Tips on Finding The Best Laser Hair Removal Solution for You
Before you retire your razor or put your waxing fund on time deposit for the winter, think again. The winter months are the best time to start laser hair removal so it is a perfect time, to think about a more permanent solution to unwanted body hair.
Laser hair removal requires some commitment, so before you begin, it is essential to be fully informed. Thankfully, Sioban Guilfoyle, owner of Glow Spa & Salon is here to give us the full low down on what laser hair removal involves, what to expect, and what to avoid.
Whilst laser and light therapies for aesthetic treatments are largely unregulated in Hong Kong, there is positive news; there are a number of reputable salons and clinics in the city providing laser hair removal treatments who ensure their therapists are fully qualified and implement best practices, including the team at Glow Spa & Salon.
At Glow, all of the therapists are fully trained estheticians and hold internationally recognised qualifications in light and laser therapies. In addition to the excellent service, the Glow team applies best practice, and uses a suite of brand new laser machines, to ensure the best treatment outcome and a safe and comfortable experience which is as close to being pain-free as possible.
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
The results vary by individual. After completing a course of laser hair removal, many clients report a permanent result and having no hair regrowth for many years. Some clients, might require a touch-up treatment once every one or two years, and a few may need a touch up more frequently.
While often described as “permanent” hair removal, the correct description for this type of hair removal is permanent hair reduction.
What does Laser Hair Removal feel like?
Modern laser machines are powerful, quick and designed for comfort with highly effective cooling systems, to rapidly cool the skin and surrounding tissue, ensuring minimal discomfort. Most people will experience some sensation, more especially around sensitive areas of the body. The feeling is similar to a hairbrush rolling against your skin, or a rubber band snap.
Occasionally, clinics may recommend the use of numbing creams or mild painkillers before the treatment. At Glow, the combination of experienced therapists, new laser machines, listening to client feedback and observing the reaction of the hair follicle and surrounding skin will allow the therapist to find the safest and most effective setting for your skin tone.
An important thing to remember is that there is no correlation between the amount of pain felt and the treatment’s effectiveness. You cannot reduce the number of treatments required or get quicker results by increasing the intensity. The success of laser hair removal depends on a combination of the correct light intensity, the time between treatments and the number of treatments performed.
Is Laser Hair Removal Suitable For Me?
You will see the best results when you have dark hair in the treatment area combined with a lighter skin pigmentation; however, laser hair removal technology has come a long way in recent years. Both lighter hair and darker complexions are now also treatable without any need for exotic and expensive equipment.
The most commonly used lasers are the diode 808 nm and 810 nm laser. Considered the gold standard in laser hair removal, these lasers are suitable for use on most hair colours and skin tones — including tanned and darker skin tones.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
The number of treatments required will vary by individual, depending on the skin tone, the coarseness of the hair, the skin pigmentation, the time between treatments and more.
At Glow, we usually see a 70% hair reduction or better, within 4–5 treatments for most clients. The recommended period between treatments is four to six weeks, and Glow suggests booking the first three treatments at four to five-week intervals. As you move into the later portion of treatments, you might find you can wait longer between visits
As a guide, Glow offers courses of six treatments for new treatment areas, followed by twelve-months of complimentary touch-up sessions if required. Glow also offers single-session treatments for touch-ups and for new treatment areas.
Is This Treatment Suitable For Men?
Yes – laser is suitable for men. With male hair removal becoming increasingly popular, laser hair removal is an ideal treatment for those wanting a smooth chest or stomach or hair-free back and shoulders. The treatment is suitable for almost anywhere on the body, including underarms, ears, sideburns and legs and intimate areas.
There are specialist men’s clinics for the treatment of more intimate areas, if the gent prefers, and most professional clinics or salons can give you a recommendation if required.
Do I Need a Consultation With The Therapist First?
The purpose of the consultation is to ensure you are a suitable candidate for laser hair removal, to discuss the procedure and ensure you understand the risks, the treatment schedule, the expected treatment outcomes, to answer any questions you may have, to discuss price and to do a patch test if you desire.
The consultation also provides an opportunity to meet your esthetician. At this first meeting, ask as many questions as possible to ensure you are completely comfortable with the environment, and the knowledge and professionalism of your therapist.
Expect to complete a client consultation form and Fitzpatrick skin type questionnaire. You may also find additional questions about your regular sun exposure, the possibility of being pregnant, whether you are breastfeeding, have thyroid or hormonal imbalances and other health issues. At Glow, your therapist will discuss the risks of the treatment and ensure you are aware of the pre-treatment precautions and post-treatment care.
While it is very important to understand the cost of the treatment and any offers that may be available, this consultation time should not be a high-pressure selling experience. Your therapist should be just as happy for you to pay for one session as for six.
