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FAQ – Laser Hair Removal

Read more about laser hair removal

Excess hair can be embarrassing, unsightly and can greatly reduce an individual’s self-confidence. Almost everyone has unwanted hair somewhere on their body. Unfortunately, traditional hair removal methods such as shaving, waxing or plucking can be tedious, painful and expensive over time. The hair is also likely to grow back thicker than before.

Ingrown hairs can cause scarring so plucking should never be used on large areas.Over-the-counter creams can vary greatly in their effectiveness and safety. Some products may contain harsh chemicals that have been known to cause superficial burns. Individuals with a history of allergic reactions should avoid these products.

The Elite laser system far surpasses all other lasers and all hair removal treatments. Shaving can cause painful ingrown hairs, dry skin and must be done regularly to achieve the desired results.  Plucking, especially on facial areas, can be very painful and similarly will only provide temporary results.

Laser hair removal is the only treatment to offer permanent results which will save patients both time and money long term.

Many clinics use ‘IPL’ which delivers poor results and may need many sessions to provide permanent results. At the London Medical and Aesthetic Clinic, we use an Elite Laser System which is the industry’s leading hair removal laser which will offer far more effective results.

The Elite Aesthetic Workstation is built on two clinically proven wavelengths which enable aesthetic laser treatments with unsurpassed efficacy and client comfort.
Elite features larger spot sizes and higher fluencies to deliver energy faster with exceptional results.

The standard large 18mm spot provides 44% more treatment area per pulse compared to lasers used by most clinics, only offering 15mm spot sizes.  There are also even larger optional spot sizes, up to 24mm, which ensures the most efficient treatments possible.

The laser emits gentle pulses of energy that pass through the skin to the hair follicle which can permanently remove it. Cynosure Elite Aesthetic laser works by focusing laser beams onto hair follicles and destroying them at the root. After a few treatments the patients will not regrow hair as the root will be unable to manufacture keratin, the structure of the hair. This makes it unlikely for the hair to ever grow again.

The light energy of the laser is absorbed by the pigment in the melanin in the skin. This means that patients with a greater contrast of skin and hair colour will achieve the best results. Individuals with dark hair and light coloured skin get maximum results.

At the London medical and Aesthetic clinic our new laser hair removal technology has made it possible for a wider array of skin tones (including dark complexions) to get significant results.

Tanning should be avoided before and after the laser hair removal treatment to achieve the best results.

How does it work?

To prepare for laser hair removal patients should avoid any other hair removal methods such as waxing, threading or hair removal creams for 6 weeks before the treatment. Patients should also avoid sun exposure which makes laser hair removal less effective and can cause complications. We will discuss any medications in detail at your consultation.

Prior to the treatment, all patients must have a patch test which enables the laser practitioner to ensure that the skin is suitable for the laser hair removal treatment. A general inspection of the skin will take place and a small area will be exposed to the laser light. In addition to ensuring that no adverse reactions occur, this also provides us with the opportunity to tailor the machine’s settings to your personal requirements.

After an initial consultation and a patch test, usually one week prior to your treatment, the laser practitioner will prepare the required for treatment. The area will be cleansed and possibly shaved. If a patient has tattoos or moles in that area then they will be covered.  Patients will also be provided with protective eyewear.

Once the laser machine has been prepared, the laser head is moved over the area of skin and is activated. This procedure is almost entirely pain-free. The sensation, at worst, has been described as having an elastic band lightly snapped on the surface of the skin.

After the treatment, the skin may appear slightly sore or red. The laser practitioner will apply a cooling Aloe Vera gel. Any redness will soon clear and patients will begin to notice results almost immediately.

The laser is attracted to the dark pigment in the hair called melanin. The energy from the laser travels down to the base of the hair follicle using melanin as a ‘conductor’ where it disperses as thermal energy. This damages the base of the hair follicle rendering it unable to produce hair as quickly. The rate of growth of the hair will decrease as your treatments increase.

The laser hair removal delivers energy which is absorbed by the hair and transformed into heat, which destroys the hair follicle within a fraction of a second.

The key to optimum results of laser hair removal treatment is being able to adjust the pulse width (the amount of time the laser targeted) so that it can pass through the thin layer of skin to reach the deep hair follicles to give the best, safest and fastest laser hair removal results.

At The London Medical and AestheticClinic, the advanced Elite laser hair removal system is designed to exceed your expectations in comfort. The super powerful laser is gentle on the skin using the Elite chill cooled head.

As well as the laser needing melanin, the hair must also be in a certain stage of its growth cycle for the treatment to be effective. This cycle is known as the ‘active growing phase’, or anagen, and is when the hair is connected to the base of the hair follicle. This connection provides a direct pathway for the laser energy to disperse where the hair is produced at the base of the follicle.

