Laser Hair Removal FAQ
1. How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal uses technology in which a beam of light is applied to unwanted hair on various parts of the body. This light is a specific wavelength that targets the melanin—the pigment in the hair that gives it colour—in the hair follicle. When the light enters the follicle, it is converted to heat energy that inactivates the follicle, preventing the hair from growing again.
There are three stages of hair growth. They are: Anagen—active growth; Catagen—a brief phase in which growth stops and resting begins, and Telogen—a resting phase in which no further growth occurs. In order for laser treatments to be effective, hair must be in the active growth stage—Anagen. Because individual hairs are at different stages of growth at any given time, multiple laser treatments are required to target all of them when they are in the Anagen stage.
2. Is laser hair removal safe?
Absolutely. When performed correctly by a certified, experienced laser technician, laser hair removal is both safe and effective. However, it is a clincal procedure. As such, there is a potential for associated risks. Fortunately, they are minimal and seldom dangerous, particularly when the necessary precautions are taken.
As a professional laser hair-removal clinic, we will not perform any procedures without first assessing: your complete medical history, your current health condition, and any potential you may have for complications.
3. What type of training do technicians undergo?
Our technicians at Electra Laser are Medical Estheticians. In addition, they have received training and certification specific to our laser hair-removal equipment. While B.C. has no regulations in place governing technicians who work in laser hair-removal clinics, we require our technicians to be fully trained and certified. All of our technicians have a minimum of two years’ training.
4. Which laser equipment does Electra Laser use?
At Electra Laser, we use the Cynosure Elite™ Dual-Platform Laser Hair-Removal System. This is a high-powered dual combination of the Alexandrite laser and the Nd:YAG laser—accompanied by the Cynosure SmartCool® Laser Treatment Cooling System. SmartCool® provides a continuous flow of chilled air before, during, and after any Cynosure laser hair-removal treatment. This combination removes unwanted hair with unsurpassed efficiency while providing client comfort. Our two Cynosure Elite™ laser machines are leading-edge technology, enabling us to provide outstanding, efficient service to our growing clientele. Our equipment is maintained and repaired by professional service technicians who have been certified by the manufacturer.
5. Am I a good candidate for laser hair removal?
There are certain physical characteristics that make some people better candidates for laser hair removal than others. Specifically, we look at your skin tone and hair colour. Blonde and grey hair does not respond well to laser hair removal because of the lack of pigment in the hair follicle. However, because of the advances in laser hair-removal technology, more people can now be treated successfully.
During your complimentary consultation (see below), you and your technician will determine whether or not you are a good candidate for laser hair removal. Should you not be, the two of you can discuss other hair-removal alternatives.
6. Am I required to have a consultation and undergo a patch test?
Yes, we will book a complimentary* consultation appointment for you with one of our certified laser technicians prior to scheduling any laser hair-removal treatments. This is for your own protection, and we cannot make exceptions. At this time, you should also share with us any past experiences you have had with laser hair removal.
During your consultation, we will perform a patch test to determine your personal settings, rule out any adverse reactions, and give you a chance to experience the process. We will also address any concerns you may have at this time. You are responsible for informing your laser hair-removal technician of any medications or natural health products you are taking, and of any underlying medical conditions you have. These are critical details that we must consider when customizing your laser hair-removal treatments.
We encourage you to ask all of your questions during your consultation so that we can address your concerns prior to beginning your treatment. It is important to us that: you are well informed before you begin laser hair-removal treatments and; you feel comfortable with our clinic and your technician.
* We require a credit card number or a debit/credit deposit of $50 to reserve the time for your consultation. After your appointment, we will either completely refund your money, or apply it to any future treatments that you may book. You must cancel your consultation a minimum of 24 hours prior to your reserved time to receive a refund. However, should you not cancel, or cancel less than 24 hours prior to your scheduled time, we will retain your deposit.
7. Which areas of the body can you treat?
We treat the following areas:
- Face, including: ears, nose, upper lip, chin, cheeks, sideburns, and neck. We do not recommend eyebrow shaping, however, we can treat the area between the eyebrows, or the “unibrow;”
- Arms, including: underarms, forearms, upper arms, and shoulders
- Legs, including: the full leg, thighs, and lower leg
- Feet, including: the upper foot, and toes
- Torso, including: the full back, upper back, chest, and abdomen
- Pubic region, including: the bikini line, full Brazilian, Brozilian
The price for laser hair removal will vary depending upon the size of the area to be treated, and the amount of hair to be removed. We will give you a price quotation during your consultation.
