Laser Hair Removal

What is laser hair removal and how does it work?

Laser hair removal involves delivering photothermal energy to the hair follicle, thereby reducing its ability to grow. Modern laser and IPL systems are designed to deliver this energy only to the hair follicle itself, thereby preventing damage to the surrounding skin. This is called selective photothermolysis and is the primary concept behind laser for any skin indication.

What is the difference between laser and IPL for hair removal?

IPL stands for "intense pulsed light" and therefore by definition these machines are not true lasers. IPL is essentially a very bright light that is filtered to give the desired wavelength. In general the filtered wavelength from IPL's is fairly wide and therefore not as specific to the hair follicle. Lasers differ from IPL machines as the laser emits light coherently with a very specific and accurate wavelength.

Both lasers and IPL can be effective for hair removal. Laser hair removal is generally considered safer and more effective than IPL hair removal. The more specific wavelength of light seen in laser hair removal allows more accurate targeting of the hair follicle with lower risk of damage to surrounding skin. With certain laser wavelengths (eg 1064 Nd:YAG), olive or darker skin types can be safely treated. This would be impossible with most IPL machines and result in severe burning of the skin.

What type of laser is used at Peninsula Dermatology?

Laser hair removal at Peninsula Dermatology is exclusively performed using the Cutera excel HR laser. The Cutera excel HR is a state-of-the-art hair removal laser that includes two wavelengths (755nm and 1064nm) with sapphire tip cooling. We consider this new laser to be the best hair removal laser on the market today. For more information on the Cutera excel HR system refer to our Laser section.

Photos courtesy of Cutera CRC

Photos courtesy of Cutera CRC

Is laser hair removal safe?

Although laser hair removal is very safe procedure, it is a medical treatment with the potential for serious adverse outcomes if not performed correctly. It is for this reason that laser hair removal should only be performed by well trained health professionals using high quality laser or IPL machines.  At Peninsula Dematology all laser hair removal treatments are performed by our highly trained senior dermal clinician.

Is Laser hair removal permanent?

In a word - no. The term "permanent" can be misleading and many hair removal centres will claim their treatments result in permanent hair removal. In reality laser hair removal is not a permanent process and invariably new hairs will grow back over time. However with an appropriate number of laser treatments, patients will notice a significant and cosmetically acceptable reduction in hair density which may last for long periods. 

With modern machines patients can expect a 70-80% reduction in hair after a series of treatments. The remaining hair will often be finer and lighter in colour and therefore be less noticeable.

How many treatments will I need?

The total number of treatments will vary from patient to patient. In general a series of 6-8 treatments will be required initially with periodic "top-up" treatments delivered over time as needed.

Will it work on blonde or fair hair?

Laser or IPL treatments will only work on pigmented hair as the lasers target melanin in the hair follicle.

Can I have treatment if I have a tan or have used fake tanning products?

It is very important that laser hair removal is not performed on tanned skin or after the application of fake tanning products. This increases the risk of adverse outcomes, in particular laser burns and pigmentation issues. We would generally recommend avoiding signficant sun exposure for 3-4 weeks prior to treatment. For this reason many of our patients elect to have laser hair removal in the winter months.

The inappropriate treatment of tanned skin, particularly with IPL, is one of the primary causes of burns following laser hair removal.

Why choose Peninsula Dermatology for Laser Hair Removal?

At Peninsula Dermatology we use the latest technology to ensure patient safety and optimum results. We are equipped with state of the art medical grade lasers operated by our specialised and highly trained dermal therapists.

What is the cost of Laser Hair Removal?

The cost of laser hair removal will vary depending on the size and number of areas treated. A price estimate is included below however contact the rooms on (03) 9770 9788 for a more detailed quote or to arrange a free initial consultation. Peninsula Dermatology offers an initial laser hair removal consultation with our cosmetic nurse at no cost.

Laser hair removal is usually more expensive per treatment when compared to IPL hair removal. However often fewer treatments are needed using the more advanced laser machines and therefore the total cost may in fact be similar.

Why are there no laser hair removal packages available at Peninsula Dermatology?

At Peninsula Dermatology we do not believe in pre-purchasing large number of laser treatments to attract a discount. These packages are commonly offered by hair removal companies and involve pre-purchasing as many as 8-10 treatments in advance. In many cases, particularly with the more effective laser machines, a patient will not need this many treatments over a 12 month period. Instead we offer competitive pricing for each hair removal treatment thereby avoiding expensive upfront costs and wasting money on unnecessary treatments. We believe this is the fairest approach to effective laser hair removal.