How does hair grow?
Hair forms in a pouch-like structure below the skin called a hair follicle. What we see as hair is actually the hair shaft,
which is the keratinized, hardened tissue that grows from this follicle.
Humans have more hair follicles per square inch of skin than most higher primates, including chimpanzees and gorillas.
Because most of this hair is fine and pale (called vellus hair), it usually is not visible to the naked eye. Consider this: the
forehead has more hair follicles than any other part of the body. The thicker, fully pigmented hair most people consider
"real hair" is called terminal hair. This hair is found on scalp, eyebrows, legs, backs, underarms.
Everyone's hair grows differently, depending on age, weight, metabolism, hormones, ethnicity, medications, and other factors.
But all hair goes through three distinct growth phases:
- Active growth phase (called the anagen phase), which lasts up to several years. At any given time, the majority (85%)
of our body hair is in this phase. During anagen, the hair has an abundance of melanin.
- Regressive phase (catagen phase), which lasts about two weeks, during which the hair stops growing but is not yet shed.
About 3 - 4% of our body hair is in this phase at any given time.
- Resting phase (telogen phase), which lasts 5 - 6 weeks, at the end of which the hair falls out and a new hair begins to form.
Approximately 10-13% of our body hair is in this phase at any one time.
The laser most effectively disables hair that is in the active growth (anagen) phase. Because all the hair in a treated area may not be
in the anagen phase, more than one laser treatment may be necessary to remove the hair that subsequently enters the growth phase.
How does the laser treatment work?
The laser creates a beam of high-intensity light that penetrates deep into skin tissue where it delivers a controlled amount
of targeted therapeutic heat. Candela's patented Dynamic Cooling Device technology (DCD) protects the upper layers of
your skin with a cooling burst of cryogen. Together, the long-pulse laser and DCD cooling offer optimal treatment with minimal
What can I expect during treatment?
Treatment will take place in your practitioner's office. You will wear safety eyewear to protect your eyes from the laser light.
Your practitioner will guide the laser to the treatment areas with a small handheld probe. Each laser pulse may be preceded
and followed by a short pulse of cooling spray. A treatment could take as little as a few minutes to as long as an hour, depending
on the area and condition being treated.
Does it hurt?
Some patients may feel a slight discomfort with the laser pulse, sometimes described as the snapping of a rubber band on the skin.
This discomfort resolves in several seconds and is minimized by Candela's DCD cooling. For some patients, a topical anesthetic may be
used prior to treatment. Be sure to discuss this with your practitioner.
How many treatment sessions will I need?
The number of sessions depends on the treatment you require and the condition of your skin. For hair removal, multiple treatments
are required, as the process is only effective when the hair follicle is in its active growth phase. Other conditions may clear in as few
as one treatment, but many factors impact the efficacy of individual laser treatments, including the severity of the condition being
How do I prepare for the treatment?
Patients scheduled for hair removal should avoid plucking, electrolysis or hair waxing for six weeks prior to treatment. If you have had
a history of perioral herpes and are scheduled for facial hair treatment, prophylactic antiviral therapy may be prescribed. Also, any hair
should be completely removed by shaving, and your skin should be thoroughly cleaned and dried, removing any makeup, creams, oils,
or topical anesthetics on its surface before laser treatments.
What can I expect after treatment?
A cool compress or gel pack may be applied for comfort following your treatment. Patients should avoid sun exposure before and after
treatment, by applying sun block (SPF 30 or above) prior to going outdoors.
Are there side effects?
Your risks are minimal. Side effects may include purpura (a laser bruise), redness, blistering, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation and
swelling in the treated area these usually do not last more than a few days. Permanent side effects, such as hyperpigmentation or
hypopigmentation or scarring are rare.
What precautions should I take after treatment?
After laser treatment, prevent sun exposure by applying sun block (SPF 30 or above). In the first few days after treatment, don't scrub
or rinse the treated areas with abrasive skin cleansers. Your practitioner may advise additional precautions.
Are there any adverse side-effects to laser or light-based treatments?
In general, most procedures have a low risk of adverse side effects. Some patients experience pigment changes in the skin color. If this
occurs, the skin will typically return to normal pigmentation over time. All treatment results are individual.
Are these treatments covered by my medical insurance?
Most insurance companies do not offer reimbursement for cosmetic procedures. Some carriers will, however, cover the treatment of
disfiguring birthmarks such as hemangiomas. Consult your insurance carrier for conclusive information.
Why do we use the Candela GentleYAG laser?
It uniquely provides laser hair removal for everyone. Whether you are fair skinned, dark skinned or tanned, the GentleYAG can eliminate
the need for shaving, plucking or waxing. The GentleYAG can also be used for a variety of medical and cosmetic procedures including
treatment of leg and facial veins. The GentleYAG system, a revolutionary long-pulse high-energy Nd:YAG laser, incorporates Candela's DCD
cooling where cryogen is sprayed onto the skin cooling the upper layers and providing patients with increased comfort. GentleYAG selectivity
helps to protect the skin, while effectively treating the unwanted hair and vascular lesions.