As girls, hair removal forms a major part of our beauty routine. Whether you prefer to shave or wax, regularly getting rid of the body and facial hair can be quite annoying. This is why laser hair removal treatment seems like a super tempting option, amirite?

But are you scared of this option because you think it will be too painful? Or are you weary of it because you simply don’t know what to expect? If your answer to either (or both) of these questions is “yes”, then you’ve come to the right place. We spoke to celebrity dermatologist, Dr Niketa Sonavane from Ambrosia Aesthetics, Mumbai to give us a complete lowdown on some common concerns surrounding laser hair removal.

So, whether you are bored with that monthly waxing appointment or are simply looking for a more permanent solution to body hair, we have got you covered. Read on…

An expert tells you everything you need to know about laser hair removal treatment1

BB: What is the general procedure for laser hair removal?

Dr Niketa: First, the area to be treated is marked with a white marker. Then, if there’s any hair on that area, it is shaved. Next, your dermatologist will set the laser machine depending on your skin and hair type. Finally, a cool gel is applied, and the laser beam is flashed on the area. After the laser session is completed, the area is cleaned, and a sunscreen is applied.

BB: Which areas can be treated with laser hair removal?

Dr N.S.: All areas of the body, including the face, can be treated with laser hair removal. The only area that we don't treat is the scalp. Laser for facial hair is one of the safest options if you are dealing with PCOS or hirsutism. Full body laser hair removal is also very popular in my clinic.

BB: What are the necessary preps before opting for a hair removal treatment?

Dr N.S.: Avoid waxing and threading for at least 2 weeks before your laser session. Make sure you stop using active ingredients such as AHA and retinol two days before your session. Moisturise your skin well as a laser on dry skin can cause unwanted effects.

In case of facial hair, consult your dermatologist to determine if hormonal medications need to be started before the laser hair removal.

An expert tells you everything you need to know about laser hair removal treatment2

BB: Is the process painful?

Dr N.S.: Hair removal with the newest Diode laser and triple wavelength laser is painless. There are other lasers such as Nd: Yag and IPL, which can cause some pain or discomfort.

BB: How many visits would one need on an average before hair doesn't grow back at all?

Dr N.S.: A minimum of six sessions is necessary to get a significant reduction of body hair. Facial hair caused by hormonal issues in women and laser hair removal in men requires more sessions. Later, you can opt for maintenance sessions to ensure that the hair does not grow back.

An expert tells you everything you need to know about laser hair removal treatment3

BB: How long should one wait in between sessions?

Dr N.S.: Initially, an interval of 3-4 weeks is needed. Later, as the hair growth reduces, this interval increases as lesser and lesser hair grow back. Eventually, your maintenance may happen once or twice a year for body hair and once in 3 months for facial hair growth.

BB: What care should one be taking in between hair removal sessions?

Dr N.S.: It is best not to wax or thread the areas that you are treating with a laser. Shaving is alright as it does not disturb the hair follicle. Avoid harsh sun exposure in between your laser sessions. Also, it is best if you stay away from home remedies and DIY beauty recipes. Moisturise and apply sunscreen on your skin every day.

An expert tells you everything you need to know about laser hair removal treatment4

BB: How long do the effects last? Is it really permanent?

Dr N.S.: Hair, which is treated with laser, is permanently reduced in number and thickness. Also, it grows very slowly and is easily plucked off as the root becomes weak. Many of my patients see permanent hair reduction to a point where there is no hair growing on the treated areas. If you do not continue with maintenance sessions, then some reversal can occur. But the growth can never come back to its original.

BB: Can someone with PCOS benefit with laser hair removal?

Dr N.S.: PCOS is a condition where the hormones are imbalanced. Androgens or male hormones become dominant in a woman's body and cause hair to grow in the beard region of the face. To get the full benefit for laser hair removal, your dermatologist should test your hormones and start medications to balance them—a combination of hormonal medicines and laser hair removal of the key to controlling hirsutism caused by PCOS.

An expert tells you everything you need to know about laser hair removal treatment5

Dr Niketa’s tips on how to care for your skin post a laser hair removal session:

  • Moisturise and apply sunscreen daily.
  • Use skin care products containing active ingredients after 48 hours.
  • Avoid harsh sun exposure.
  • Don’t use scrubs and DIY remedies for at least 5 days.
  • Avoid threading, waxing and hair removal creams between your sessions.
  • If you see brown patches or excessive skin sensitivity, then contact your dermatologist immediately.