Laser Hair Removal
Laser Hair Removal with The Icon by Cynosure
Laser hair removal can permanently reduce unwanted body hair. Especially in Santa Barbara, where a swimsuit is common summer attire, people can feel self-conscious about unsightly body hair. Shaving, waxing, and depilatories do not provide lasting results, and the stubble or ingrown hairs that they leave behind can be more distracting than the hair itself. Laser hair removal treatments can reduce most of the patient’s hair on the face, neck, arms, underarms, back, chest, bikini area, and legs – anywhere that hair is a problem.
During laser hair removal at our Santa Barbara office, our licensed physician assistant Jessica Barker or nurses Heather Grieco and Cassie Clara will use Cynosures Icon MaxR or MaxY laser handpiece to cover the area to be treated. Cynosure is a company that has revolutionized laser technology, and is always in the process of striving to develop lasers that deliver the safest and most effective treatments available on the market. The Icon is another one of their state-of-the-art machines that offers advanced cooling for increased patient comfort and two different laser handpieces so that your treatment can be customized to your specific needs. The MaxR is our standard laser hair removal handpiece, which is effective in treating most people and types of hair. It has a larger tip so that more surface area can be covered in less time and it is also safe for all skin types! The MaxY handpiece can also be used for hair removal, although, due to its intensity, it is typically only used on finer or lighter hairs that have been resistant.
The way that the laser works is that it is set at a specific wavelength for darker colors. This distinguishes dark-colored hairs from lighter colored skin, and eliminates the hair by destroying the hair follicle through its absorption of the energy from the light.
Unlike electrolysis, the laser hair removal treatment can target large areas of skin in a short time period. There is some discomfort during this treatment, but our office also provides numbing cream (free of charge) as well as other comfort measures, such as ice and a cooler that blows cold air at the treatment area, to reduce discomfort. Treatments can be done in a relatively short period of time, depending on the size and number of treatment areas.
Multiple treatment sessions will be necessary. The number of laser treatment sessions depends on many factors, including ethnicity, the amount of hair, the color of the hair versus the color of the skin, and the anatomical location. Treatments are usually purchased in packages of treatment sessions, and more than one package may be necessary to reach your desired result based on these factors. Each session is separated by a few weeks, to allow new hair growth to be targeted.
In addition to laser hair removal, we also offer treatment of uneven pigmentation with The Icon using a different treatment handpiece. This treatment is called IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), and is also commonly referred to as a photo facial. It treats problems such as uneven pigmentation or visible facial blood vessels.
For stubborn pigmentation issues such as melasma, or for skin that has a little more pigment, the PicoSure Focus Skin Revitalization treatment is extremely effective and safe. Cynosure has even developed an incredible advancement in tattoo removal technology which now offers better clearance of tattoos in a third of the time that it would take using previous lasers.
What areas can be treated?
Laser hair removal can remove hair from the face (except around the eyes), back, chest, arms, underarms, bikini line, and legs.
Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
Laser hair removal is available for all skin types, including very light and very dark skin, and most hair colors. Your provider will determine whether you are a good candidate for the procedure based on a variety of factors.
How does it work?
Light is used to target and destroy hair follicles responsible for hair growth without harming surrounding tissue.
How long does it take?
Laser hair removal treatments take just minutes for small areas and about a half hour for larger areas.
How many treatments will I need?
Several laser hair removal treatments are recommended for the best results. Your treatment provider can help tailor a plan just for you. You do not need to let hair grow out between treatment sessions.
How much does laser hair removal cost?
Laser hair removal is more affordable than you might think. We also offer a discount with packages purchased and an additional percentage off based off of the number of treatments done (10% for 3, 15% for 5 and 20% for 7).
What will the treatment feel like?
With the Icon, one amazing feature about this machine is the significant decrease in the pain that was experienced before with most lasers when doing laser hair removal. The laser hand piece that touches the skin has a chill tip to cool the skin before and after the laser pulse which significantly reduces pain. Most people feel only a slight, momentary “snap” at the treatment site during the procedure.
How quickly will I recover?
You can resume regular daily activities immediately following treatment. The only restriction is that we advise avoiding extra heat to the treated area (hot tub, bath, etc.) for remainder of the day.
Are there any side effects?
Some typical side effects of laser hair removal include a mild sunburn-like sensation (redness), accompanied by some minor swelling immediately following the treatment. This doesn’t always happen, but if it does, it often occurs with thicker hairs and the swelling usually appears around each hair follicle. This is a good thing, indicating an effective treatment where the follicle has been destroyed!
For more information on laser hair removal or any other laser treatments, contact our Santa Barbara plastic surgery office.