Laser FAQ Questions
Shaving is the most common method but is time consuming, inconvenient and results in only a few days of hair free skin, requiring constant maintenance. Tweezing or plucking the hair is another alternative , except for small areas this method can be very tedious and impractical. Waxing can treat broad areas and results may last for a month or more. The process can be painful and may distort the follicle, resulting in ingrown hairs and irritant reactions. Until the last several years, electrolysis was the only long-term method of hair removal. In electrolysis, a needle is inserted adjacent to each hair follicle and then the follicle is heated using a galvanic current. This process is a tedious, time-consuming and painful process. It typically takes months or even years of repeat treatments. The effectiveness is also dependent on the skill of the technician, and can result in pinpoint scarring. While all of these methods are effective over the short term, they are in turn inconvenient, messy, painful or associated with significant risk such as infection or scarring.
There are three main advantages to LightSheer hair removal technology: Comfort, speed and accuracy. Since the LightSheer has a unique cooling hand piece, it does not cause the kind of skin irritation that other methods may create. It allows for larger areas to be treated, considerably increasing the efficacy of the hair removal process. Finally, the LightSheer is a precise instrument that can be adjusted to the exact parameters that will disable only the hair follicle, minimally affecting the surrounding skin.
Absolutely. The lightSheer was developed from years of research at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Wellman Laboratories of Photomedicine, one of the world’s leading research institutions. The laser parameters were carefully designed to inhibit the regrowth of hair by studying the anatomy of the hair follicle and precisely matching the laser output to the size, depth and location of hair follicles. The actively cooled sapphire hand piece was designed to conduct heat away form the skin before, during and after each pulse.
Eye protection is an important feature during treatment. For safety, laser hair removal is not recommended when pregnant. People treated, commonly experience reddening of the skin, follicular swelling and histamine/hive reactions. Most skin reactions resolve within anywhere from 1 to 2 hours but can last for up to 24 to 48 hours following treatment. Other temporary adverse side effects like hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) and hypopigmentaion (lightening of the skin) is possible but less common. You can lower your risks of pigmentation changes by following the pre-treatment instructions and avoiding sun exposure, suntan beds and self-tanning lotions.
The treatment is approved by the FDA, who deemed it safe. The light produced by the laser is in the infra-red end of the light spectrum as opposed to the UV end. This type of light is non-carcinogenic (non-cancer causing). Lasers have been used in the medical profession for over 10 years and no long-term side effects have been reported.
Some people find the first treatment more uncomfortable than subsequent treatments. This is because there are more hair roots which are destroyed during the first treatment; and perhaps because some people are more apprehensive during the first treatment, because they are not sure of what to expect. Some areas of the body are also more sensitive than others, such as upper lip and bikini area, however your technician is well trained in discomfort techniques and will prepare your treatment accordingly.
Everyone’s pain threshold is different. As treatment settings vary according to individual skin and hair types, so do the levels of discomfort. Factors depend on the sensitivity of your skin, the area being treated, amount of melanin in your skin, and whether a numbing anesthetic is being used. The most commonly treated areas only take a few minutes to treat and it’s over before you know it. Those with darker skin types may experience more pain during laser hair removal, and should use a topical anesthetic. We always provide the option of a topical anesthetic, such as EMLA, and this will be discussed at your initial consultation. You can schedule to have your topical anesthetic applied, if it is an area that may be hard to reach, or do by yourself, such as a back. Some people find it helpful to take two plain Tylenol a couple of hours before coming in for treatment, and some women find that they are more sensitive during their menstrual cycles, however, this would not preclude treatment.
The LightSheer only emits infrared light, and is equipped with a cooling hand piece which helps conduct heat away from the skin. The laser pulse is often described as a wave of heat with a pinprick or rubber band snapping sensation. Some areas of the body are more sensitive than others, so you may elect to have a topical anesthetic (EMLA) applied in order to increase the comfort during the procedure. EMLA is available over the counter at most pharmacies for approximately $45 for a 30gm tube. EMLA needs to be applied 1/8 inch thick (like icing a cake) and covered with saran wrap, 1 ½-2 hours before treatment.
The laser works by disabling hair follicles that are actively producing hair (anagen phase) at the time of treatment. Since other hairs will enter the growth phase at different times, additional treatments will be necessary to disable all hair follicles in a given area. It usually involves 3-6 treatments over the year for the body and 3-8 treatments for facial areas. Our treatments are offered in packages of 3 and after completion most people experience an average 50-85% permanent reduction of hair. Due to the cyclical nature of hair growth, and the body’s ability to reproduce new hair follicles, follow-up treatments may be necessary, depending upon individual desired results. Some individuals may only require a single treatment to possibly reduce the volume and thickness of hair.