Multiple treatments will be needed as not every hair is in this phase at any one time on the body. This is referred to as the ‘resting phase’ or telogen.
The laser hair removal treatment is delivered in a unique sweeping or massage technique that some say feels like “a hot stone massage.” The Elite laser system is fast becoming the number one choice for laser hair removal worldwide and is currently the UK’s most advanced laser hair removal system.

After your laser hair removal treatment, you can return to your normal activities immediately. The use of sunscreen is recommended on any treated areas exposed to the sun. Sun exposure should be minimized before and after laser hair removal treatment.

Prior to laser hair removal tanning should be avoided. A slight stubble should also be left for laser hair removal to be effective.Therefore, you should not shave the areas to be treated for about 3 days prior to your treatment. Also, avoid waxing, tweezing, or bleaching those areas several weeks before laser hair removal treatment.

Patients having facial hair treatments should have laser hair removal every 4 weeks and body hair is treated every 6 weeks. We generally recommend that patients have  4-6 sessions to achieve optimum results. Each treatment may take between 15 minutes to over an hour depending on the size and area of the treatment. The patient’s eyes must be protected with specifically designed goggles during the procedure. The area may be red with a slightly raised rash for up to 24 hours afterwards.

Laser hair removal affects hair in the active growth phase which is referred to as the anagen stage. The laser beam consists of precisely controlled pulses of energy which are absorbed by the melanin pigment in the hair and reaches the active hair follicles which lie beneath the skin. The energy heats the hair down to the base of the root, safely destroying it without damaging the surrounding tissue or skin.

At any one time, 90% of the hair follicles will be in the anagen phase. This is why it is necessary that patients have several treatments to ensure that all follicles are permanently affected and will not produce any more hair. After the course of treatments is completed the hair will appear visibly reduced and the skin will be smooth and even.

To ensure the utmost comfort, the London Medical and Aesthetic Clinic offers the use of a topical numbing cream prior to the procedure. Any discomfort will be minimal and temporary to the time of the treatment. After the treatment, the skin may become pink or red (akin to the mild sunburn) which may last for a day or so. Once the procedure is complete patients will not require bandages as there is no damage to the skin.

Who is suitable?

The Elite Cynosure advanced laser hair removal system is precise, safe and suitable for all skin types.

Laser hair removal is effective for both facial hair removal and for body hair removal. Specific body sites include the upper lip, underarms, legs, back, shoulders, chin, cheeks, and other facial areas for men and women.

Laser hair removal can be used almost anywhere that is covered with unwanted hair. The most commonly treated area is facial hair in women, specifically the chin and the upper lip. Facial hair can be obvious and troublesome for those who have it. It can also take a lot of time, on a very frequent basis, to get rid of facial hair by plucking.

Laser hair removal is more effective on lighter skin tones and darker hair. The greater contrast between the skin tone colour and the hair colour will provide the most improved results. Dark hairs absorb more of the laser energy and, therefore, respond more effectively and quickly to the treatment.  Lighter hair or darker skins do not contain the right type of melanin (eumelanin) which the laser targets, meaning that the laser hair removal treatment may be less effective.

Patients with darker skin tones are more challenging to the laser practitioner as we must be very careful to protect your skin from blistering and scarring. The melanin in the skin absorbs the light energy of the laser which creates heat. 

At the London Medical and AestheticClinic, our specialists are experts in providing tailored treatments to individual patient needs to ensure their safety and the best possible results. The skin will be protected by cooling the surface prior to the treatment.

The specialist will use lasers with the longest wavelength. Melanin is designed to absorb short wavelengths of light such as UV Light, and the ability of melanin to absorb light decreases as the wavelength increases. This thereby decreases the risk to darker skin. 

The specialist can also manipulate the pulse duration, how long the light stays on during the treatment. Treating patients with darker skin requires more skill and expert knowledge of the Elite Laser System which our clinic offers.

Possible side effects

Lasers have been carefully tested for their safety. Occasionally blisters can develop, and very rarely, scarring or infection. There is also a possibility of hypo or hyperpigmentation after laser hair removal treatment – if this does occur most changes in skin colour will fade away over time. The same effects can also occur with electrolysis and even shaving or waxing.

After the laser hair removal treatment, there is usually some pinkness or redness in the treated area which goes away after a short time. There are no open wounds and bandages are not necessary. Most patients leave the office feeling that they look presentable, but in some cases, a little makeup is helpful to minimize redness.

After the procedure patients should avoid heat stimulation such as hot baths or showers, saunas, and steam.  Rigorous exercise and swimming should also be avoided as the chemicals in the water may cause irritation. Our team at the London Medical and Aesthetic Clinic is always available to provide continuing support and advice even after your final session is complete.

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