Many of us spend countless hours a year removing unwanted hair from our bodies. We use all kinds of methods to remove hair, like shaving, waxing, and bleaching. Yet, none of these offers a permanent solution and can be painful or even dangerous. If you’re ready to tackle unwanted hair, call Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY to discuss full body laser hair removal.
What Is Full Body Laser Hair Removal?
Laser technology allows professionals to target hair with pulses of light applied to the skin. The light from the laser is absorbed by the pigment of the hair and travels down the shaft to the hair follicle. It’s in the follicle that the light turns to heat.
The heat disrupts and destroys the follicle when it’s in its active growing phase. Once these follicles are destroyed, they can no longer grow hair, and the results are permanent.
Why Do We Have Hair Everywhere?
Before the modern-day, meaning before houses, heat, and clothes, our hair was much thicker and played a vital role in our survival. It acted as a barrier to debris, pests, and other foreign objects from getting to our skin. It also regulated our temperature, keeping us warm in cold weather and hanging on to sweat to cool us in hot weather.
We have hair growing on every part of our bodies except for the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet because these needed to be sensitive so we could sense injury or dangerous conditions.
Now, we don’t need hair everywhere, and we spend a lot of time trying to remove it.
What Is Hair?
Hair is something we all take for granted without really knowing what it is. To understand why full body laser hair removal works, we have to know what makes up our hair. Our hair is made of the protein keratin. The shaft of the hair is the part we can see, and the cells in that part of the hair are no longer alive.
This is where all the action happens. The follicle anchors the hair to the skin. The base of the follicle is known as the hair bulb and this is where cells divide and grow to make the shaft of the hair. Blood vessels nourish the cells here, and hormones are delivered to change our hair’s growth during different phases of our lives.
The color of our hair is determined by our genetics and is created by pigment cells that produce melanin in the follicle. As we age, these pigment cells die and our hair loses its color, turning gray.
Hair’s Growth Cycle
Our hair grows in a four-stage cycle. You’ll notice you lose hair every day. Most of us lose about 100 hairs from our heads daily. Not all of our hair is growing at the same time, which is also why you’ll see that hairs on your head are always at different lengths, which can add to frizz and flyaway hair.
This is known as the anagen phase and is the active growing phase. This stage in the cycle can last between two and seven years, depending on your genetics. How long this phase lasts will determine the length of your hair.
The growth phase can be different lengths of time depending on the part of your body on which it grows. The longest growth phase is found on our scalps.
This phase, the catagen phase, is a transitional period that lasts about ten days. This is when the follicle shrinks and detaches from the bulb and moves closer to the surface of the skin.
The telogen phase of hair growth lasts about three months, and anywhere from 10 to 15% of our hair is in this phase at all times. The old hair is resting closer to the surface of the skin while new hair forms in the bulb of the follicle.
New Hair Phase
The exogen phase is when we shed our old hair as the new hair pushes out of the skin. The new hair then enters its growth phase and the cycle begins again. Most people can see between 50-150 hairs shed each day, and this is considered normal.
Most of us try to remove unwanted hair daily. This can be time-consuming and even painful depending on our preferred method of removal. Shaving, waxing, bleaching, and plucking are all temporary and an exercise in futility if we’re trying to eliminate hair completely.
The only permanent way to remove hair is through full body laser hair removal. We think we may be saving money by using our daily routines, but if you add up all the money spent over a lifetime of hair removal, the costs of these temporary methods can far surpass what we might spend on laser treatment sessions.
This is the most popular method of hair removal. Both men and women use razors to remove hair from all parts of the body. The downside is the time it takes to shave every day, and the results are temporary. No sooner have we shaved then our hair is growing back for us to do it all over again the next day. For those of you with fast-growing hair, you may notice stubble later the same day.
