Dec 1, 2008

Laser hair removal: What you need to know

Leda & St. Jacques Author: Elle Canada Credits: Leda & St. Jacques

Dec 1, 2008

Laser hair removal: What you need to know

With bikini season right around the corner (we already have our sexy little number purchased) women go into full-blown hair removal mode and will do anything to get smooth skin for summer dresses, short-shorts and of course, the beach. All those tired of the nicks and time it takes with shaving raise your hand. And while waxing gives you a bit of a break from the shave routine, let's be honest -- the pain factor is not something any of us look forward to. But don't fret -- there are other options for hair removal (that don't involve nearly as much pain and are more permanent), such as laser hair removal. To get the skinny on how laser hair removal works and tips for getting it done, ELLE Canada asked dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett of DKL on Avenue for her advice.

How it's done:
Rather than pulling the hair out by the root, or shaving it off at the skin, laser removal destroys the hair follicle, preventing any new hair growth, one hair at a time. "Laser hair removal is based on wavelengths used to heat up a certain part of the hair follicle to destroy it thus decreasing hair growth," explains Kellett. That may sound painful, but while there might be some discomfort and a few side effects, it is generally pain-free.

How many sessions it will take:
"The number of sessions depends on the type of hair, body site and quality of the laser technology," says Kellett. "The average is 6-8 treatments but it could take more." If you're looking to do a larger part of your body, you may also need to get it done in sections. Don't forget you will need some downtime in between each session, usually a couple of weeks so ask your derm how long you should wait.

The side effects:
Side effects include redness, swelling, and less commonly pigment change, scabbing and blistering. It really depends on your skin and how it will react to the treatment. A trip to the clinic for a consultation session will help determine if there will be any major side effects.

Who should get laser hair removal:
"Laser Hair reduction is a great option for people who want a permanent reduction of hair rather than having to do something again and again," says Kellett. "It's great for all body sites, arms, legs, face, bikini, back and neck." If you're sensitive to waxing, shaving or depilating, it's worth looking in to.

Tips before you get it done:
Always see a dermatologist before laser hair removal to ensure that you are a good candidate. "You also want to ensure that you do not have moles that should not be treated with laser or even worse that you have a skin cancer," warns Kellett. Book a consultation before getting anything done -- then enjoy the new, smooth you!

Find out where to get it done on the next page ...

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Where to get it done:
Atlantic Canada
Gentle Touch
Dartmouth Location:
Mic Mac Mall, Lower Level

Halifax Location:
1096 Queen Street

Central Canada:
Perma Laser Clinic

5845 Cote des Neiges
Suite 460 Montreal

DLK on Avenue

108 Avenue Rd. Toronto

Western Canada:
Laser Hair Centre Inc.

D-274 Glenmore Landing
1600 - 90th Avenue SW

British Columbia
Yaletown Laser Centre

1010 Mainland St.

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Laser hair removal: What you need to know