Take a look at our frequently asked questions below to learn more about the technology and techniques behind our hair removal options. For a pressure-free, complimentary laser hair removal consultation, visit our contact page or simply call us at 978-729-4124.
What are the primary benefits of laser hair removal?
Larger areas may be treated using lasers than with electrolysis, waxing or tweezing. Laser hair removal combines the speed of shaving with the lasting results of electrolysis. And laser hair removal is effective on almost any area of the body where smoother, younger, hair-free skin is desired.
Unwanted hair is a problem for many men and women – using traditional methods of hair removal, the hair just keeps growing back. Laser hair removal is a permanent solution to this recurring problem. Shaving arms, legs, bikini, face and other areas is a daily task for men and women alike. Unlike shaving or waxing, laser hair removal can be a permanent solution to unwanted hair.
Hair removal doesn’t have to be a painful ongoing problem. Both men and women can benefit from this affordable procedure. Imagine having smooth, hair-free skin without shaving, waxing, plucking or bleaching your unwanted hair!
Is laser hair removal really permanent?
The general opinion is that laser hair removal is permanent. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it as “permanent reduction,” but does state that it’s not effective on everyone. Generally, this means that you shouldn’t expect laser to remove every single hair from a treated area. Some people elect to follow up with electrolysis treatments to remove any remaining hairs in order to obtain complete clearance since, after a while, hair becomes too fine for laser to target. Most people will also need touch-up treatments 1 – 2 times a year after the initial set of treatments for any new growth that the body develops with age. This stated, we have seen some amazing results during our years of service and given optimal conditions, certain people do obtain near-complete clearance with time.
Does the treatment hurt?
Every person has a different tolerance level for pain. While some areas of the body are more sensitive than others, most patients report little or no discomfort. Many describe the feeling as a small rubber band snap on the skin. However, the sensation only lasts for a fraction of a second and you may feel warmth or a tingling sensation for a short time afterward. Our laser helps to cool the dermis and neutralize any discomfort. In addition, the use of ice packs can be used to decrease any discomfort.
Generally, laser hair removal is not considered to be much more painful than waxing. Most people do not require an anesthetic cream but one may be recommended for more sensitive patients. Anesthetic creams can be applied prior to the treatment. The use of a topical anesthetic is sometimes used for areas that are typically more sensitive, such as the bikini and the scrotal areas. However, the patient should be aware that using anesthetic creams can cause adverse effects, or even death, so it is important to consult with your clinician and doctor prior to using an anesthetic cream.
What can I expect during my first appointment?
Your initial consultation will be scheduled to gather information and discussing your expectations and needs. This initial visit should take approximately 30 minutes. If you are an appropriate candidate for laser therapy or traditional electrolysis, we will discuss a treatment plan, which includes cost, aftercare and the expected number of treatments necessary to achieve your goals. If you decide that laser therapy is right for you, in most instances you may be treated that same day (most treatments take less than 15 minutes.) If you require more time, an appointment can be scheduled at your convenience.
What can I expect after each laser hair removal treatment?
Temporary pinkness of the skin can occur, which typically lasts a very short time. Most people return to work or normal activities immediately after treatment. The skin could feel warm to hot afterward, similar to sunburn. Occasionally, darker skin patients may have a temporary lightening of the treated area for several weeks after the procedure, but this is actually quite rare.
It is imperative to avoid sun exposure for at least a week or more after treatment. The hair may seem as if it is growing faster after the procedure, this is actually the dead follicle pushing itself out. This is normal and can last for up to 10 days. The treated area will “shed” some hair over the next 3 – 4 weeks. You may experience a period of hairlessness in the area while you wait for your next treatment.
What kind of results can I expect from each laser hair removal treatment?
Each laser hair removal treatment will result in a hair growth reduction. Additionally, hair will grow progressively slower, lighter and finer with each treatment. It takes more than one treatment to affect all the follicles growing in an area. Most people achieve satisfactory clearance after 6 treatments, but individual results may vary depending on medical and genetic factors. Lighter colored hair may require more treatments than darker colored hair. At the end of your individual protocol, the desired outcome is 80% to 100% clearance, or reduction, in the treated area.
Patients with light skin and dark hair typical have the best response to laser hair removal. These patients may need less than 6 treatments to achieve “near” permanent hair removal. Those with lighter hair color or darker skin may need at least 6 treatments to get the same result. Certain areas of the body respond better to the laser due to the shallower depth of the hair follicle. For instance, skin in the upper lip region tends to allow for greater penetration of the laser energy compared to the skin on a man’s back. All of this is taken into account when the clinician customizes the settings on the laser for your individual session.
What kind of laser is used?
