San Francisco is known for many things: its bridges, its diversity, its street cars, its fog. But there’s another standout element of the city that may not have an entry in every guidebook: its cutting-edge beauty services. For example: in San Francisco, laser hair removal is now a common beauty treatment, popular among residents and visitors alike. But how does it work? And why are so many people turning to it? Read on to learn more about how a beam of light results in smooth, hairless skin—and how you can get it for yourself.How does laser hair removal work?Laser hair-removal treatments eliminate unwanted hair using a focused beam of light at a fixed wavelength. This light naturally targets a type of pigment known as melanin—the same chemical responsible for skin tanning—within the hair follicles, heating the follicles that are in their active growth phase to discourage future hairs from sprouting. Because the melanin absorbs the focused light, IPL treatments can eliminate hair from faces, arms, legs, backs, and bikini lines while having little impact and causing only limited irritation to surrounding skin cells. Check out our breakdown of the process for more information.What are its limitations?Nothing is foolproof, not even hair-zapping lasers. The basic principle described above limits the conditions in which IPL treatments can be effective. Those with darker skin and fairer hair, for instance, may require extra sessions, and gray hairs—that is, hairs that lack melanin altogether—are too wise and set in their ways to be affected. Tanning may affect the melanin in the hair as well, so patients are discouraged from sunbathing before their treatment. What’s a laser got to do with it?Though most laser hair-removal devices have the same basic functionality, there are different types for different needs. Those with darker skin benefit most from the YAG laser, while those with lighter skin and finer hair can sign up for an appointment with the Ruby laser. Medium- and olive-tone skin types do well with the Alexandrite and Diode lasers. Does laser hair removal hurt?In a typical treatment, a technician presses a hand-held laser device against a target area, emitting a quick pulse of light that can treat multiple hairs at once in a split second. For most patients, this will feel like someone is pinching the area of skin being treated. Most devices also have a gentle vacuum on the end that sucks hair and skin toward the laser emission, making it easier to target the follicles. For an insider’s glimpse of the experience, check out our beauty blogger’s hands-on guide.To find the best laser hair-removal services in San Francisco, you won’t have to look far. Here are a few of our own recommendations: Gentle Star Med Spa, 54 Mint St., (415) 618-0108 The Treatment Room, 1230 Sutter St., (415) 252-8181 Serenity Med Spa, 126 Post St., 2nd Floor, (415) 781-9200
Read More