How Hair Reduction Therapy Works
To understand how laser hair reduction works, it’s helpful to understand how your hair grows. Below is an overview and how this technology is uniquely able to improve the appearance of unwanted hair.
How Your Hair Grows
Hair grows from deep within hair follicles, which are embedded in the skin. Hair does not grow continuously, but in a three-phase cycle.
- Anagen Phase: This phase is where the hair actively grows which typically lasts for several months and is the best phase for hair reduction therapy.
- Catagen Phase: During this brief phase, the hair bulb regresses and begins to shrink.
- Telogen Phase: The final phase is a resting phase which lasts a few months. During this phase, the hair is released from the follicle and once complete, the hair will restart at the Anagen or growth phase.
While the rate at which hair grows differs by individual, the length of the hair growth cycle generally depends on the type of hair. For example, the active growth phase of the hair on your head may last several years, while hair on the body has an active growth phase that may last only a few months.
How it Works
The Icon™ device emits light energy that travels through the skin and is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle and hair shaft. Pigments are the substances that give skin and hair its color. This energy damages the hair follicle, which impairs its ability to grow.
Hair follicles that are in the anagen, or active growth phase, have more pigment and absorb more energy, and typically respond best to treatments. For this reason, it takes multiple treatments to achieve the best results – it’s important to “catch” your hair in this active growth phase when you are receiving hair reduction treatments.
What To Expect On The Day Of Treatment
We suggest shaving prior to your consultation and having no sun exposure or spray tan of the treated area four weeks prior if you would like to get started the same day as your consultation. Typically, there is little to no down time after treatments, and the treatment is so quick and easy, patients can come on their lunch breaks.
Before the Icon™ pulsed light handpiece is used, a gel is applied to your skin where you will receive treatment. You will also be provided eye shields to protect yourself from the light during treatment. The treatment will begin with the provider guiding the Icon™ handpiece over the treatment area. You will feel cooling while the handpiece is gliding over the treatment area to provide a comfortable session. You may also feel a slight rubber-band like snapping when the energy is being delivered into your skin and hair follicles. This sensation disappears almost immediately and treatments take just minutes.
After the treatment, the gel will be removed and a cooling gel may be applied to your skin. Bandages and ointments are not necessary due to the nature of the treatments being so minimally invasive. For a few days after your treatment, you may feel like you have a mild sunburn but can resume your normal day to day activities immediately following treatment.
If you are a hair reduction therapy patient, please be aware of the following:
- Remove all make-up and lotions prior to the treatment.
- At least 4 weeks prior to your appointment, discontinue unprotected sun exposure, tanning beds and tanning creams on the areas receiving treatment.
- Shave the area being treated prior to your appointment.
- 6 weeks before and in between your treatment sessions, discontinue all waxing, plucking, and tweezing on the areas receiving treatment.
Post Treatment Instructions For Hair Reduction Therapy
- A mild sunburn-like sensation is expected. This usually lasts 2-24 hours, but can persist up to 72 hours. Redness and/or swelling may accompany this and usually resolves in 2-3 days.
- Avoid sun exposure on the treated area and use a sunscreen SPF 45 or greater at all times throughout the course of treatment and for 4-6 weeks after your last treatment.
- Appearance of hair growth or stubble will continue for 7-30 days post-treatment. This is not new hair growth, but treated hairs being expelled from the skin.