8. Is laser hair removal permanent?
While Health Canada approves laser technology as a method of permanent hair reduction, there is not yet enough evidence to indicate that it can permanently remove hair. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that permanent hair reduction is “the long-term, stable reduction in the number of hairs re-growing after a treatment regime, which may include several sessions.” What does this mean?
Because individual hairs are in different stages of growth, you will require a series of treatments to target hair follicles as they progress through these different stages. During your treatment regime, you may experience some hair regrowth; however, complete regrowth in a treatment area is extremely rare. Very light-haired individuals are more likely to experience this outcome.
Although government stipulates that we cannot guarantee permanent hair removal, we can tell you that most individuals experience at least an 80% permanent reduction in hair growth. To maintain your results, we usually recommend that you schedule one or two laser hair-removal sessions per year. Essentially, this helps to ensure a virtually hair-free treatment site.
For more information, visit Health Canada
9. IPL vs. Laser Hair Removal – What’s the difference?
Many clinics offer IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments for hair removal, which should not be mistaken for the newer technology of Laser hair removal. IPL and Lasers work by converting light energy into heat energy that when applied to the treatment area, targets the melanin, damaging the hair follicle and stopping, or inhibiting hair growth. These two technologies differ in the light wavelengths administered by each.
IPL uses a combination of different light wavelengths. Only some of these wavelengths will be effective for hair removal. Some wavelengths will reach the hair follicle, some wavelengths will not go deep enough to reach the hair follicle, and some wavelengths will go past the hair follicle. This means a percentage of the treatment will be ineffective and, in certain circumstances, can actually promote hair growth. And, less effective treatments mean more treatments overall will be needed to reach your hair-free goals!
Laser is the latest and most effective technology for hair removal. Our Cynosure Alexandrite laser uses a single, precise wavelength that targets the melanin in the hair follicle exactly – no hit and miss. This exact wavelength provides a more effective treatment for hair removal than IPL. More effective individual treatments means fewer overall treatments are needed to achieve your desired results.
Why do some clinics market IPL devices for hair removal? The simple answer is – cost. An IPL machine typically costs less than one third of a laser machine and can “multi-task” for other skin services. We love our IPL machines for photo facials and treatment of sun and age spots, spider veins and other skin rejuvenating services. We simply believe it’s not the best technology for hair removal.
Don’t settle for IPL to remove your unwanted hair. Come see us at Electra Laser for the most advanced Laser hair removal technology and say Hello to a smoother you!
10. What are some benefits of laser hair removal?
Permanent reduction in hair growth:
Health Canada regulations do not allow us to refer to laser hair removal as a permanent removal of hair. However, during a treatment regime, you should begin to notice a progressive decrease in hair growth between sessions. Most individuals will experience at least an 80% permanent reduction in hair growth. To maintain results, we usually recommend that you schedule one or two laser hair-removal sessions per year. Essentially, this helps to ensure a virtually hair-free treatment site.
People who have undergone laser hair-removal treatment compare it to the snap of an elastic band against the skin. And while slight redness and/or swelling may occur after treatment, it normally subsides within 24 hours. This is a positive indication that damage has occurred to the hair follicle and your body is reacting to your hair removal treatment.
Laser hair removal is far less labour-intensive than many traditional hair-removal techniques, such as electrolysis and waxing. Therefore, treatment time is reduced, and ultimately, so is your cost.
When compared to traditional hair-removal techniques such as waxing, shaving, depilation, and electrolysis, laser hair removal is a very time-efficient option. Actual treatment time has been reduced with the advent of better laser equipment, such as our Cynosure Elite™ system. Fewer treatments are required because of the laser’s ability to target multiple hair follicles at one time.
In-grown hair is reduced:
Although complete laser hair-removal treatment can require six or more sessions, clients often experience a reduction in the incidence of ingrown hairs—pseudofolliculitis—with as little as one treatment. Ingrown hair is usually the result of traditional hair-removal techniques, such as shaving, waxing, and plucking. For women, ingrown hair usually occurs at the bikini line, armpits, and sometimes the eyebrows. For men, ingrown hair is common on the chin and neck, and is often referred to as “razor bumps.”
