Simple & Fast Hair Removal
At Renaissance, our team of plastic surgeons and registered nurses use two of the latest, most advanced generations of lasers from Sciton. Both the YAG 1064 and BBL lasers are unmatched for effective and safe removal or reduction of unwanted hair. Scientifically proven and FDA-approved, these lasers work by sending a beam of light to a group of hair follicles that are destroyed at the root without harming your surrounding skin.
Is Hair Removal Right for You?
Almost everyone has unwanted hair on his or her body somewhere, and this advanced option can effectively treat all skin types and most hair colors. Shaving may last a day, waxing a couple of weeks, but none of these last forever – and at Renaissance, Dr. Boschert, Dr. Craig, or Dr. Mills can help.
Laser hair removal or reduction can remove unwanted hair from almost anywhere, including:
- Bikini area
- Upper lip
Most laser hair removal patients require multiple treatments because the procedure is most effective when hair is in the growth stage. Because hair growth occurs in phases, not all follicles will be in this stage at the same time. For optimum results, treatments are recommended every 4-6 weeks, and depending on the size of the treated area, 3-8 sessions may be necessary. During the procedure, patients may experience mild discomfort or a brief tingling sensation, but most laser hair removal patients are able to return to their normal activities immediately after treatment with no downtime.
Is Laser Hair Removal Painful?
Some patients incorrectly assume that laser hair removal involves vaporizing the hairs with the laser energy, but that’s not how the process works. The laser energy delivered by our lasers is much lower and it simply travels down the hair shaft and damages the hair follicle. When the laser pulses are delivered, patients feel a very brief prickling sensation. Most patients equate the feeling to that of a small rubber band being plucked on the skin. At Renaissance, our Sciton hair removal lasers feature a cooling mechanism in the head, which ensures the patient’s skin is kept comfortable during the treatment. Some areas are more sensitive than others, but these brief treatments are still more comfortable than shaving or waxing every couple of weeks forever.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
The key to successfully removing hair for good is the melanin in the hair shaft. This provides your hair color. We set our laser light wavelength to match the melanin in your hair. When we deliver the laser energy onto your unwanted hair, the melanin absorbs the light energy, and it instantly converts to heat. This heat travels down the hair shaft into the hair follicle, where it destroys or damages the follicle, precluding it from growing hair in the future.
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
The FDA approval of lasers for hair removal is what it calls “permanent hair reduction.” This is because laser treatments can’t remove all the unwanted hair permanently due to a couple of reasons.
First, lasers only damage hair in the anagen (growth) cycle. But hairs can also be in the catagen (transitional phase between growth and rest) or the telogen phase (rest). The catagen and telogen phases involve stopping nourishment to the hair, shedding it, and restarting a new hair shaft. That’s why lasers don’t affect hair in these phases; they’re already on their way out. The laser energy can’t get into the follicle to damage it. Every hair on the human body is independent and works alone. Considering that the human body has around five million hairs on it (men have a few hundred thousand more than women), those are a lot of hair follicles to hope to catch in the anagen phase for effective laser removal.
Second, damaged follicles can rebuild with hormonal changes. Plus, if a follicle is only partially damaged, it may heal and begin to regrow hair.
Bottom line, numerous studies show the degree of permanent hair reduction to be from 85 to 90 percent.
Is There Anything I Need to do to Prepare for my Session?
Laser hair removal works best when there is a high contrast between the color of the patient’s skin and his or her hair color. So, avoiding sun is important before your appointment. Here are some things to do to prepare:
- Avoid sun exposure — If you have a tan, you need to let it fade before coming in for your session. As a rule, we advise patients to not have any sun exposure on the areas with unwanted hair for 4-6 weeks prior to their session.
- Avoid plucking, waxing, and electrolysis — For the laser energy to get down into the follicle, the hair needs to be actively anchored in the follicle. Plucking, waxing, and electrolysis all disturb the follicle. Shaving is fine, as it doesn’t affect hair in the follicle.
- Clean your skin — The treatment areas need to be free from cosmetics, lotions, and creams. If you’ve applied deodorant and are having your underarms treated, we will remove it prior to your session.
- Certain skincare products — Certain anti-aging skincare products can cause irritation when interacting with the laser energy. These include alphahydroxy acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and others. We’ll discuss these with you and tell you want to avoid for a few days before and after your appointment.
What Results can I Expect From My Laser Hair Removal at Renaissance?
Your results depend on your goals. As detailed above, catching the unwanted hair in the growth phase of the growth cycle is important for the best hair removal. This is the time when the laser energy can reach the follicle and damage or destroy it.
That’s why we need multiple sessions to remove the most hair. If you don’t want as much hair removed, you may opt for fewer sessions on a treatment area. Or you may want to remove as much as possible. Due to the variations in each hair, with a full complement of sessions our hair removal patients at Renaissance can expect to achieve from 85 to 90 percent hair reduction.
What Is the Recovery Time for Laser Hair Removal?
There isn’t any recovery after your session. Your skin on the treated areas may be slightly red and it may swell a little bit. But these effects pass within a few hours. You can go right back to your normal activities as soon as you leave our St. Peters offices.
Can I Combine a Laser Hair Removal Session With Other Treatments?
In order to make better use of their time, we have many patients who come in to remove some unwanted hair and then also have another treatment. It wouldn’t make sense to combine surgery with laser hair removal, but most of our Medical Spa offerings could be combined into a single appointment.
For instance, you could have laser hair removal on your upper lip or underarms, and then move over to our CoolSculpting area and have a session to remove unwanted fat on, say, your flanks. Botox, dermal fillers, Kybella injections for a double chin, microdermabrasion, even sclerotherapy to remove spider veins on your calves would all be easily combined with laser hair removal. Really the only thing you wouldn’t want to do if have treatments done on the same area. You wouldn’t have laser hair removal on your sideburns and then have a facial, for instance.
If you’d like to combine treatments, let’s talk about that during your consultation.