Laser Hair Removal is a system whereby light of a specific energy band is pulsed on to the skin to be treated. Melanin – a dark pigment concentrated in the hair shaft and root – picks up this light during the treatment process. The energy delivered is converted into intense heat which damages the hair root without affecting the surrounding skin.

Practically any area on the face and body can be treated, from large areas such as the back and legs to the smallest areas like the nostrils, ears and eyebrows. Since these systems use light and not any other type of radiation, they are also safe in pregnancy.

The procedure is surprisingly painless due to the application of a cold spray by the laser device. It is most described as a mild pinching sensation. For very sensitive areas, an anaesthetic cream can be applied about an hour before.

Hair grows in cycles, and laser will only work on growing and mature hairs. Repeated sessions are needed in order to treat hairs in successive growing phases and thus achieve equal effect overall. A minimum of five or six sessions, eight weeks apart, are needed to obtain definitive reduction. Less sessions are needed for larger body areas like legs, arms or back and the time interval is longer between treatments. At each session, there is less hair and the hairs become finer. Touch-up sessions may be needed to treat persistent hairs.

Other factors which may affect the number and success of the treatments include age, the colour of the skin (the darker the skin, the more treatments needed) and any hormonal problems or treatment (which may stimulate hair to grow from the dormant stage).

It is most important to avoid direct exposure to sunlight for 2 to 3 weeks before the first treatment and throughout the whole program, to minimize the risk of skin reactions including pigmentation. Ideally the hair should be trimmed or shaved as close as possible to the skin and the appointment time. This will ensure that there is minimal hair re- growth. Waxing, plucking or epilation should be avoided for at least two to three weeks prior to your appointment, as this removes the hair root, and the treatment will be useless. It is also important to discuss any medication or creams you may be using as these may sensitise the skin. A test patch will always be advised during the consultation.

The area to be treated should be thoroughly cleaned of make-up or any lotions or creams.  These should be avoided for 24 hours prior to the treatment. During the treatment you will be given protective glasses to protect your eyes from the strong flashes.  Photos may be taken immediately before the session – these will be used for comparison purposes only.

Some redness and possibly swelling of the treated area is expected after the treatment; this should not last more than a day. Any skin irritation can be minimized by use of ice and cooling gels. A mild steroid cream may be prescribed if indicated. Again, it is important to apply sunscreen during the weeks following the treatment session. The hair may take a few days to fall out if it is thick or may appear to ‘grow again’ a few days after the treatment – this is actually dead hair being pushed out of the skin.

Before the next session, only shaving, trimming or epilation of any appearing hairs is allowed; waxing and plucking may affect the hair cycle.

Complications are rare, usually temporary and can be avoided by following the advice given. The heat may burst small blood vessels in the skin producing tiny red spots that disappear within a week.   If the skin is very tanned, crusting or peeling may occur but this will heal within a few days. Similarly, pigment changes (the appearance of lighter or darker areas) are more likely to happen on a tanned skin; the effect is usually temporary but may persist for months.   As with any other treatment, we at AMAI strongly encourage you to report any post-laser reactions as early as possible so that the appropriate advice and treatment can be given.