20 . September . 2019 BY Dr. Sharmishtha Deshpande

There are no two thoughts here. Unwanted hair growth on your face is always a bother. You can cover up that unshaven/unwaxed leg or arm with pants and a full-sleeved outfit. But what of the face?! Your face is the first thing people notice about you and it’s what greets you every morning in the mirror!

You can’t cover it up and that makes you super conscious! You struggle with shaving, plucking, trimming, trying to stay well-groomed at all times. Rushed trips to the parlour didi or painful plucking at home! And with men, it is that moustache or beard or sideburns not quite shaping up the way imagined! Precious time lost in front of the mirror trying to keep the facial hair shaped & groomed!

You have tried everything and now pondering on laser hair reduction for tackling the stubborn unwanted facial hair once for all. Clearly it’s high on the radar ‘cos we have been getting so many questions on laser facial hair reduction off-lately!

So here we are, once again, with our ‘Ask the Hair Expert’ series; this time to address your queries on the reduction of facial hair using laser treatment, whether it is safe, how to approach it and how we can help you address your concerns on the subject!

You asked: “Can laser hair reduction be done on my face? Is it safe?

Here’s the answer from the Hair Experts.
Yes. It can be done. And yes, it is safe to have laser hair reduction performed on your face.
The key to safety lies with where and how you get it done!
So, let’s first have a quick recap on how laser hair reduction works at large, and then move on to address laser facial hair reduction specifically.

How does laser hair reduction work?

Laser hair reduction is a cosmetic procedure, performed under medical supervision, that helps reduce the growth of unwanted hair. The procedure is performed by a trained specialist, using a long pulse/ motion speed laser that is set according to your hair and skin type.
You may have read about the science behind laser technology in our earlier blogs. For those unfamiliar, laser hair reduction is basically selective photothermolysis. It targets the pigment melanin in the hair bulb and burns the papilla arresting the hair growth. This leads to permanent hair reduction over time. A person may need about 6-8 sittings, at intervals as prescribed, to permanently damage most of the hair follicles in the particular area being treated. Multiple sittings ensure that hair in all stages of the hair growth cycle is addressed.

Can it be performed on your face?

Yes, absolutely! Your face is one of the parts where the laser works best! Laser hair reduction for unwanted facial hair is the most convenient way to address your recurring concerns with grooming.

Unwanted hair on your chin, upper lip, sideburns or on your forehead can be addressed very effectively by laser hair reduction technique.

For men, laser hair reduction can works wonders for beard-sculpting, moustache-shaping and even the neckline/back of the neck.

This is of course apart from the many benefits that this methodology offers to both men and women for getting rid of unwanted hair in other parts of the body, from hands and legs to your back or even private parts.

Unlike the rest of your body, as you know, the skin on your face is different by nature. Not to mention that it is also the most exposed part of your body. While you can protect or cover other parts of your body, you can’t do much about your face. It, hence, needs due care and attention when being treated with laser for hair reduction. This is where a trichologist plays a very important role.

How can a Trichologist help you?

What has happened is that with the growing popularity of laser hair reduction, especially for the face, a number of salons, stand-alone technicians, self-styled clinics & ‘experts’ have started offering laser hair reduction as an extended ‘service’. Unfortunately, most of them do not have the necessary technical and medical know-how to guide you right and perform the treatment as it should be. Adding to this, there is little information available to an interested party that is not misleading. All this puts a test on safety and security leading to much apprehensions on the topic.

When you go to a reputed clinic and meet a trichologist, these doubts & worries can be put to a logical end. A trichologist examines the hair using a Capilloscope to understand the pattern and density of hair growth. There are specific parameters for the session, to be used on the basis of your hair & skin type, so as to have optimum results without jeopardising safety. A professional diagnoses and takes a measured call on what is needed for your face.

Also, certain disorders and medical conditions have relative contraindications to laser. Also, laser hair reduction does not show results in some who suffer from certain hormonal disorders. Medical history is very important to be looked into! This is something only a trained medical professional can decipher. Not your beauty salon technician or ‘expert’!

So, what to expect during the laser facial hair reduction procedure?

