I have noticed a disturbing trend in laser hair removal over the last few years and feel I need to speak up passionately about it. It seems like every street corner seems to have someone doing laser hair removal these days. Hair salons, tanning studios, dental offices, chiropractic offices and even massage therapy clinics have been known to offer this service. There are some very compelling reasons to have your treatments done at a professional medical aesthetics clinic like ReNue to avoid grief down the road. I am going to provide some straight up facts about how you can get the most out of your treatments and why where you get hair removal done matters.
We see a large increase in laser hair removal bookings in the fall. The most important reason for this is that it is unsafe to perform laser hair removal on tanned skin. Lasers are getting faster and better but there will always be limitations in the physics of how lasers work to remove hair permanently from the skin. Hair removal lasers depend on being able to differentiate hair from normal skin. If your skin is tanned, the lasers are not smart enough to tell what is dark hair and what is dark skin and you can injure the skin surrounding the hair with the heat of the laser. We turn many people away in the summer because of tans. Treat areas “where the sun don’t shine” in the summer. Some people have even been angry at us for not treating them. We always stick to our ethics of treating patients in a safe and ethical manner.
This leads to the other challenge with laser hair removal which is treating naturally dark skinned individuals. This is where it makes a real difference as to the type of laser that is used, how new the laser is and how experienced and well trained the person doing the treatment is. As I mentioned before, lasers are getting smarter and with our new Cynosure® lasers at ReNue we can now treat patients with darker skin types. This is an amazing break through and makes laser hair removal safe for just about everyone if done by a professional.
An opposite challenge with laser hair removal is treating patients with blond or lighter hair. Now, some blonde hairs have quite dark roots but many don’t. If there is no pigment for the laser to target in the hair root, you can’t achieve permanent hair reduction. We get blonde patients in all the time who have been promised good laser hair removal results from other less reputable clinics. These clinics should be embarrassed because they are just taking peoples money. It is simply unethical. We offer Vaniqa®, electrolysis and Epilfree® waxing for blonde folks and counsel them honestly about expectations for hair reduction.
In summary, technology matters. Like many things in life, you get what you pay for. There are many clinics using old lasers, second hand lasers and even those not approved for use in Canada. Significant injury can occur to your skin if you are not treated at a reputable medical aesthetic clinic that has a lot of experience in hair removal.
Here are some great questions to ask.
- Ask how old the laser is that you will be treated with.
- Ask what the name of the laser is so you can do your homework.
- Ask how experienced the technician treating you is.
- Ask what the expectations should be for hair removal as it really depends on your hair type.
Having said all that, laser hair removal is amazing technology. Stick with these principles and you will have achieve great and safe results.