We spoke to the team at Primelase to get the low-down on laser hair removal

With summer in sight, you might be upping the ante on your hair removal routine. But whether you wax, shave or thread, it all takes time and money. Plus there’s the annoying regrowth period and in-growing hairs to contend with. With all things considered, you’ve no doubt thought about laser hair removal. It’s really your only option if you want the permanent disappearance of hair; luckily, it’s an incredibly quick and effective process. Especially so, with Primelase. It’s one of the newest devices on the block, 10 times more powerful than other laser devices and as fast as shaving. We spoke to Head of Clinical Training at Cosmeditech, Samantha Llewellyn to get the low down on laser hair removal. Here’s everything you need to know before your first appointment.

Is there a right time of year to start laser hair treatment?

Our laser treats all skin types, including sun-tanned skin – providing you’re not immediately back from holiday and you’re not sunburnt. We‘d usually wait two weeks after an intense period in the sun because melanocyte in the skin is still active so you’re potentially still getting darker in the days after a holiday. After two weeks everything settles down.

How does the Primelase laser differ from others?

Ours has a higher wattage; the Primelase is 4800W compared to other lasers which are a lot less, some are even half of this. This means that we don’t need to use as high energy on the hair. We also have the crystal freeze technology which protects the skin by cooling it to about 5°C, which protects the surrounding tissue while we’re generating the heat within the hair follicle.

laser hair removal

Is it damaging to the skin at all?

No, not at all. The laser is only attracted to the hair. It targets the melanin in hair follicles which is why with Primelase we can treat 1-6 skin types very effectively without causing any damage to the skin, even dark skin.

Tell us more about Primelase?

It’s the crème de la crème of lasers. They’re incredibly powerful and they’re very fast. The great thing with it is that we can use different spot sizes – the spot size we currently use is XXL which can do full legs in 10 minutes.

What’s the science?

The laser is attracted to melanin which is what gives hair its colour. The laser travels down the hair and destroys the cells at the base of the follicle. It’s very important that we follow the hair growth cycle; we target the hair in the anagen phase which is when it’s complete in the follicle and still actively growing.

When you wax, you’ll never get complete removal of hair because a lot of the hair snaps – you’ll feel smooth for only a short while. With the laser, once the hair is treated, the hair is destroyed and falls out. Each hair follicle is independent and goes through the growth cycle at different times, which is why a number of sessions are required. After the treatment, the hair feels a bit blunt, which is normal, and then from about six weeks on, you’re hair free.

Why choose laser over other methods of hair removal?

With waxing you’ve got ingrown hairs, you don’t get full clearage due to the hair snapping and with some darker skin types, waxing can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. If you look at the cost of waxing over a lifetime, it’s also more expensive than laser hair removal. With permanent hair removal, once those hairs have been destroyed, they’re gone.

Is there anything that might cause the hair to grow back after laser hair treatment?

Sometimes your hormones can cause a bit of regrowth. Women going through the menopause or with PCOS for example, might experience regrowth. It’s still treatable and you can still get a very good removal of the hair, it might just take a few extra sessions.

How many sessions is the norm?

We say about 6 sessions for permanent removal and that’ll clear around 95% of the hair in the targeted area.

What do you need to do before a treatment?

You need to stop waxing, plucking and threading the treated area completely. Only shave in between treatments. Once the area has been treated and in between sessions, you can use an exfoliator to encourage the dead hair out of the follicles.

And what about post-care?

No strenuous exercise or movement that will make the area sweat directly after treatment. We might advise longer, depending on the area treated because the thicker the hair, the longer it holds heat from the laser. So if we were doing full legs and someone had quite thick hair, we might tell them not to exercise for 24 hours after treatment. Avoid swimming, saunas, steam rooms or sunbeds – anything that generates heat – for 24 hours, and always wear sun protection after treatment and throughout the entirety of the treatment package. This is so that your skin stays the same colour and we can continue to use the same intensity of laser throughout.

Are there any risks?

As with any treatment, if it’s not carried out properly, there is a small risk of it having an adverse reaction. But with a fully-qualified practitioner and with a full consultation and a test patch, there aren’t really any risks. Everything should be taken care of in the consultation phase; a test patch will tell me how your skin is going to react. We’ll also go through your medical history, and we’ll touch base again before each session. If you do change or start medication throughout the course of the treatment, we need to know. This is because some medications can make your skin photosensitive to the laser, which is something we’d need to take into consideration before continuing treatment.

For more information about Primelase, visit cosmeditech.com