Laser hair removal has become a relatively mainstream procedure in the last couple of years. We have heard celebrities talk about it, we have seen at-home laser hair removal devices evolve, and we have even witnessed countless spas offering Groupons for the treatment. Due to its wide offering, what people often overlooked is that lasers are highly powerful machines and you ALWAYS need to make sure that the salon, spa, medical office, etc. has certified technicians, and preferably a physician on staff. A lot of people don’t know that in Alberta (and majority of Canada for that matter), we have NO REGULATIONS on who can operate a laser… that being said, if you have the money to buy one, you can use one. These machines, and there are many types out there, are not a wax pot and they’re not a piece of thread… they are machines that emit large amounts of energy that can potentially leave you with burns. When looking for a place to get your laser hair removal done go in for a consultation first, ask lots of questions, and check out the facility. If you feel that your questions have not been answered competently or if something feels “off” about the place, go elsewhere. All technicians at Divine Interventions are certified; if for whatever reason any complications may arise we have Dr. Haubrich on staff who is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
At Divine Interventions we require a mandatory consultation prior to treatment. During this consultation we will go through all the ins and outs of your treatment as well as perform a test patch. The reason for the test patch is to provide the safest and most effective treatment possible. If any complications were to arise they would appear 24-48 hours post test patch.
Let me start off with some of the basics. All lasers/IPLs work by targeting pigment, which is why we cannot laser white/blonde hair and skin types 5 and 6 (mainly African American skin types). White/blonde hair has no pigment for the laser to target and darker skin types have too much pigment, which will result in a burn. Now that you know a little about the basics, let’s get to the questions.
1) Can I tan?
No, no, and no. As I just mentioned, the laser seeks pigment and it cannot differentiate between the pigmentation of your tan and the pigment in your hair. This will result in a burn. A lot of times outdoor tanning or tanning beds will also result in heat being trapped under the skin, adding extra heat with the laser can cause blistering. Self tanners are also a no-no – they can cause superficial burns as well. If you are going on a vacation or somewhere warm, you should not do a treatment for at least 4-6 weeks after your “last day in the sun”.
2) Can you laser over tattoos?
NO! Again, tattoos are highly pigmented and lasering over a tattoo will give you a severe burn. It will also destroy your tattoo and potentially leave you with scarring.
3) Are there any restrictions when it comes to medication?
Yes. If you are on photosensitive medications (it should say it on the bottle, or do a quick Google search), you MUST let your technician know. Since your skin is more sensitive to light, settings will have to be adjusted to avoid burns. Antibiotics are generally photosensitive so we always advise clients to come back 2 weeks after their last dose.
4) Can I be on Accutane while doing laser hair removal?
NO NO NO!! Accutane (an acne medication) makes you HIGHLY photosensitive (among other side effects). If you are on Accutane no laser treatment should be performed for at least 6 months after your last dose.
5) How do I prepare for my treatment?
Before you come in for a treatment you need to make sure that you shave the area as close to the skin as possible. The laser targets the follicle of the hair and we would rather not waste energy on burning dead surface hair, but rather focus it all on where it will be most effective.
6) Wait, you mean I have to shave my face before lasering it?
Yes… yes you do. I know it’s taboo for women to shave their face, but it just has to be done. No, it does NOT grow back like a “man-beard”.
7) What should I do post-treatment?
For 24 hours post treatment avoid heat, friction, and chlorine. That means no excessive exercise that day, no saunas/hot tubs, no swimming, and no excessive rubbing.
8) How many treatments do I need?
Everyone is different, but on average (if you come in consistently) 8-10 sessions.
9) How often do I come in for a treatment?
As a rule of thumb, anything below the neck is 6-8 weeks between sessions and anything above the neck is 4-6 weeks apart.
10) How much is laser hair removal?
At Divine Interventions we offer yearly packages or single sessions – give us a call or check out our services tab for area pricing.
11) Are burns normal?
NO! You should not have burns post laser.
12) Will my hair be gone forever?
No. Lasers will reduce the amount of hair that you have, they will not remove it 100%. Sometimes the hair follicle is not completely killed and will grow back. In women especially, hormones play a large part in hair growth. If hormones go out of whack (i.e. pregnancy, menopause, or simply just being alive) then hair growth might reoccur.
13) Can I do laser hair removal while pregnant or breastfeeding?
NO! We do not test on pregnant women for ethical reasons and we do not know the effects that such a procedure might have on the unborn child. Your hormones are all out of whack anyway, just wait until you’re done, that includes until you are done BREASTFEEDING as well.
If you have any further questions we encourage you to give our office a call at 780 439-1208 or come talk to one of our fabulous technicians!
Have a beautiful day!