Here is what ideally happens, or should happen, when you go for a laser facial hair reduction:

  • You, first consult a trichologist who will examine your face in great detail, to understand your facial skin and hair growth on it.
  • The laser facial hair removal usually works best with lighter skin that has darker hair because the laser beam is likely to be absorbed by the melanin pigment. Darker hair, that has more melanin, absorbs the light energy more and destroys the hair follicle.
  • The trichologist, after studying you, will explain the above, and the outcome you can expect on the basis of your facial skin tone and colour of hair.
  • The course of action is discussed and a mutually agreeable schedule is drawn on how your sittings will be conducted.
  • The trichologist accordingly indicates the necessary settings and other related instructions to a trained technician.
  • The technician will examine the facial hair to be removed and trim it if necessary to maintain a length of few millimetres.
  • The technician will adjust the laser instrument as per trichologist’s recommendation and the location of hair, thickness. And also taking into consideration the colour of your skin and hair.
  • You will be asked to cover your eyes with a protective eye gear throughout the procedure. This is because the laser lights used during laser facial hair removal process can be extremely hazardous to your eyes if exposed.
  • The technician will apply a special gel on the skin surface that helps the laser beam to penetrate into the deeper skin layers to target the hair follicle.
  • Before starting the actual laser facial hair reduction treatment the technician will try one pulsating beam to check for any untoward reaction. The process is continued only if no such concerns arise.
  • If needed, a local anaesthetic may be applied, if you for any reason feel some discomfort during the process.

    Your comfort while getting laser facial hair reduction also has a lot to do with the laser technology being used. You have very advanced machines now, such as those using the Cool Brush Technology, that comes with a unique in-built cooling system, with water and cold sapphire.

Any precautions to be taken before and after?

You will get a complete personalised checklist on the dos and don’ts when you go for your consultation to the clinic. The following are some basic tips to keep in mind meantime.

  • You should avoid waxing and/or plucking the hair from where you wish to get laser hair reduction done.
  • Try and stay away from direct sun exposure as much as you can, for at least a week before (and after) the procedure. Apply adequate sunscreen when stepping out. This is because too much sun exposure can affect the outcome of the procedure.
    Make necessary arrangements beforehand with respect to your outdoor travel, sunscreen use, and other sun-protective measures.
  • Avoid using too many products on your face for at least a day or so before the procedure to stay clear from chances of skin irritation.
  • If you are on any medications, please discuss this beforehand with the trichologist and take due advice on how/when to take it.
  • If you are suffering from any skin infection, rash or any such concerns, avoid going for the procedure until you are all clear of it.
  • It is not recommended to go for the treatment if you are pregnant.
  • You will be prescribed cool compress, moisturizers, cold ice packs or cooling gels to apply after the procedure and in between sittings. This is to reduce redness or discomfort if any. Commercial products are generally not recommended during this time.
  • You will be advised on when you can wear make-up after the procedure. If all is well and no possible concerns are identified, you will be allowed to wear make-up the next day.
  • Sunscreen will be prescribed to use through the period of treatment, to prevent any temporary changes to your skin. Here again, it is best to go with the prescribed product rather than the off-the-shelf ones.
  • In very rare cases, where the possibility of any side effects such as a temporary rash, for instance, is identified and discussed during the consultation, the trichologist will guide on some external applications to be used during the process.

If at any point during the course of your treatment, you observe any change to your skin or face any discomfort, you should not hesitate to discuss it with your clinic. With advanced technologies and trained professionals in place, instances of concerns are very minimal. But reactions and results vary from person to person. It is hence always good to be aware, cautious and seek professional support when needed!

How can the treatment benefit you?

We don’t have to rally on about the multitude of benefits that laser facial hair reduction offers! It’s one too many!

Laser technique can target a very specific location, to reduce hair growth, without affecting the surrounding skin. This treatment saves a lot of time for women as just a couple of sessions can drastically reduce the need for a salon visit! Both in men and women, it saves a great deal of time that is otherwise spent daily in shaving, threading, plucking or trimming facial hair! Not to mention the money being saved on repetitive temporary fixes! The list of benefits can go on!

Once you have made up your mind though, do go to a reputed Clinic, that has trained & certified hair doctors to consult, the best & latest of technologies handled by professional technicians and the right environment to carry out the treatment sessions in a safe manner. Do not be hasty on this decision. Choosing the right place matters. This would be most efficient & result-oriented; and will deliver on every occasion.

Be informed and take a conscious decision on your way forward! Keep watching this space for more information & updates.

Do read more on the topic, on our laser hair reduction blogs, and for all things ‘Hair’, do follow our blogs on hair loss, hair care, treatments & solutions, and interesting hair trivia!

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