but this has got to be my top one.
Going into the medical aesthetics industry was one of the best decisions I could have made in my early 20’s. I was at a loss, and with so many choices of what to do with my future, my decision was not becoming any easier.
Luckily, as fate would have it, my family doctor at the time purchased a laser machine and asked me if I wanted to participate in a day of training with her (she was a close family friend, so lucky me). I jumped on the opportunity, and before I knew it, I was enrolled in a medical aesthetics course.
That day made me realize the magic of the laser. I mean what other technology could PERMANENTLY remove hair, sun damage, freckles, veins, and even skin tags?… All-non surgically! Fast forward nine years later (wow, how time flies), and here I am.
I hope you join me on this journey and tune in every week as I upload new blogs in a goal to educate, inform, and bust myths about the medical aesthetics industry.
Related article: 10 Things to Consider Before Laser Hair Removal in Toronto
About Laser Hair Removal
Starting off with the most popular non-surgical beauty procedure on the market, it’s no surprise that our first topic up for discussion will be all about Laser Hair Removal.
Unless you’re sharing an underwater pad with Patrick Star, you’ve surely heard about laser hair removal at least once in your lifetime. And if you’re here because you’re considering the treatment, or out of sheer curiosity, keep reading for everything you need to know about laser hair removal.
Laser hair removal has been on the public market ever since its approval by the FDA in the early 1990s. Just like all technology that was released three decades ago, the original laser hair removal machines are much different than the way we know them today.
Back when the treatment was first popularized, the procedure was long and painful. Patients were required to ice their skin pre and post-treatment, a full leg would require hours to complete, and pinpoint bleeding was one of the not-so-few side effects. I guess people still thought it was worth the tradeoff because the market has grown with lightning speed ever since.
Nowadays, laser hair removal comes in many different forms, but because side effects tend to be fairly minimal with most technologies on the market, this, unfortunately, leaves your average consumer fairly uninformed about the types of lasers there are, as most people assume all laser hair removal technology is created equally.
However, this is not the case. With technologies ranging from IPL (commonly mistaken for laser), Diode, ND YAG and Alexandrite, just to name a few, the confusion can really set in for those who try to research the best-suited laser machine for them.
The search doesn’t have to be difficult at all. Let me break it down for you:
IPL: Intense Pulsed Light
A very popular form of technology for the sole reason that it’s less expensive than most others. Yep, that’s it. It’s advertised as the best by the clinics who carry them (obvi), but it carries the highest risk of burning, is the most painful, least effective, and in no way permanent.
Oh, and guess what! It’s not even a real laser! That’s right. Somehow medspas (the most common users of IPL. KEYWORD: SPA) are getting away with using the term, “Laser” to describe their IPL technology. It’s the most common on deal sites and in training schools as well.
Yes, I trained with an IPL when I first started out too. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not ALL bad. It’s great if you’re looking for a temporary laser hair removal solution if you’re Caucasian because it’s incapable of safely treating people of colour. Keep in mind that many clinics on the market carry this technology, so before you sign up for treatment with a medSPA, be sure to ask the right questions.
Soprano Laser (Diode Technology)
Now this machine can actually be classified as a “laser” (enter Dr. Evil quotation image here). It works by targeting hair follicles at the root through pigment attraction, ideally destroying the root, and preventing hair from re-growing.
Now, you may have noticed my italicized “ideally” in the previous sentence. No, that wasn’t by accident. The reason I say, “ideally” is because of the Soprano laser, although good in theory and on paper has one major flaw. The actual treatment procedure. It’s great, except for the fact that the treatment requires the laser technician to move the handpiece over the patients’ skin in a continuous motion, without stopping (because if they stop, the patient’s skin may burn).
Why is this such a problem, you ask? Well, because when the handpiece is in constant motion, regulated by a person, it is physically impossible to ensure that an equal amount of laser energy is penetrated into each hair follicle, and therefore, impossible to ensure that the root of each follicle has actually been targeted. So, just like IPL, this too is a popular treatment on today’s market, for the same reason as IPL is popular (I won’t repeat myself). Moral of the story: just don’t.
And last, but not least…
Alexandrite Technology in combination with ND YAG Technology
Now, before I start my next paragraph, you guys absolutely must know that I am in no way a salesperson for this technology, nor do I work for the company that manufactures/distributes these lasers. I am a genuine fan, and here’s why:
Both the Alexandrite and ND YAG technologies have been on the laser hair removal market for decades. Since they’ve been around, new and improved versions have been launched at the speed of light, and with the results being as ridiculously good as they are, only the most exclusive medical skincare clinics carry these technologies.
These technologies are what’s referred to as “True laser”. They work by pulsing laser light to the root of each individual hair follicle (not one at a time, don’t worry), destroying the blood supply to the muscle which assists in hair growth (aka. Dermal papilla), and over the course of a few treatments, permanently, yes, permanently reducing your hair from growing. These technologies are at the top of the game, and there is only one laser on the market that carries both of them together.
Related article: Why Laser Hair Removal Is Better Than Other Methods
The GentleMax Pro Laser
This laser is one of the few on the market which safely and effectively is capable of treating all skin types, requires a maximum of one hour per treatment (and that’s if you’re doing full-body!), and is relatively pain-free. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a very exclusive laser, and if you’re looking for permanent results with no downtime or side effects, it will cost you more than the lower-end technology would. You won’t ever find this guy on deal sites, and if you do, be skeptical. Be very skeptical.
Anyway, I could go on and on about how amazing this laser is, but I trust you get the point. Plus, I’m sure you have other topics you’d like to explore, so we go to FAQs.
During my consultations, the most common questions I get are:
- What do I need to do to prep for my laser hair removal treatment?
- Shave! Shave the night before your treatment. Your hair must be less than 2mm in length for proper efficacy and safety.
- How many sessions would I require to obtain the most optimal laser hair removal results?
- 8-10. Provided a hormonal problem is not at play, most patients require 8-10 sessions for permanent results. The number varies based on skin and hair type.
- Does the treatment hurt?
- Honestly, a little… and only on sensitive areas such as face or bikini. When treating pretty much the rest of the body, the treatment is relatively painless, with possible mild discomfort on bony areas such as the shins.
- Can I tan throughout the procedure?
- It’s recommended not to, as the settings of your treatment must be decreased, the darker you are, leading you to require more sessions at the end of the day, but it’s still possible to treat tanned skin.
Well, by now, I hope I’ve done my fair share in informing you guys and answering some of the questions you may have had about laser hair removal.
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