For the vast majority of Americans, shaving is an annoying, daily ritual. Shaving is time-consuming and mundane, and the skin can easily suffer nicks, cuts, ingrown hairs, bumps, and razor burn. Many people who shave regularly try different solutions in an effort to eliminate shaving, such as waxing or depilatory creams, to reduce the need for using a razor. However, these methods can produce skin irritation as well, and the results are not permanent. Luckily, today there is a permanent and effective solution available for people who are fed up with shaving: laser hair removal.

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Lasers are extremely versatile cosmetic tools that can be used to permanently destroy body hair, allowing patients to forgo shaving indefinitely. How does it work? The laser targets pigmentation in the hair itself and penetrates beneath the skin to precisely destroy individual, active hair follicles. The laser targets only the hair, so the surrounding skin is not damaged in the process. Once the follicle is destroyed, the hair will not regrow. Not all follicles are active at once, however, so multiple treatments are necessary for optimal results.

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Laser Hair Removal Consultation

During your consultation at Atlanta's Emory Aesthetic Center offices, you will meet with one of our expert staff members and go over the goals you have for laser hair removal. Our providers will help you determine if those goals are realistic, and assess your overall candidacy for the procedure. You will have the chance to ask any questions you have and review concerns about the procedure. You have a chance to learn more about laser hair removal, and personalized treatment plan.

*Spa services are not covered by insurance.

Ideal Laser Hair Removal Candidate

Both men and women can benefit from laser hair removal. At Emory Aesthetic Center, we provide safe and effective laser hair removal treatments for both light and dark skin individuals. The ideal laser hair removal candidates should be in good health and have reasonable expectations for the treatment. Hair removal is a process that involves several treatments at intervals, and patients will need to commit to multiple sessions in order to get satisfactory results. Only you and your provider can assess your candidacy, and this will be done during your initial consultation to ensure you are eligible for the procedure.

Laser Hair Removal Procedure

Before the procedure, the hair will be trimmed so it is uniform in length. For best results, patients should be cleanly shaven prior to treatment. The laser will then be optimized for the patient's hair color, thickness, and treatment area.

During the treatment, patients will need to wear eye protection. No anesthesia is required for laser hair removal treatments, as our technique is extremely comfortable. The provider will target the treatment area in one-inch increments until all active hairs have been treated. For the best results, a minimum of 10 laser hair treatments will be needed, spaced four weeks apart for facial hair, and six weeks apart for body hair.

Recovery from Laser Hair Removal

Though there is no downtime associated with laser hair removal, patients may experience some swelling, redness, and discomfort in the treated area for several days after each session. Cold compresses, lotions, and over the counter medication can help to ease the sensation. The treated hair will fall out over the next few weeks. Patients should take care to prevent sun damage in the treated area in the months following treatment, as hyperpigmentation (skin discoloration) is more likely to occur following laser skin treatments.

Laser Hair Removal FAQs

Laser hair removal technology is so advanced that almost any area of the body can be treated. However, the most common areas for treatment are the legs, armpits, bikini area, back, and face. Many patients elect to have multiple areas treated.

Laser hair removal works best on people who have a deep contrast between their skin and hair color. However, darker skinned patients may be eligible for laser hair removal. It is up to you and your provider to determine if laser hair removal is right for you.

Very light hair with little pigment, such as gray or white hair, will be almost impossible to treat. Red and blonde hair can also be harder to treat successfully, but during the consultation appointment, one of Emory's aesthetic team will determine if the laser hair removal process is right for you.

Though laser hair removal treatments are very safe and do no target the skin, there are always some slight risks to cosmetic treatments. Risks of laser hair removal can include:

• Blistering
• Scarring
• Changes in skin color

While there is no right age to undergo laser hair removal, older people may have hair that is too light to treat effectively, and young patients may develop more hair growth as they get older. Typically, patients should be at least 18 and have good contrast between the hair and skin tones.

Dormant follicles rotate every month or two, and typically about a third of your follicles are active at one time. With this in mind, most people need a minimum of 10 treatments to see good results, although others need more to reach their goals.

Most patients describe the sensation as similar to a series of rubber band snaps, or a slight sting. The discomfort is tolerable for most people, but the procedure is not totally pain-free.

With the growing popularity of laser treatments, many clinics have opened up, offering cheap treatments to willing patients. However, laws on provider training are lax in many states, and it is a safety risk to have your treatments performed at one of these clinics or laser centers. Choosing an experienced provider will result in a safer procedure and better results.