Caddell's Laser & Electrolysis Clinic | Bellevue, WA | 425-998-0181

40 Lake Bellevue Drive, Suite 101
Bellevue, WA 98005


Laser Hair Removal FAQ

Q: How does the hair removal laser work?
A: Lasers have been used for many years for a variety of medical cosmetic procedures including the treatment of facial and leg veins, age spots and rejuvenating the skin on the face. The laser emits a laser beam of light that passes through the skin to the hair follicle where it is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle. The laser energy is transformed into heat, which destroys the hair follicle leaving the surrounding skin unaffected. The laser reaches and treats hundreds of follicles at a time. The skin is further protected during treatment by a Dynamic Cooling Device where cryogen is sprayed onto the skin cooling the upper layers and providing patients with increased comfort.

Q:What does the treatment include?
Depending on the amount of hair treated, the procedure varies from patient to patient. Generally, the treatment will include: Wearing safety eye wear to protect the practitioner and patient's eyes from the laser light during the procedure, a small hand piece will be used that touches the skin to deliver the laser light, and a light spray of coolant onto the skin will be felt just before each laser pulse. Your full treatment may be done on same day or up to two weeks later, depending on the skin reaction. Most patients experience little discomfort at the treatment site because of the dynamic cooling device. The degree of discomfort varies with each person, depending on his/her pain threshold. Topical anesthesia may be requested based on individual preferences or tolerances.
Be sure to discuss this with your practitioner in advance of the laser treatment. The procedure can take as little as 10 minutes or up to an hour, depending on the area treated. The treated area may become pink or red within 30 minutes of treatment; this may last from a few hours and is relieved with the application of ice or cooling gels.
Q:How many treatments will I need?
:Hair grows in cycles. The number of treatments required depends upon your skin color, hair color and coarseness of the hair. Everyone will require at least 7 - twelve treatments as the process is only effective on hair during the early growing cycle. Repeat sessions will be necessary to treat these follicles when they re-enter the early growth phase.
Q:How long does a Laser Hair Removal treatment take?
:One of the real advantages to laser therapy is speed. Each laser pulse treats about a half-inch area per second. The amount of time needed depends on the size of area treated. For example, the lip can be treated in less than five minutes; bikini and underarms together take fifteen minutes. A back can take about an hour. These are average treatment times and will vary due to the height and weight of the patient.

Q:Does Laser Treatment hurt?
Most people say that the laser pulse feels like a small rubber band snapping against your skin. The stinging sensation is only momentary and is certainly less uncomfortable than waxing or tweezing. Typically our clients do not require a topical anesthetic. Our lasers are equipped with a special cooling device to minimize discomfort.

Q:Is it permanent?
Permanent hair removal, as defined by the FDA, is 85% or greater hair reduction. There is no laser that has received FDA clearance for a claim of permanent hair removal. Laser systems have clearly documented that they can achieve permanent hair reduction equivalent to or better than electrology. The FDA has cleared many lasers for permanent hair reduction. Clinical studies have shown a 75% permanent long-term reduction of hair after four consecutive treatments. The results are cumulative, i.e. more treatments lead to greater degrees of permanent hair reduction. For any given patient results cannot be precisely predicted. Some people do not respond to treatment or need many more treatments than others, particularly when hormonal issues are involved. Results can be variable, even with the best lasers. During your consultation, we will work with you to set a realistic expectation of your results.

Q:What happens after the treatment?
Immediately following your treatment, the area may appear a bit red and swollen (similar to a sunburn). These effects may last for several hours or less. Three to seven days after treatment you may experience what seems to be re-growth of hair. Actually, most of these hairs are being shed as a result of your treatment, and are not re-growing. Between treatments you should not wax or pluck your hair, but it is okay to shave.
Q:When can I resume normal activities?
Following the treatment, you can return to your normal activities right away. Also avoid direct sun exposure after treatment and if you do go in the sun, protect the treated area with a minimum SPF 30 Sun Block (not sunscreen).

Q:Who is a good candidate for Laser Hair Removal?
If you are concerned about unwanted hair, you are probably a good candidate for laser hair removal. Individuals with fair skin and dark, coarse hair are typically the best candidates. However, we can treat most skin and hair colors. If you are taking a sun-sensitive medication (like Accutane), a waiting period is necessary before you begin treatment.

Q:What precautions should be taken before and after treatment?
Avoid the sun two to four weeks before and after treatment or until your practitioner allows it.  No hot tub, cardio exercise or hot yoga for 24 hours after treatment. You must avoid electrolysis, plucking or waxing hair for 2 weeks prior to treatment. You should discuss your desired results and the improvements you expect to achieve with your practitioner. Together you can decide if your expectations will be met and if this laser treatment is the best option.

Q:What if I have dark skin, or what if I have blonde/red/gray hair? Will the laser work for me?
The laser energy is attracted to the melanin in your hair - the more melanin, the better the results. Because white or gray hair does not contain any melanin it does not respond to treatments. However, some hair that would be considered blonde or red actually does contain enough melanin to be treatable.

Q:How far apart are the treatments spaced?
Treatment frequency will vary depending upon the area that is being treated, as well as on how many treatments you have had. Typically, the initial 3-5 treatments are spaced 4-6 weeks apart. Follow up treatments may occur from 8 to 12 weeks, depending on how well your hair responds to the treatments.

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