Laser hair removal: Does it hurt? The ins and outs of the treatment revealed

Science of Laser Hair Removal in SLOW MOTION

Laser hair removal became available in the mid-90s and has risen in popularity ever since. While it offers longer-lasting effects than waxing or shaving it, it can be more costly. One of the most frequently asked questions is ‘does it hurt?’ Senior consultant at Pulse Light Clinic Joanna Wyszynska and client Rebecca Howarth reveal exactly what the treatment entails.

Laser hair removal can take between four and eight  laser therapy sessions. These also need to be spaced out by around six weeks. How painful are the treatments on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not painful at all)?

Rebecca: “The pain varies depending on the area, but I did find in my experience as the treatment went on it got slightly more painful.

“It feels like a slight burning sensation, but the treatment is quick so it’s short-lived.”

Joanna: “The pain experienced by Rebecca is accurate and common in many clients, the bikini area is commonly known to be more painful due to the coarseness of the hair in the area. If at any point you are worried or uncomfortable during the treatment the practitioner will stop and adjust the cool air or settings.

“The laser technology we use, Gentle Max Pro by Syneron Candela is built in with a cryogenic cooling system which blasts cold air before the laser beam goes off. This alone helps with any discomfort or pain during treatments.”

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How long do treatments last?

Rebecca: “As time has gone on treatments are lasting six weeks before hair grows back, and the hair is coming back very thin.

“I’ll just need a few top ups after my final session.”

Joanna: “After your recommended course of treatments, in Rebecca’s case eight treatments, you are likely to see up to 80 percent hair reduction with hair appearing finer and very sparse throughout the treated area.

“12 weeks after your course of treatments we can review the hair growth and recommend some quarterly top ups if desired.

“In some cases due to hormones you may see hair growing back but this will not be at the same rate usual. Results can vary from client to client.”

When did you start seeing results?

Rebecca: “Straight away – after the first session the hair started growing back thinner.”

Joanna: “Rebecca has a good reaction to the laser, the best candidates are usually those with darker/coarse hair, but even if not we still have clients with good results.

“After your first treatment hair will typically grow back normally and then begin to shed after two to three weeks this, where you may notice hair growing back slower or finer. But a course of eight treatments is required in order for the laser to target all the hair follicles at growth stage.”

Did the technicians make you feel comfortable?

Rebecca: “Definitely. They are very friendly and always make sure you are comfortable.

“They ask you a few questions at the start of each session to make sure nothing’s changed and then give you time to clean up and get ready before the treatment.”

Joanna: “At Pulse Light Clinic all our technicians are Level 4 certified and have a minimum 4 years experience. When choosing a laser clinic it is important they are using FDA approved technology and have certification to provide treatments.

“During this year we have also implemented further health and safety measures to COVID-19.”

Did you encounter any issues between last treatments?

Rebecca: “No issues.”

Joanna: “Laser hair removal is safe and effective when performed by a qualified clinic. It is also important to follow the aftercare advice to ensure no reactions to the laser technology. For example, no sun exposure or fake tanning during the course of treatments, only shaving between treatments if required. Tips here.”

How does laser compare to other hair removal treatments?

Rebecca: “It’s a game changer. I did find it quite painful in parts but it’s worth it for the end result.”

Joanna: “At Pulse Light Clinic we use Gentle Max Pro by Syneron Candela which allows us to target all skin types but does not currently allow us to target peach fuzz, grey, blonde or red hairs. Although older technology such as electrolysis can help those with all hair colours on lighter skin types.

“Many at-home IPL devices do not work if your skin is dark or hair is light due to lower intensity than that used professionally. Finer hairs are generally harder to treat with any method, and electrolysis would be best for this – for small areas. For some women with finer hairs they may not be suitable for treatment on the back, chest, abdomen, upper arm and areas on the face.

“We do not advise laser treatments on women who are pregnant or suffer some skin conditions (assessed at consultation).”

Would you recommend laser hair removal?

Rebecca: “Yes, definitely. This has given me longer lasting results and in the future will save me time and money.”

Joanna: “Not only do we see clients satisfied with a reduction in hair but in some cases we are able to help clients see a reduction of ingrown hairs and pigmentation compared to their previous methods of hair removal such as shaving or waxing.”

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