Each laser pulse will treat an area of 3/8 of an inch or 9x9rnm. The amount of time needed depends on the size of area treated. As an example, the lip can be treated in less than 10 minutes, bikini/underarms together take 45 minutes, full legs 1.5 to 2 hours, full back/shoulders/neck takes 2 hours. These are average treatment times and will vary due to height and weight of the patient.
If you are concerned about unwanted hair, you are probably a good candidate for laser hair removal. Individuals with fair skin, and dark hair are typically the best candidates, however the LightSheer can adapt its settings to treat any skin colour. If you have white, gray or light blonde hair, recent sun exposure (including self-tanning lotions, and tanning beds), pregnant, or you are taking a sun sensitive medication (like accutane), you may not be eligible for treatment.
Within several minutes, the treated area may become slightly red and puffy, and feel like a sunburn. Most people return to local activity right away. You may opt to ice the area over the next few hours. Avoid perfumes, strong soaps and makeup on treated areas until the stinging has subsided, and protect the treated area from sun exposure. You may also apply an aloe clear gel, or Life brand Vitamin E gel to the treated area until the “sunburned” feeling has subsided. There may be residue of hair left in the follicle, which will appear like a dark spot, it will expel from the body 2 days to 2 weeks after treatment. You may shave or loofah to keep it tidy, however do not pluck or wax. Once the hairs have been expelled, you will get temporary hair removal. This generally lasts 6-8 weeks for facial hair and up to 12 weeks for body hair. At these points a new lighter and finer re-growth signals that the area can be retreated. There is no benefit to earlier treatment. Most patients obtain a progressive reduction in the size and number of hairs with each treatment. A small number of people may be non-responders, who show significant re-growth after a phase of post-treatment growth delay. Our staff is always available to answer any questions or concerns.
48 hours after treatment:
- avoid perfume, body lotions, after shave, make-up and deodorant. You may use tea tree deodorant, which is free from alcohol, perfume and aluminum.
- avoid heat treatments such as hot baths or showers, saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis.
- use an after care product such as Aloe Vera gel or a Vitamin E gel
- avoid restrictive clothing or excess friction to the area
- avoid cardiovascular exercise and swimming as the chemicals in the water may cause irritation.
- avoid facial and body treatments until the skin has returned to normal.
- do not apply ice-packs (chemical cold packs), as this can cause a burn.
- notify our staff of any change in medical conditions, medication or pregnancy.
- do not hesitate to call us if you have any adverse reactions.
The cost of laser hair removal varies by geographic area. The uniqueness of you is a big factor in the cost as well. If you are a good candidate, how many treatments you will need, how big and area is to be treated, and how dense the hair is. All these factors will influence the cost of your laser treatment. Paying for a package series of treatments in full, in advance will discount the rates at better prices. A consultation is key when obtaining a quote.
Laser hair removal can be surprisingly affordable. Charges for laser hair removal can range from 100$ and 500$ per treatment. We recommend at least 3 to 6 treatments, (depending on the area being treated) and offer a discount for a course of multiple treatments. For example, you might pay $75 per treatment for an upper lip, or $400 for a course of 6 treatments.
We offer a free consultation to determine if you are a good candidate for treatment. Then, based upon the amount, size of area, and colour of hair, a treatment plan with costs will be developed. It is really not possible to quote treatments without seeing the area to be treated because of the wide range of variances from one person to the next.
Prior to your consultation, please do not shave the area to be treated so that we can see the amount and type of hair to be treated. At that time we will estimate the actual time per treatment and a treatment plan will be discussed with you.
At Laser Spa Group, you receive the benefit of caring, highly skilled technicians who put your safety and comfort first. We are pleased to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Interac, and Cash. Financing is also available through Medicard. You can apply online, or visit us to obtain a brochure. Refer to our method of payment for access to Medicard’s online application.
Most private insurance companies do not offer reimbursement for “cosmetic’ procedures like laser hair removal; however, consult your insurance carrier for more information. The removal of unwanted terminal hair for the management of hirsutism, congenital or drug-related hypertrichosis, pseudofolliculitis, transsexual states, and some skin grafts may be covered by some private insurance plans. We do not file for insurance reimbursement.
There are two main types of excessive hair disorders. Hypertrichosis is an increase in the amount of hair in regions that do not respond to male hormones (androgens). (Areas other than the face, neck, chest, and medial thighs). Hypertrichosis may be localized to a single area or generalized over large areas of the body and it can occur in both men and women. Hirsutism is an increased amount of hair in androgen-dependent areas only where terminal hair is not normally found, including the face, neck, chest, or medial thighs. In hirsutism, women develop male hair patterns, such as facial hair. In general, fine vellus hairs become coarse terminal hairs in women who have the condition.
