How Long Does a Laser Hair Removal Session Last?

man laying down getting laser hair removal treatment on back and shoulder

Getting rid of unwanted hair is something that everyone wishes to do. And while classic methods like waxing and using razors work, they are not perfect. In fact, most of them are ineffective and may even result in injuries. That’s where laser hair removal treatments come in, promising a stubble-free and painless procedure.

But before you fully commit to laser treatment, it’s important to research all the questions you may have. We are here to answer some of the most common inquiries regarding laser treatment in NYC and to shed light on every aspect of the procedure.

What Is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal is a procedure that uses beams of light to target the hair follicles. It works by focusing color-sensitive beams of light toward your unwanted hair. The light gets attracted to the pigment of your hair, also known as melanin, which allows it to get absorbed by the hair. Then, the light gets converted into heat, altering the hair follicles and making them fall out after a few days.

How Effective Is It?

It’s important to point out that laser hair removal does not prevent hair from ever growing back. Instead, it delays it by a substantial amount of time, depending on your skin tone and hair color. For instance, a contrast between hair and skin color results in the best outcome, delaying hair growth for up to one year or more.

Hair Growth Cycles

Since at any given time, you have hairs from every stage of the growth cycle on your body, completely removing body hair is hard.  Because of that, you will need to schedule multiple sessions in accordance with your hair growth cycles. As a general rule of thumb, laser hair removal sessions are most effective in eliminating hair that’s in the anagen phase. That’s the phase where the hair is active and visible on your body.

Follow-Up Sessions

After your first session, you will have to wait a few weeks before another one. In the meantime, the next group of hairs will enter the anagen phase, so you can remove it. Then, you will have to repeat the process until you get the outcome that you want.

How Can I Prepare For a Session?

If you are interested in laser hair removal treatments, then you will have to get in touch with a professional clinic. And while most clinics have a licensed doctor on-site, it’s always best to get yourself checked before giving laser a try. That’s because a doctor will be able to review your medical history, explain the risks, and assess if your skin can handle the treatment. They will let you know if it’s safe.

Additionally, a doctor will give you some preparation tips, such as:

  • Staying out of the sun: Most doctors recommend that you avoid sun exposure before and after laser treatment. But if you have to go out, you should apply at least an SPF30 sunscreen.
  • Avoiding blood-thinning medications: Blood-thinning medication can increase the chance of bleeding during the procedure.
  • Lightening your skin: Depending on your skin tone, a doctor may prescribe a skin bleaching cream. That’s mostly the case for people with recent tans or sunburns.
  • Avoiding other hair removal methods: Disturbing the hair follicles using razors or wax may reduce the effectiveness of laser hair removal treatments.

What Can I Expect During a Laser Hair Removal Session?

Generally speaking, a laser hair removal session is pretty straightforward. First, depending on the type of laser used, a cool gel or cooling device will be placed on it to protect your skin. Next, the doctor will press the hand-held instrument to your skin.

Then, the doctor will activate the laser, allowing the light to penetrate your skin until it reaches the hair follicles. Once that happens, the intense heat will be able to damage the follicles, inhibiting their regeneration. You may feel some discomfort during the heating stage, similar to a solar burn. However, the cooling gel will quickly reduce the sensation, allowing you to relax and enjoy the laser session.

How Long Will the Session Last?

Depending on the size of the area you wish to treat, the session will last between a few minutes and an hour. For example, for a large surface such as your back, the procedure wll last for about an hour. However, removing the hair from your upper lip will take only a few minutes.

What Should I Do Once the Session Is Done?

Once everything is done, the doctor will inspect the area, checking for signs of burns or blisters. If the doctor notices anything out of the ordinary, such as a skin reaction, he might apply a steroid cream to the area. Keep in mind that you might experience some swelling after your first few sessions.

After that, the doctor will schedule your next appointment while also giving you some recommendations. Usually, they will advise you to use an ice pack to reduce all discomfort in the area. Additionally, the doctor will tell you to avoid tanning and sunlight between and after sessions.

How Many Sessions Will I Need?

As previously mentioned, you will need to have a few follow-up sessions to completely remove the hair. The number of appointments depends on your hair growth cycles. But, generally speaking, for most areas of your body, between four and six sessions will be enough. It’s extremely rare for patients to need more than six or seven laser sessions. Our advice is to talk with your doctor regarding your hair growth cycles and figure out the number of appointments before you start the treatment.

The Bottom Line

All in all, laser hair removal is a safe and quick procedure that will not only get you rid of unwanted hair, but also slow its growth in the long run. And while it may seem overwhelming at first, the whole process is easy to understand. However, you should remember that the end results will always vary, depending on your skin tone and hair color.

If you are ever in need of professional laser hair removal, you can always give the Dermatology and Laser Group a call at (212) 444-8204. You can also contact us here. We will make sure that you get the best results and the highest quality service in the whole Midtown NYC Area.