Tired of shaving, plucking, or waxing?

Evolutions Medical Spa is pleased to offer clients in the Santa Barbara area the most effective and comprehensive hair removal treatments anywhere.

Many locations that offer hair removal have only one or two types of lasers.  However, no single laser works well on all skin and hair types.  Evolutions has five hair removal technologies available to best serve your individual needs (we’ve added another one since the video above was made!)  We also offer, for no extra charge, a powerful topical numbing cream to maximize your comfort level.  Finally, our highly skilled clinical staff has been extensively trained on the intricacies of laser hair removal.  We have performed tens of thousands of hair removal treatments since we opened in 2005.  At Evolutions you can be assured that you are receiving the best hair removal results available with the highest level of comfort.

So why wait? Get started down the road to razor-free days today! Make an appointment for a complimentary consultation by calling Evolutions at 805-695-2197 or fill out an online consultation request form.

hair before after 300x77 2

Information and Frequently Asked Questions about Hair Growth and Hair Removal

On this site we have tried to provide a breadth of information to help you to make an educated decision if you decide to pursue laser hair removal.  It is organized so that you can easily find as little or as much information as you desire.  However, please be aware that this info, though accurate and thorough, is not meant to be comprehensive.

Furthermore, since every client is unique, if you are considering laser hair removal we encourage you to call Evolutions at  805-695-2197 and book a complimentary consultation with one of our highly-trained clinicians.  They will be able to review your medical history, answer any additional questions you may have, and give you a personalized assessment of how we can help you to reach your hair removal goals.

Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Hair Removal

Comprehending the basics of hair growth is helpful in understanding how to stop it from growing. Hair follicles lie approximately 1 – 5 millimeters under the skin surface, depending on the location of the hair on the body. At the bottom of the hair follicle lies the bulge. Just above the bulge is the bulb. These are the areas of the follicle that control hair growth (and they are the areas that need to be effectively and selectively damaged to stop future growth).

Vellus Hair – the short, fine hair that grows in most places on the body (in both sexes). It is usually light in color and is sometimes called “peach fuzz.”

Terminal Hair – the fully developed hair, which is generally longer, coarser, thicker, and darker than vellus hair. Terminal hair can be black, brown, blond, red, gray, or white.

The color of hair is determined by its melanin content (type and amount). Brown and black hairs contain a type of melanin called eumelanin. The darker a hair is, the more eumelanin it contains. Blonde and red hair contains pheomelanin. Pheomelanin doesn’t absorb laser energy as well as eumelanin, so blonde and red hairs are more difficult to treat than brown or black hairs.

Your hair grows in cycles. The hair that you see on your body is in the active growth (or anagen) phase. However, at any given time, some of your hair is also in a regressing (catagen) or resting (telogen) phase. Hairs in the catagen or telogen phases do not respond to any type of permanent hair removal/reduction treatments. Consequently, treatments need to be performed every 4 – 8 weeks (depending on the area) in order to catch all of the hairs when they are in the anagen stage. Each individual is different, but depending on the technology used and a few other factors, most people require a series of 4-8 procedures to achieve desired results from laser hair removal.

All of us have hair (either vellus or terminal) growing on the vast majority of our bodies. Individuals who are considered “hairy” simply have more terminal hairs than the average person and/or a higher degree of large, dark hairs. Neither vellus nor terminal hair serves any medical purpose (with the exception of nose and inner ear hair). Furthermore, outside of hair on the head, hair on the body is frequently unwanted due to cosmetic and/or personal hygiene reasons. Thus, there is a large demand for hair removal, both temporary and permanent.

Non-Permanent Hair Removal
Shaving, Tweezing, Waxing, Sugaring, Threading, Depilatory Creams

Non-permanent hair removal either cuts the hair off after it begins to extrude from the skin (shaving), forcibly pulls the hair out by the follicle (tweezing, waxing, sugaring, and threading), or chemically dissolves the hair (depilatories). Though these methods are cheap, they may be uncomfortable. They also do not result in any permanent hair removal or reduction, so they need to be repeated often.

Permanent Hair Removal/Reduction 
Electrolysis, Laser Hair Removal, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Hair Removal

In electrolysis, a clinician inserts a small metal probe into the hair shaft and down to the follicle. An electrical current is then discharged to “zap” the follicle. Electrolysis is very effective, but it is time consuming (the process needs to be repeated on every hair follicle to be treated) and can be painful and expensive. Also, due to the growth cycle of hair, it is still necessary to perform multiple procedures in each treatment area to achieve complete clearance.
Laser and IPL hair removal have become the most popular methods of permanent hair reduction due to their speed, ease, efficacy, and relative cost effectiveness.

The intention of all permanent hair reduction is to damage hair follicles enough so that they will not continue to grow hair. Laser and IPL technology both target the melanin in the hair follicle. Melanin is the substance that gives skin and hair its color. In laser and IPL hair removal treatments, the melanin in the hair follicle absorbs the light energy, heats and is damaged – hopefully permanently.

Yes. You have many hair follicles, and all are not damaged sufficiently in one treatment. Also, as discussed in the growth cycle of the hair section, hair must be in a growth phase in order to be effectively targeted by treatment. Typically it takes at 5 – 6 treatments to achieve desired results.

