Laser Hair Removal
About Cynosure Icon Laser Hair Removal
Unwanted hair is a common problem, for both men and women. Frequent hair removal tasks including shaving, depilatories, plucking, and waxing can be time-consuming, inconvenient and often painful. At best, these methods offer only temporary results – for some only a few hours.
How It Works
To understand how laser hair removal works, it’s helpful to understand how your hair grows. Below is an overview and how this technology is uniquely able to permanently reduce unwanted hair.
How Your Hair Grows
Hair grows from deep within hair follicles, which are embedded in the skin. Hair does not grow continuously, but in a three-phase cycle.
- Anagen Phase: This phase is where the hair actively grows which typically lasts for several months and is the best phase for hair removal.
- Catagen Phase: During this brief phase, the hair bulb regresses and begins to shrink.
- Telogen Phase: The final phase is a resting phase which last a few months. During this phase, the hair is released from the follicle and once complete, the hair will restart at the Anagen or growth phase.
While the rate at which hair grows differs by individual, the length of the hair growth cycle generally depends on the type of hair. For example, the active growth phase of the hair on your head may last several years, while hair on the body has an active growth phase that may last only a few months.
How Cynosure Icon Laser Hair Removal Works
During laser hair removal, the device emits light energy that travels through the skin and is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle and hair shaft. Pigments are the substances that give skin and hair its color. This energy damages the hair follicle, which impairs its ability to grow.
Hair follicles that are in the anagen, or active growth phase, have more pigment and absorb more energy, and typically respond best to treatments. For this reason, it takes multiple treatments to achieve the best results – it’s important to “catch” your hair in this active growth phase when you are receiving treatments.
What To Expect On The Day Of Treatment
We suggest shaving prior to your consultation and minimizing sun exposure if you would like to get started the same day as your consultation. Typically, there is little to no down time after treatments, and the treatment is so quick and easy, patients can come on their lunch breaks.
Before the device is used, a gel is applied to your skin where you will receive treatment. You will also be provided eye shields to protect yourself from the light during treatment. The treatment will begin with the provider guiding the Icon™ handpiece over the treatment area. You will feel cooling while the handpiece is gliding over the treatment area to provide a comfortable session. You may also feel a slight rubber-band like snapping when the energy is being delivered into your skin and hair follicles. This sensation disappears almost immediately, and treatments take just minutes depending on the size of the area.
After the treatment, the gel will be removed and a cooling gel may be applied to your skin. Bandages and ointments are not necessary after hair removal due to the nature of the treatments being so minimally invasive. For a few days after your treatment, you may feel like you have a mild sunburn but can resume all your normal day to day activities immediately following treatment.
If you are a laser hair removal patient, please be aware of the following:
- Shave the area being treated prior to your appointment.
- 6 weeks before and in between your treatment sessions, discontinue all waxing, plucking, and tweezing on the areas receiving treatment.
- 4 weeks prior to your appointment, discontinue excessive UV exposure, tanning and tanning beds and tanning creams on the areas receiving treatment.
Post Treatment Instructions For Laser Hair Removal
- A mild sunburn-like sensation is expected. This usually lasts 2-24 hours but can persist up to 72 hours. Mild swelling and redness may accompany this, but it usually resolves in 2-3 days.
- Avoid sun exposure on the treated area and use a sunscreen SPF 45 or greater at all times throughout the course of treatment and for 4-6 weeks after your last treatment.
- Appearance of hair growth or stubble will continue for 7-30 days post-treatment. This is not new hair growth, but treated hairs being expelled from the skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
What areas can laser hair removal treat?
Our Icon™ technology can remove hair from almost anywhere on the body including faces, backs, chests, arms, underarms, bikini, and legs.
Am I a good candidate for this hair removal?
Icon™ can be safely used on all skin types from very light skin to very dark skin. It is most effective on individuals with dark hair. Candidates with very light or gray hair are not ideal. However, we will determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure based on a variety of factors during your consultation.
Can this technology get rid of all of my unwanted hair?
Hair follicles are continually cycling through three phases: anagen or growth phase, catagen or transitional phase, and telogen or resting phase. Hair is most susceptible to this treatment while in the anagen phase. Because of this timing, it’s not possible for any laser treatment to achieve 100% hair removal, but it is possible to significantly reduce the number of growing hairs by as much as 85%. Multiple treatments can be administered for maximum results.
Is hair removal permanent?
Laser hair removal is permanent. After treatment, the hair follicles within the anagen phase that were damaged are permanently unable to produce new hairs, or can produce only very thin, tiny hairs that are virtually invisible.
What will the treatment feel like?
Most people feel only a slight momentary “snap” like a rubber band at the treatment site during the procedure.
How many treatments will I need?
Since your hair grows in 3 stages, several treatments are needed to affect all of the unwanted hair. The number of treatments can vary between individuals, depending on the amount of hair, the area to be treated, skin color, hair color and hair coarseness. Typically 4-6 treatments are needed but this will depend on a number of factors including your type of hair. One of our providers can give you a more specific treatment plan during your consultation.
How far apart are treatment sessions?
It depends on which area is being treated. In general, face, underarms, arms, and bikini are about 4-6 weeks apart. Back, chest, and legs are about 8-10 weeks apart.
How does it work?
The device emits powerful light energy that targets and heats hair follicles. After the treatment, the follicles are damaged and permanently unable to produce new hairs, or can produce only very thin, tiny hairs that are virtually invisible.
Can I shave in between sessions?
Yes. In fact, the area needs to be freshly shaved before your treatment session. You may shave the area the day before the treatment or the day of the treatment before coming in for your session. You should not wax or pluck the hairs between treatments.
How quickly will I recover?
You can resume regular daily activities immediately following treatment.
Are there any side effects?
Typically, most people experience a mild, sunburn-like sensation, possibly accompanied by some minor redness and/or swelling immediately following the treatment. This usually lasts 2-24 hours. Ask your provider to discuss other possible side effects and the necessary post-treatment care with you.