Removing unwanted body hair can be a hassle – waxing, plucking, threading, and shaving are tedious, can be painful, and worst of all, the hair comes right back! Fortunately, Laser Hair Removal (LHR) offers a more permanent solution!
Laser hair removal is the second most commonly requested cosmetic procedure in the USA and has been around for over 20 years (1, 2). Over the past two decades, the procedure has continually evolved and improved through technological advances, creating today’s highly effective, virtually painless lasers like our brand new Soprano Ice.
How it Works
The Soprano Ice works by targeting the melanin (pigment) at the base of the hair follicle. The laser then sends energy into the skin to damage the follicle and prevent future hair growth. Unlike older lasers, the Soprano Ice gradually heats up (much like a crock pot) which makes treatments considerably more comfortable than they were in the past. In addition, the gradual heating enables us to treat dark or tanned skin without damage to the surrounding tissue. The Soprano Ice laser used in our office offers the newest and most comprehensive laser technology, emitting different wavelengths based on your skin and hair type which provides more complete, effective, and long lasting results (3).
Who is a Candidate
With multiple wavelength capability, the Soprano Ice laser has the technological advances to treat ALL skin colors (3). However, it is important to note that since melanin/pigment is the laser’s target, those with hair lighter than their skin color will likely not respond as well as someone with fair skin and dark hair. Those who fall into this category may find that they need more than the recommended six treatments to see the same results. We like to make patients aware that the expectation should not be that their legs or bikini line is as smooth as the palm of their hand as that’s not totally realistic. However, generally speaking, we are able to achieve 85-90% hair reduction in the overwhelming vast majority of patients. Pretty good odds if you ask us!
Who is NOT a Candidate
There are situations and conditions where LHR is not an option, or further medical evaluation may be required. For example, excessive hair growth on the chin, face, belly button, or nipples, could be indicative of a hormonal condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). LHR may still be an option with PCOS, but permanent hair reduction may be more challenging to achieve. Other conditions, which may not be safe for LHR, include (1):
1. Autoimmune conditions with photosensitivity
3. Trauma induced herpes simplex outbreaks
4. Current infections or broken skin in the treatment area
5. Photosensitizing medications
6. History of keloid or hypertrophic scarring
7. Chemotherapy or radiation
8. Insulin dependent diabetes
What to Expect
In our practice, your first session will begin with informed consent to the procedure as well as a quick analysis by an MD or NP to determine if LHR is an appropriate choice for you. Following the initial consultation, the laser technician will assess your skin color and hair color to decide which wavelength is best for treating you. The hair in the treatment area should be shaved within 12-24 hours prior to treatment. Waxing, plucking, threading, or chemical depilatories (anything that completely removes the hair) within the past 2 weeks will not allow the laser to work effectively. Typically, sessions are 4-8 weeks apart, and the number of sessions needed depends on the hair color and density but most people get great clearance with six treatments. Some lasers produce moderate discomfort during treatment, similar to elastic bands snapping. However, the Soprano Ice laser used at our office is virtually pain-free!
You may experience some redness of the area treated, which typically lasts 1 day but could extend up to a week (rarely). It is important to keep the treatment area clean and to stay out of the sun before and between treatments. In darker skinned individuals, lightening of the skin, known as hypopigmentation is possible, but rare with the Soprano Ice laser (3).
In most cases, significant hair reduction can be achieved through a series of treatments however there are factors, which influence hair regrowth such as pregnancy and hormonal changes that we cannot totally control for (1). The cost of LHR is more effective, longer lasting and cost-effective than waxing, which must be done every few weeks, continually. Roughly a 15-20% reduction in hair growth can be achieved with each treatment when done properly. Hair color and skin color also affect how effective treatments are for reducing hair growth. LHR can offer permanent hair removal results in only a matter of months.
1. Laser hair removal targets melanin to destroy the hair and hair follicle.
2. Hair that is super fine and lighter than the surrounding skin are not as easily treated.
3. The treatment is virtually pain-free and without side effects.
4. Sessions are typically 4-8 weeks apart and decrease hair by 15%-20% per session.
5. Permanent hair reduction and hair removal can be achieved in a matter of months.
1. Braun, M. (2009) Permanent Laser Hair Removal With Low Fluence High Repetition Rate Versus High Fluence Low Repetition Rate 810 nm Diode Laser – A Split Leg Comparison Study. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 8(11), 15-17.
2. Ibrahimi, O. A., Avram, M. M., Hanke, C. W., Kilmer, S. L., & Anderson, R. R. (2011). Laser hair removal. Dermatologic therapy, 24(1), 94-107.
3. Soprano Ice: How it Works. Retrieved from:https://www.sopranoplatinum.com/how-it-works/