The GentleLASE System, a revolutionary long-pulse, high energy Alexandrite laser, emits a gentle beam of light that harmlessly passes through the skin where it is absorbed by the target. The laser energy is transformed into heat, leaving the surrounding skin unaffected. The skin is further protected during treatment by a Dynamic Cooling Devicetm where cryogen is sprayed onto the skin, cooling the upper layers and providing patients with increased comfort. The GentleLASE selectivity helps to protect the skin while effectively treating the unwanted hair.
The GentleLASE lasing process is a safe, fast and effective treatment for both men and women. Unlike other treatments, the GentleLASE process is easy – requiring no creams or gels, no pre-treatment waxing and no needles. In fact, laser hair removal is a medical breakthrough. Treatments are comfortable, treating hair follicles in a fraction of the time of other methods, using only the gentle power of laser light. Facial and bikini areas can usually be completed in less than 10 minutes; legs, the back and larger areas can take longer but still take a fraction of the time of conventional methods.
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal works by targeting the pigment inside the hair follicle without damaging delicate pores and structures of the skin. Because hair cycles through “growth” and “dormant” phases, and because during the “dormant” phase the follicle has no pigment, multiple treatments are needed in order to achieve optimal results.
Before each procedure, the area to be treated is shaved. This is typically performed by the individual in the privacy of their own home. During each laser session, a small hand piece, or “wand”, is placed against the skin and a burst of coolant is applied as the laser is activated. The hand piece is repositioned and the laser is then activated again. This process is repeated until the entire area has been treated. The size or the area treated will determine the number of laser activations, or “pulses”, required.
The laser works by a principle called “Selective Photothermolysis”. The laser emits wavelengths of light designed to be absorbed by the pigment in the hair (melanin). If the surrounding skin is relatively light compared to the color of the hair, then the entire energy of the laser will be concentrated in the hair shaft, effectively destroying it without affecting the skin or follicle. Hair removal lasers target the dark pigment in the hair. That’s why laser hair removal works best on light skin (so laser passes right through) and dark coarse hair, which has the most pigment.
How frequently do I need treatments?
Laser hair removal treatments are typically performed in 6 week intervals. An individualized protocol will be developed during your first consultation to fit your individual needs before beginning any treatment program. Factors that determine the length of treatment include the particular area to be treated, the texture of hair, frequency of treatments and history of temporary hair removal techniques used in the past (e.g., waxing, tweezing, shaving and depilatories, etc.)
Laser hair removal requires multiple sessions in order to achieve the desired results (maximum “clearance”). This is based primarily on biological factors – the cycle of hair growth. We recommend a protocol of 6 sessions in order to achieve clearance in a particular area. However, the number of sessions will vary for each individual. During the initial visit, the laser light disables those follicles in the “active” phase of the growth cycle. Follicles in the “dormant” phase will not be affected. Since follicles cycle through “active” and “dormant” phases, additional sessions may be desired once the dormant follicles become active.
How does laser hair removal compare to electrolysis?
Hair removal is much faster with a laser as the laser is pulsed about once per second across the surface of the skin. Each “pulse” of laser light disables a large number of hair follicles. In one pulse, the laser can remove all the hair on a patch of skin the size of a nickel (depending on the specific laser spot size, ranging from 9 – 18 mm on average.)
With electrolysis, the clinician inserts a fine needle into the hair shaft with the intention of reaching the follicle, then sends a small electrical charge designed to disable the follicle. The clinician then removes that particular hair with tweezers. Electrologists can only treat those hairs that they can see and which they can reach the follicle through the hair shaft, whereas a laser treats any “active” follicle, even if the hair has not yet reached the surface of the skin or if the hair shaft is not straight. Laser hair removal uses the cool light of the laser to scan the treatment area and within minutes all of the hairs in the laser’s beam are treated.
What is the ‘Rule of Thumb’ for choosing between laser hair removal and electrolysis?
The most cost-efficient treatments to completely clear a mid-size or larger area should start with laser to remove the bulk of the hair and finish with electrolysis to remove the remaining finer sparse hair. For small areas (generally the chin, upper lip, eyebrows, etc.), as well as for fine and light-colored hair, electrolysis is the recommended method for hair removal.
How do I get started?
If you are contemplating laser hair removal, consider the Winchester Electrology & Laser Center, located in lovely Winchester, Massachusetts. Owned and operated by Paula J. O’Byrne, the center specializes in laser hair removal using the renowned GentleLASE laser.
Confused about hair removal? We will be happy to assist you in deciding which method of hair removal is optimal for you. That is ALL we do. And that is what we do best! We have seen remarkable results in our 19+ years of business.