Aside from its unsightly appearance and discomfort, ingrown hair is not usually a health concern. However, when you attempt to remove it using tweezers, the hair follicle can become infected and painful, and you may require medical attention. To avoid this outcome, we highly recommend laser hair-removal treatment.
11. What are the possible side-effects of laser hair removal?
Most clients experience few side-effects, and complications are extremely rare. Most commonly, you can expect minor swelling and redness around the treatment site. These are your body’s natural reactions to the slight irritation caused by the laser’s intense light energy. At Electra Laser, our Cynosure Elite™ lasers are equipped with a dermal therapeutic cooling system to reduce swelling and redness. However, should they occur, any swelling and redness will subside after a few days.
There are some risks that you should be aware of, though they tend to occur at the hands of inexperienced technicians. Burning and discoloration of the skin can occur during treatment. In rare instances, burning can be severe, and in some cases, infection may occur. If you experience a burn as a result of laser hair removal, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Skin discoloration is the lightening (hypopigmentation) or darkening (hyperpigmentation) of the skin at the site of laser treatment. While not usually dangerous, this outcome is undesirable. Dark patches may revert to natural skin tone over time, whereas lighter patches tend to be more permanent.
Burning and discoloration of the skin are more common among people with darker skin tones. This is because there is more pigmentation in dark-skinned individuals than in fair-skinned individuals. However, that is not to say that laser hair removal cannot be both safe and effective for individuals who have dark skin tones.
Regardless of your skin tone, it is essential that you speak to your technician to determine whether you are a good candidate for laser hair removal. At Electra Laser, our Cynosure Elite™ lasers are designed to treat all skin types.
12. Is laser hair removal safe during pregnancy?
While some clinics treat clients during pregnancy, we do not at Electra Laser. Our primary concern is both for your health, and for that of your unborn child. In addition, you should consider the hormonal changes that you will go through during your pregnancy—changes that sometimes involve hair growth and skin pigmentation. We strongly recommend that you seek advice from your health-care professional prior to contacting any laser hair-removal clinic. And, we’d be happy to treat you after the safe arrival of your baby!
13. Should I wax or pluck between treatments?
No, it is not advisable. It will remove the hair from the follicle, leaving no target for your next laser treatment. This may also disrupt the growth cycle of the hair and render your laser hair-removal treatments less effective. However, you may shave or trim hair between treatments, as neither will affect the growth cycle.
14. Is laser hair removal better than electrolysis?
Laser hair removal is a newer technology. We believe it to be a more convenient, comfortable, and cost-effective method of permanent hair reduction than electrolysis. Electrolysis is an invasive, painful process that involves inserting a needle into individual hair follicles—one follicle at a time—delivering an electrical charge to the follicle to disrupt the hair’s growth.
Laser hair-removal treatments target and deliver energy—through a beam of light—to many hair follicles at one time. This technology enables us to treat an area in a fraction of the time required for an electrolysis treatment. It also makes laser hair removal the more favourable choice for larger areas of the body, such as the back and legs.
Electrolysis often requires years of treatments, whereas most of our laser hair-removal clients achieve desired results in six to eight treatments. And, not least, laser hair removal is much less painful than electrolysis since it uses light rather than a needle.
15. How many treatments will I need?
Most areas require six-to-eight treatments. Ideally, they should be four to six weeks apart. However, depending upon your skin tone, and hair colour and density, this may vary. Your technician will be able to provide you with a more precise estimate during your consultation.
16. Pre and Post Treatment Instructions:
Please— Shave 12-24 hours before (all treatments). Do not tan for two to four weeks prior (technician will advise). Remove all makeup, lotion, and deodorant. Do not wax, thread, or tweeze for two to four weeks prior. Apply any topical anesthetic one to one-and-a-half hours prior, and then cover with plastic or Saran wrap to prevent oxidization or removal.
Please— Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the treated area to help reduce redness and swelling (can last from one hour to 48 hours). Apply a minimum SPF-30 sunscreen (UVA/UVB) to protect against sun exposure for a minimum of one week. Do not use tanning beds or expose unprotected skin to sun between treatments. Apply makeup and deodorant with caution. Spot-test all products for 12-24 hours before full application. Be advised that treated hair can take one to two weeks to be excreted from the body, and to fall out. Feel free to shave between treatments. Do not wax, thread, tweeze, or use depilatory products—this will remove the hair follicles, making it impossible to remove the hair with laser. Do not exercise; take hot showers, or use hot tubs or saunas for 12-48 hours.