Is laser the best for sensitive skin that's irritated by other forms of hair removal, please help x

I've got thick hair that grows quickly. Ever since I was a teenager, I've been shaving every other day. Normally this was ok, but lately I've been getting irritation from shaving. I've never waxed, and am worried about the ingrown hairs that are associated with it. Dipilatories don't last long either, and I'm not fond of using strong chemicals on a regular basis. My GP said laser hair removal is a waste of time. I've got an olive complexion and dark hair, can anyone offer me advice. I'm scared of the term 'laser'. Thank you, Jess xxx
Asked by jess81

2 answers

How it works
The pigments in the targeted hair absorb specifically designed wavelengths of the laser’s light; the surrounding skin is left unharmed. The light and energy from the laser destroys the hair in the anagen (growth). Targeting dark pigment, means laser hair removal works best on pale skin and dark, coarse hair. The lighter the skin and the darker and more coarse the hair, the better are the results. We advise to avoid tanning or sunless tanners and to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen for up to six weeks prior to treatment.
When it comes to sensitive skin, laser hair removal offers a welcome alternative to the daily pain of shaving and waxing for many people with sensitive skin. The treatment is suitable in a variety of areas, including the face, back, arms and legs. No matter how delicate your complexion might be, laser hair removal is one of the preferred methods for sensitive skin with long term results.
Skin Type & Laser Choice
In order to determine the best device to use, patients need to figure out their skin type using the Fitzpatrick Skin Chart. In 1975, Thomas B Fitzpatrick, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, developed a classification system for skin typing. This system was based on a person's response to sun exposure in terms of the degree of burning and tanning the individual experienced.
TYPE I: Highly sensitive, always burns, never tans. Example: Red hair with freckles or Albino
TYPE II: Very sun sensitive, burns easily, tans minimally.
Example: Fair-skinned, fair-haired Caucasians
TYPE III: Sun sensitive skin, sometimes burns, slowly tans to light brown.
Example: Darker Caucasians, European mix
TYPE IV: Minimally sun sensitive, burns minimally, always tans to moderate brown.
Example: Mediterranean, European, Asian, Hispanic, American Indian
TYPE V: Sun-insensitive skin, rarely burns, tans well.
Example: Hispanics, Afro-American, Middle Eastern
TYPE VI: Sun-insensitive, never burns, deeply pigmented.
Example: Afro-American, African, Middle Eastern
o Alexandrite lasers are best for skin types I-III
o Diode lasers are best for skin types I-IV
o Nd:YAG lasers are best for skin types IV and darker
Your darker, thicker hair will respond best to laser hair removal. Most lasers are equipped with a cooling device that reduces the discomfort from the laser light and this helps protects the top layer of skin from excessive heating and potential changes in pigmentation.
Possible Side Effects
Side effects can include: discomfort, swelling, and redness that last one to three days. Other possible side effects include blistering, herpes simplex outbreaks, bacterial infections and temporary skin lightening or darkening (especially in patients with skin of color or those with tans)- with the correct consulatation and experienced practitioner, these side effects are extremely rare.
In general, I would advise a course of six treatments per area desired to achieve permanent hair growth reduction.
The Results you can Expect
The percentage of hairs removed per session varies by location:
thinner-skinned areas such as the armpits and bikini area generally responds better than areas such as the back and chin.
10 -25% reduction in hair growth can be expected with each treatment.
My clinic offers a range of treatments, if you would like any more help or advise, please do not hesitate to call one of my clinicians who will be more than happy to discuss any concerns with you. Or you can visit my website for further information on Laser Technology
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Hello Jess,
You don't need to be scared of the term Laser. In the correct hands it is very safe. It works using a bright flash of white light, (like the light in a light bulb) and the light gets attracted to the pigmnet in the hairs. This then converts to heat and the hair plus the root is destroyed - hence the permanency. It is very important that you are completely untanned in the treatment areas as we want the light to be attracted to the hair pigment and not any additional colour in your skin.
All reputable clinics need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission and have a Laser Advisor as well.
I would suggest that, if you go down the laser/ intense pulsed light route that you opt for a medical clinic with doctors and nurses doing the treatment. Have a look at the link I've added and feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Hope this helps
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