How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
"Laser hair removal works by emitting a monochromatic beam of light that bypasses the epidermis and disables the reproductive cycle of the hair within the follicle," said Christian Karavolas, laser hair removal expert and founder of Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal. The laser does this by picking up the pigment in the hair and targeting that area. This is what makes lasers effective at providing long-term results.
The treatment areas available differ by spa, but you can pretty much get laser hair removal anywhere you have hair and typically shave. This includes legs, underarms, arms, bikini line, back, face, lower stomach, and even full Brazilian.
Who Is the Best Candidate For Laser Hair Removal?
Gone are the days when laser hair removal was only safe for people with lighter skin tones. "In this day and age, lasers are so advanced that people of all skin colors and hair types are candidates," said Karavolas. While it used to be an issue because the lasers would target the pigment in the skin as well as the pigment in the hair, new advancements in technology have fixed that.
"Alexandrite Lasers have a short wavelength that are more potent on the epidermis and therefore are more suited for lighter skin and lighter hair," he said. "ND Yag lasers are best suited for dark skin and coarse hair, as they bypass the epidermis, therefore giving a safe treatment without damaging the skin." Those with darker skin should just check with the location they plan on visited to ensure they have the proper equipment.
When Is the Best Time to Start Hair Removal Treatments?
Here's the tricky part. Even though hair removal is top of mind in the spring as you book your summer vacations, that's not the best time to get it. "The best time to start laser hair removal is fall to winter," said Karavolas. "If you expose your skin to the sun without sunscreen or get very tan, we recommend you wait for the cooler months."
That doesn't mean it's impossible to get it in the summer, but you will need to be more careful to ensure the skin doesn't get any color by avoiding the sun and wearing a high SPF. You also can't have any self-tanner products on at the time of your appointment which are commonly worn in the summer.
What Treatments and Products Should You Avoid While Getting a Laser Treatment?
We already covered that tanning products should be avoided during a laser treatment, but that's not all. "Any topical retinoids or harsh antibiotics that may cause photo-sensitivity should be avoided," said Karavolas. This is important to note if you plan on getting an area on your face treated and use skin-care products with retinol in them.