With such a wide range of variables for laser hair removal, ranging from the treatment device, technician experience & length of time in business, it's important to know what you are getting yourself into. After all, it's an on going process and you will be spending a lot of time with your chosen laser hair removal specialist. Plus, you'll want results without the risk of burn or permanent pigmentation changes.
Here's a few things to ask at your laser hair removal consultation to ensure you receive a professional and effective treatment, while minimizing side effects and risks.
- What are the qualifications of the laser technician / How long have you been providing treatments?
Experience really does count here. A laser hair removal technician that has performed thousands of treatments, and treated many different skin tones, will have an unsurpassed level of experience. This matters if you want results, and a reduced risk of negative outcomes or potential burning.
- Will I have the same laser technician for all of my treatments?
Occasionally, people change occupations. But, you want some certainty that your technician will be fairly consistent through the entire laser hair removal process. Laser hair removal can be a very personal experience, and you'll want to feel comfortable with your provider both on a personal level, and with their level of experience.
- What device are you using / Does it have built in cooling or is anesthetic required?
You don't have to suffer to get results, and so you'll want to know a few details about the device you'll be treated with. It's important to ensure you are being treated with a reputable, brand name, medical grade platform that is either LASER or IPL, as both platforms show proven results. We strongly suggest avoiding lower powered devices using LHE or LED, as the results may be less than ideal. Newer devices will have built in cooling to keep the treatment head "cold to the touch" as it pulses on the skin, significantly reducing any pain & discomfort.
- How many treatments are generally required? How far apart?
Most areas require a range of 4-8 treatments to realize a significant reduction in hair growth. This doesn't vary depending on the device, or whether it is IPL or Laser. Most body areas will be spaced approximately 6-8 weeks between appointments. Is your provider promising significant results after only 1 or 2 treatments? (hair has multiple growth phases with a certain percentage of hair being treatable at any given time). Are they rushing the protocol by suggesting treatment more frequently? (such as every 7-14 days) We wouldn't hand over our hard earned money.
- Do they have experience treating a variety of skin tones? (light & dark skin respond differently)
Laser sees the pigmentation in the skin as well as the hair. If a technician is only experienced in treating light or white skin tones, they may not be the best candidate to treat ethnic or darker skins, as this does take experience to reduce the chance of burning or pigmentation changes which can occur if done incorrectly.
- What are the possible risks or side effects? And how do you address them?
Tanning before a treatment as well as taking certain medications, can lead to an increased chance of burning or pigmented scarring. It's important that your laser technician is honest when addressing the potential risks and helping you minimize any problem from occurring. This includes not treating a patient when they are expecting (pregnant) and never treating if there is a tan present. If a technician tells you there are no risks, we recommend going someplace else. Discussing the risks beforehand will almost always eliminate them from happening.
- One last thought...
The primary principle behind laser hair removal is selective photothermolysis, whereby a specific wavelength of light is attracted to a particular target. With hair removal the energy targets melanin (the pigmentation or color in the hair).
Laser hair removal is NOT effective for white, gray, or light blonde hair as there isn't enough melanin to target for a positive result.
We hope this helps as you select your laser hair removal specialist...and here's to being "hair free!"