If you are comfortable with the environment and your therapist, it is perfectly acceptable to complete your first treatment at this visit.
Is Laser Hair Removal Safe? What Are The Risks? What Are The Side Effects?
Every so often, treatment may result in redness, slight irritation, crusting or scab formation, purpura (purple colouring of the skin), and temporary pigment change (hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation).
Occasionally, even though appropriate settings have been used, laser hair removal can cause changes in skin texture. In some other rare cases, greying of treated hair may occur, and paradoxically in very rare cases, laser treatment may stimulate hair to grow excessively in or around treated areas. Most of these treatment outcomes are very rare.
Care must be taken when using a laser (or any light treatment) on a tattooed area, as the intense light may affect the colour of the tattoo. Standard practice is to mask off tattoos with light coloured, opaque tape to ensure there is no damage to the tattoo or the tattooed skin.
The combination of the right salon, the right therapist or clinician, and the right laser machine, for you and your skin type, will significantly reduce your risk of injury when you have a hair removal treatment.
IPL and laser hair removal is not recommended around the eye area due to the possibility of severe eye injury. During your treatment, standard practice is for your therapist to provide you with a pair of goggles to ensure there is no risk of accidental exposure to the high-intensity light.
What Do I Need To Do Or Avoid Before And After My Treatment?
For the treatment to be effective, the hair root must be intact. This requirement means you should avoid waxing, epilation, plucking or any other hair removal technique that disturbs the hair root for four to five weeks before your first treatment. Typically this means shaving as the only option in the few weeks before their first treatment.
It is best to ensure there is some hair growth before your first treatment, so if you do shave, try not to shave for the final 3–4 days prior to your appointment. Your therapist will help you shave the area prior to your first treatment.
Prior to your treatments and for two to three days afterwards, you should avoid exposing the treated area to the sun.
The treatment should never be performed on wind-burnt or sunburned skin. Advise your therapist if you have recently used a sunbed as treatments should not be done two weeks either side of a sunbed session.
Some skin treatments, including those containing Retinol A, can make the skin more photosensitive; we recommend you stop using Retinol A or similar creams at least two weeks before your hair reduction treatment. If you are taking any medication that increases light sensitivity, it is essential to inform your therapist prior to commencing treatments.
High-intensity exercise is not recommended immediately after your laser treatment. During a laser hair removal treatment, applying heat to the skin results in erythema (redness) and follicular oedema (swelling of the follicles). These temporary side effects persist for approximately 12 – 24 hours. It is important to keep the skin cool after your treatment, as the follicles are heat sensitive at this time. Avoid any activity that may bring any further heat to the skin. Additionally, physical exercise typically triggers sweating, and sweat contains bacteria which may aggravate the sensitive hair follicles, resulting in a rash or skin infection. This is particularly important in Hong Kong. If you have treatments over the summer, try to plan so that you are in a cool and air-conditioned environment as soon as possible after your treatment.
To avoid skin irritation, wear loose, cool clothing after your treatment. If you can avoid skinny jeans and tight leggings, do so. Have a lukewarm shower rather than a hot shower and avoid creams, moisturisers, oils and perfumes on the treated area for 12 – 24 hours after your treatment.
How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost?
Laser hair removal can vary in price from clinic to clinic and differs between men and women. As a guide, you should plan on spending between $4,000 – $6,000 for a full course of treatment for your underarm and between $25,000 – $30,000 for a full course of treatment for your legs.
Laser hair reduction is not a treatment to book based on price alone – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Tips For Finding the Right Salon or Clinic For You
Choose the salon or clinic that makes you feel most confident and where you feel that your results and safety are top priority and they demonstrate as much. Do your research and don’t hesitate to ask questions. There are no silly questions when it comes to your safety, and the salon manager or your therapist should be prepared to give you as much information and time as you need without pressuring you into making a decision.
Avoid clinics with high-pressure sales tactics. Prices are important, but should not be the only criteria influencing your purchase decision.
Do a patch test before your first treatment, if you would like to feel what the full treatment will be like. Clinics should be happy to perform these at no charge.
Your therapist should also be able to give you an indication of how many sessions you would need. If it is a new treatment area, you should expect to purchase at least 5 treatments. While you may require touch-up sessions after your course is complete, it is unlikely that you need to purchase more than one course of treatment for the same area.
The Glow Difference
At Glow, we have a friendly and knowledgeable team, and our qualified therapists are experienced in every aspect of keeping you looking and feeling your very best.
For a no-pressure laser hair removal consultation, visit Glow on the 8/F, Silver Fortune Plaza, 1 Wellington Street, Central or call us for a chat on 25255198.
We’re offering a 10% discount on our already very competitive pricing for Hong Kong Hub readers on single-session laser hair removal treatments and a further 5% discount on laser hair removal courses when you mention reading this article on the HK HUB.