The development of unwanted, excess hair may be genetically determined as a normal familial trait. It may also occur in association with one of several inherited disorders, or it may occur as a complication of tumors of the ovaries or adrenal glands. Finally, certain medications, especially androgens, can cause development of unwanted hair.
Causes of Hirsutism and Hypertrichosis
- Virilizing tumors; Adrenal Gland: Adrenal carcinoma, Adrenal virilizing adenoma, Congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Ovary: Arrhenoblastoma, Granulosa-stromal tumor, Lipoid cell tumor, Hilius cell tumor.
- Syndromes; Polycystic ovary
- Hereditary; Normal variant
- Idiopathic hirsutism
- Endocrine disorders; Cushing’s disease
- Medications; Androgens, Birth control pills, Minoxidil, Phenytoin, Penicillamine
- Diazoxide; Cyclosporine, Corticosteroids
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Hypothyroidism (children)
Hypertrichosis is a medical term referring to a condition of excessive body hair. It can be generalized, symmetrically affecting most of the torso and limbs, or localized, affecting an area of the skin. In most cases, the term is used to refer to an above-average amount of normal body hair that is unwanted. In medical practice, once generalized hypertrichosis has been distinguished from hirsutism, it is most often considered a variation of normal, primarily resulting from genetic factors.
Hair grows on all areas of the human body except the palms of hands, the lips, the nipples, the navel, certain areas of the genital structure and soles of feet. The density of the hairs (in hair follicles per square centimeter) thickness of the hairs, speed of hair growth, and qualities such as kinkiness, vary from one part of the body to another, and from one person to another. All of these features have strong genetic determinants, as demonstrated by the inheritability of these qualities.
Doctors generally distinguish scalp hair, vellus hair, and androgenic (terminal) hair. Scalp hair is the hair on the head. Its absence is termed “baldness”. Vellus hair is the hair on the rest of the body which has not been stimulated and transformed by sex hormones. Androgenic hair is the hair that greatly increases in heaviness and rate of growth with puberty.
Even children are covered with fine vellus hair, varying in density, length, and heaviness.
The hair follicles on much of the body respond to androgens (primarily testosterone and its derivatives). The rate of hair growth increases and the heaviness of the hair increases. However, different areas respond with different sensitivities. As puberty progresses, the sequence of appearance of sexual (androgenic) hair reflects the gradations of androgen sensitivity. The pubic area is most sensitive, and heavier hair usually grows there first in response to androgens. The following regions also respond to androgens, in order of decreasing sensitivity: axillary and perianal areas, sideburns, above the upper lip, periareolar areas, chin and beard areas, center of chest, arms and legs, across the chest, shoulders, buttocks, back, and abdomen.
It is the hair in these areas that appears earlier or grows to excess in disorders of excess androgen (e.g., precocious puberty, late-onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and polycystic ovary syndrome).
Vellus hair and hypertrichosis
When the unwanted or excessive hair occurs in other places, and especially in other sequences of appearance, it is rarely due to a disorder of androgen excess. For example, it is not unusual for a young girl to be taken to a pediatric endocrinologist because her mother is distressed by the heaviness of the girl’s arm and leg hair, but this condition is never due to a disorder of androgen excess if pubic hair has not appeared.
Most hypertrichosis is genetic, but a small number of unusual systemic disorders can sometimes increase vellus hair. Some drugs (e.g., diazoxide, diphenylhydantoin, and minoxidil) and toxins (e.g., mercury) can induce generalized hair growth as well.
Severe hypertrichosis is quite rare, almost certainly due to unknown genetic defects, and can result in animal-like hair on both face and body. Some of these unfortunate people have been displayed in carnival sideshows with names such as “dog-boy.” Fedor Jeftichew is one such example.
In some cases an area of skin can react to repeated trauma or to some other asymmetric stimulus (such as wearing of a cast) with increased hair growth.
In the vast majority of cases, hypertricosis is a cosmetic problem. The treatments range for camouflage (e.g., bleaching with hydrogen peroxide), to temporary removal by waxing, or permanent removal by electrolysis or laser destruction of hair follicles.
Hirsutism is the excessive growth of hair, particularly on a woman’s face, torso and limbs, and is generally caused by increased androgens. It is a common sign of polycystic ovary syndrome in women. It can also be caused by a pituitary tumor or other serious medical conditions.
One method of evaluating hirsutism is the Ferriman-Gallwey score which gives a score based on the amount and location of hair growth on a woman.
Many people with unwanted hair seek methods of hair removal to control the appearance of hirsutism. For men to be diagnosed with hirsutism, the amount of hair has to be exceptionally large. Often, such men (and rarer, also women) are known as “wolfe people”. Fedor Jeftichew suffered from the condition, as did his father Adrian.
See also hypertrichosis, a genetic condition that results in unusually thick body hair.