5 Things You Never Knew about Laser Hair Removal


Hawaii Permanent Unwanted Hair TreatmentLaser technology has been successfully used in medicine for more than 50 years, which is a testament to its efficacy and safety. One type of laser treatment that has been in use for more than 20 years in Honolulu is laser hair removal – and it seems as if this procedure is only gaining popularity. One reason is how effective lasers are at removing hair.

At Kitagawa Dermatology, Honolulu native and medical and cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Kory Kitagawa and his staff understand that as much as patients might know about laser technology in general, there may be several aspects of the treatment that aren’t widely known.

Let’s change that. Here are five things you may not have known about laser hair removal.

Unexpectedly Inexpensive

A persisting myth is how expensive lasers are. When they first became commercially available, laser treatments were expensive. A small area of treatment – say, the underarm – was thousands of dollars; not everyone could afford it and not everyone believed it was worth the expense.

Fast forward to today, and laser hair removal is common due to technological advancements that have improved the treatment and made it more cost-effective. However, the size of the unwanted hair treatment area will still impact the price. With due diligence, patients can find a clean, well-reviewed dermatology clinic with an excellent track record of safety that is also reasonably priced.

Furthermore, in the hands of a board-certified dermatologist in Honolulu with the skill, technique, and experience of Dr. Kitagawa, the unwanted hair treatment results can be permanent, which is very budget-friendly.

It’s Not Necessarily Painful, But…

The reality is that the amount of discomfort depends on several factors:

  • Pain tolerance
  • Area of treatment
  • Amount of hair to be removed
  • Thickness of hair

Consider this – laser hair procedures involve targeting hair follicles and destroying them. So, while it is not painless, it’s also not as bad as waxing, particularly under the control of an experienced doctor in Honolulu with the right skill and experience. In fact, those who have undergone the treatment report that it feels like tiny pin pricks as the precision light energy targets and zaps hair follicles.

If there is too much discomfort, the intensity of the laser can be reduced to a more tolerable level. Local anesthesia or a topical numbing agent can also be administered to ensure the most comfortable treatment possible.

Again, laser hair removal technique and skill are paramount for minimizing discomfort.

Laser-Fast Hair Removal

Each laser pulse zaps many follicles in an area the size of a quarter in the time it takes to blink once. So, for a small treatment area, such as under one arm, a single session is about 10 minutes. An even smaller area will take less – e.g., the upper lip might take 2-3 minutes.

For larger areas, such as the whole leg or swaths on the lower back, expect treatment to take at least 30 minutes. All in all, one session could treat several hairy areas of varying sizes without ruining a busy schedule.

Each session removes 10-20% of the follicles being targeted, so a general treatment plan to get the desired permanent results is one treatment every month or so for 4-6 months. Sometimes, touch-up sessions are needed for routine maintenance, as well.

Lasers are Not Effective for Everyone

For some patients, it’s more difficult for the laser to detect hair follicles, which limits effectiveness. In general, though, patients with light skin and dark, coarse hair consistently have the best results.

Patients with hair and skin that are similar in color (e.g., light skin and blonde or gray hair or darker skin with black or brown hair) usually have less consistent results. The laser will target the pigment in the skin instead of the hair itself because there isn’t enough contrast between the pigment in the skin and the hair.

Shave the Area the Day Before (But Don’t Pluck or Wax)

Since the days of shaving are numbered once undergoing laser hair removal, patients in Honolulu are required to shave the area being treated beforehand. This will help the chances of quicker, more consistent results.

However, refrain from having the targeted area plucked or waxed. Otherwise, hair removal treatment will have to be delayed.

Virtually any area of the body can be safely and effectively treated for laser hair removal:

  • Bikini area
  • Tummy
  • The upper lip
  • On or under the chin
  • Ears
  • Eyebrows
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Underarms
  • Chest
  • Nipples
  • Back
  • Thighs
  • Calves
  • Toes
  • Fingers
  • Buttocks

Learn more about hair removal with lasers at WebMD.com.

Contact Kitagawa Dermatology for a Laser Session Today

Unwanted hair in conspicuous places can be a thing of the past with a laser session at Kitagawa Dermatology. In the right hands, patients can have smooth, silky skin – permanently. To find out more, schedule a consultation with Kitagawa Dermatology in Honolulu by visiting us online or calling 808.533.4434.