Shaving may seem like an inexpensive way to remove unwanted hair, but with the rising costs of razors, it quickly adds up. There are other downsides to this daily ritual:
- Razor burn from dull or inexpensive razors
- Immediate re-growth
- Scarring from nicks and cuts in hard to reach and sensitive areas, like ankles and knees
- Waste of time
The frustrating part about waxing is the illusion it gives of permanently changing the way our hair grows. Once you’ve applied hot wax to your skin and waited for it to harden so you can rip out your hair, follicle and all, it appears to grow back thinner and sparser. This is temporary.
While your follicle is revving back up to speed, your hair may be softer, but over time as the blood vessels return and protein builds, the hair will return to its normal thickness and density. More downsides to waxing include:
- Expensive monthly visits to a salon
- The pain of ripping hair out from its root
- Burns, blisters, and infections from hot wax and cross-contamination of publicly used wax
- Damage to sensitive skin
These creams and lotions are packed with chemicals designed to attack and break down the protein in hair, turning it to jelly. Not only do these creams come with an offensive odor, but the chemicals needed to destroy hair are harmful. If directions aren’t followed, the results can be burns, rashes, blisters, and permanent scarring.
This method is frustratingly temporary because it only addresses hair at the surface. People with dark hair may end up with a blue tinge just below the surface. This is because the hair is still there, just under the skin, but some of the chemicals may have seeped down, turning it to jelly and creating a goop under your skin.
This doesn’t remove hair at all but tries to mask it by removing its color. While this may give the illusion of less hair, it can sometimes be more noticeable. Bleaching does nothing to address the volume or thickness of hair and putting makeup on it can call attention to it, doing the opposite of what was intended.
Bleach can also be harsh on the skin and may cause burns and other damage.
How Full Body Laser Hair Removal Works
The laser looks for the contrast between your hair and your skin, using pigmentation as a bullseye. The best results come from the biggest contrast between hair and skin color, with dark hair against light skin getting the best results. Laser technology has come a long way, so people with lighter hair and darker skin can now enjoy the benefits of this treatment.
As each follicle in the active growth phase is targeted, it dies. Slowly, the hair will shed and those hairs that have lost their follicle because of laser disruption will not grow back.
What to Expect
Your skincare and laser specialist will meet with you to determine if this is the right treatment for you. Your skin and hair will be examined in the areas that most concern you. Areas of the body this treatment works well on include:
- Bikini area
If you’re a good candidate for this treatment, there are a few preparations you must make.
Before Your Appointment
It’s important you don’t tan or use tanning products for a month before your appointment. Remember, the laser targets the contrast between your hair and skin, so the lighter your skin, the better. You also shouldn’t wax or pluck for six to eight weeks before treatment. You want to leave as many of your follicles in the growth phase as possible.
You can continue to shave and will be asked to do so 24 hours before your appointment. This allows the laser a clearer target. Without surface hair blocking its view, it’s better able to pinpoint the follicle.
During Your Appointment
To start your session, a numbing cream may be applied to your skin to maximize your comfort. During your full body laser hair session, the laser will be passed over your skin where it will target the follicle and sent its pulsed light down the shaft of the hair to destroy it.
Appointment times vary based on the area to be treated. If you’re doing a full-body laser hair removal session, you can plan on two to three hours based on the coverage area and the amount of hair involved.
Seven to ten days after treatment, you’ll start to shed hair. These are the hairs from the follicle which was destroyed. Not all of your hair will be permanently removed yet because the laser only targets hair in its growth phase, and that can exclude up to 25% of your hair.
Multiple sessions may be required to permanently remove all your unwanted hair. Some clients, especially men, may just have one or two sessions to thin out hair on areas like the arms and legs.
Once the hair is gone, follow-up sessions shouldn’t be necessary.
Call for an Appointment
If you’re tired of spending time and money on an endless pursuit of removing unwanted hair, it’s time to talk to a professional. Call Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, NY to discover how full body laser hair removal can give you the permanently smooth and soft skin you’ve always wanted. We’re dedicated to helping you look and feel your best.