At our Hayes Valley, San Francisco location we use the Cynosure Apogee® system for laser hair removal. In Larkspur, Marin we use the Lumenis LightSheer® DESIRE high-speed laser. Both can be used on nearly all skin types.
Read our timely article on Summer VS Winter for Laser Hair Removal.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal (LHR) is one of the most commonly done cosmetic procedures in the U.S. It is used to reduce unwanted hair. The laser beams highly concentrated light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle. This energy is converted to heat, which damages the follicle. Although a laser hair removal treatment effectively delays hair growth for long periods, and destroys some of the follicles over time, it usually doesn’t result in completely permanent hair removal. Multiple laser hair removal treatments are needed at first, and maintenance treatments might be needed as well, depending on the area treated.
Am I a Good Candidate?
Hair color and skin type influence the success of laser hair removal. The basic principle is that the pigment of the hair, but not the pigment of the skin, should absorb the light energy. Therefore, a contrast between hair and skin color — dark hair on lighter skin — results in the best outcomes. Laser hair removal is less effective for hair colors that don’t absorb light well: gray, red, blond and white. However we use the latest technology and always offer free consultations to determine the best way to achieve your goals. So if you’re not happy with shaving, tweezing, or waxing to remove unwanted hair, laser hair removal would be an option worth considering.
What are the benefits?
• The results last for a long time. Unlike other forms of hair removal like shaving and waxing where the hair grows back in days or weeks, hair effectively removed by laser won’t grow back for several months or years. When it does grow back, the hair is finer, lighter, and not as visible as it was before. In some cases, the hair never grows back.
• No Ingrown Hairs. Unlike waxing, threading and epilating, you will not have to put up with painful and unsightly ingrown hairs. Neither will you have to tolerate razor burns or irritation. Laser hair removal can even improve ingrown hairs.
• Treatment times are fast. Although speed will depend on the size of the area being treated, you are likely to see results within the first few weeks. Also consider all of the time you will save by not having to shave or have regular waxing sessions.
• It can be done almost anywhere on the body. Legs, back, underarms, bikini line, chest, stomach, face, and more.
How do I prepare for treatment?
You should abstain from plucking, waxing, and electrolysis for six weeks before treatment since the laser targets the hairs’ roots, so they need to be intact for the procedure. Also avoid sun exposure for six weeks as sun exposure makes laser hair removal less effective.
What happens during treatment?
Just before the procedure, the hair being treated will be trimmed to a few millimeters above the skin surface. We will apply a topical numbing cream twenty to thirty minutes before the actual treatment to help minimize the sting of the laser pulses. Treating a small area, such as the upper lip, might take only a few minutes. Treating a larger area, such as the back, could take as much as an hour.
Post-treatment or downtime?
You might notice redness and swelling for the first few hours after a LHR session. To reduce any discomfort, you can apply a cold pack to the treated area. It is best to minimize sun exposure after, and between, scheduled treatments. Always use a broad spectrum sunscreen when out in the sun.
How long until I see results?
Laser hair removal usually requires a series of three or more treatments spaced about five to eight weeks apart to see (and feel) noticeable results. This is because hair naturally grows in three different stages. All hair is not in the same stage of growth at the same time, so when an area is treated only a percentage of hair follicles will be affected. This is why multiple treatments are necessary. You can expect a 10% to 25% reduction in hair after the first treatment.
How long will results last?
Hair removal is permanent When a hair follicle is destroyed completely, but it requires a number of treatments. After finishing the treatments, most patients do not see any hair on the treated skin for several months or even years. When the hair regrows, there tends to be less of it. The hairs also tend to be finer and lighter in color. But if a hair follicle is damaged but not destroyed, the hair will eventually regrow. It can be difficult to destroy every single hair follicle, so most people will see some hair regrowth. Multiple treatments lead to long term hair reduction but you should not expect totally permanent hair removal, so touch-up treatment are often required.
Contact us for a complimentary consultation to consider a treatment plan and budget for you.
“I’ve had a great experience with my laser hair removal. The treatment has been very effective (unlike my past experience with laser hair removal) and scheduling has been really easy.”
– Lindsay R.
“I have been seeing Linda for Laser Hair Removal– the results are fantastic! She really knew how to work with tan skin and dark hair. She walked me through the process, made sure it was economical for me and set goals against each treatment. End result is amazing!”
– Indogal I.
” This place is amazing! I have started my Laser hair removal treatments and so far have seen amazing results. ”
– Martha C.
” I’ve had laser hair removal in the past, but it never worked very well. My wife convinced me to try again with the Hayes Valley Med team. I don’t know if the other places I had gone just didn’t know how to do the procedure correctly, or if they just had old lasers, but since I’ve been coming here, I’ve had such great results. ”
– Carl P.