Because hair grows in cycles, it is necessary to do treatments at specific intervals in order to maximize the efficacy. Hair in different areas of the body grows in varying cycles, but the following table is a good approximation of how far apart treatments should be conducted.

AreaTreatment Intervals
Facial Hair4 – 6 weeks
Body Hair6 – 8 weeks

After the first three treatments, it is okay to lengthen the intervals between procedures until you experience hair re-growth. This will usually be 2 months for facial hair and 3 months for body hair.

The treatment time is highly variable depending on the area(s) treated. Small areas such as the upper lip or the chin only take a few minutes. Larger areas such as the legs or back may take an hour or more.

Overall visit time is also increased by the numbing period. Unless you are undergoing a PPx hair removal treatment only, it is usually recommended to come 30 – 45 minutes prior to your procedure time in order to apply topical numbing gel. This helps to maximize the comfort of your treatment.

No. On the contrary, hair should be shaved prior to coming in for your treatment. Laser hair removal targets the hair follicle, which lies underneath the skin’s surface. You should not pluck or wax in the area for at least two weeks prior to your treatment, as these temporary hair removal methods pull the hair out by the follicle, effectively removing the target of the laser.

When you come in for your initial consultation, it is necessary to have 1-2 days of growth so the clinician can see the density, color, and thickness of the hair in the area(s) you are interested in treating.

Fair-skinned individuals have very little melanin in the skin. The darker a person’s skin is, the more melanin it contains. Hair also contains melanin. Most people have more melanin content in their hair than in the surrounding skin. This is why hair is usually darker than the skin. Lasers work by targeting the melanin in the hair follicle. Consequently, dark and coarse hairs absorb the most energy and are the easiest hairs to treat. Blond, gray, red, and white hairs have little to no melanin content. These hairs are not able to be treated by light energy (lasers or intense pulsed light), only electrical energy (either electrolysis or radio frequency).

Melanin in the skin can also be affected by light energy (by absorbing the heat), which is not the intention of the treatment. Thus, the ideal candidate for laser hair removal is light skinned with dark hair. Darker skinned individuals can still be treated, but for safety reasons it is necessary to use lower energy levels during treatments. This means that it may take more treatments than usual to achieve the intended results.

When you tan, the amount of melanin in your skin increases. This elevated level of melanin in the skin will absorb some of the laser energy that is targeting the melanin in your hair follicles, decreasing the treatments effectiveness. Furthermore, tanning increases the chances of unintended side effects such as minor burns or skin discoloration. Tanned skin can still be safely treated with lower energy levels, but this will further decrease the effectiveness of the treatment. Consequently, it is not recommended to undergo laser hair removal treatments with tanned skin.

Virtually anywhere on the body can be treated. The only exceptions are inside the nose and ears and immediately around the eyes.

With the technology available at Evolutions, almost anyone is a good hair removal candidate. Certain skin types and types of hair may require more treatments than usual to achieve a satisfactory result, though.

There are some medical conditions that are contraindications to treatment. These include pregnancy, people who have used Accutane within 6 months, and people who are on photosensitizing medication.

A comprehensive consultation with one of our well-qualified clinicians is the best way to determine if laser hair removal is a good choice for you.

Absolutely. We have many male hair removal clients at Evolutions. The most popular areas to treat are the back, shoulders, neck, and chest.

For the most part, yes. However, due to a number of underlying factors, including hormonal influences on new hair growth (particularly prominent during teen years and menopause), varying individual response to treatment, and the fact that a small percentage of hair follicles are only shocked into long-term dormancy by the burst(s) of energy (rather than being disabled like the majority of the follicles), after completing the initial series it is often times necessary to come in for a single maintenance treatment every 6 – 9 months. For that reason, the FDA requires that laser hair removal treatments be referred to as “permanent hair reduction” rather than “permanent hair removal.” That said, most people are very happy with the permanent clearance they are able to achieve from an initial series.

No. Though all light-based hair removal devices work by attempting to damage the hair follicles’ ability to grow hair, the methods used to accomplish this are variable.

Lasers are a highly focused single wavelength of light. The wavelength is measured in nanometers, with a higher number corresponding to deeper penetration into the skin. The following is a list of common lasers with their associated wavelengths:

• Alexandrite: 755 nm
• Diode: 800 – 810 nm
• Nd:YAG: 1064 nm

The Alexandrite is typically the preferred wavelength for lighter skin types.  Nd:YAG lasers are preferable for darker skin types.  Diode lasers are versatile and can be used on light and dark skin types.  Though typically people receive the best results with either Alexandrite or Nd:Yag lasers, there are times when Diode lasers work better for a particular individual.  It is impossible to tell until treatments are done and individual response can be tracked.  Fortunately, at Evolutions we have all three wavelengths available (they can even be mixed and matched).

The other form of light-based permanent hair reduction is broadband, or intense pulsed light (IPL). IPLs fire a wide spectrum of light (as opposed to the targeted, single wavelength light of a laser) with the intention of heating the hair follicle enough to permanently damage its ability to grow hair. Traditional IPLs have not been as successful a method of hair removal as have lasers (IPLs are highly effective when used for skin rejuvenation and to treat pigmentation problems and rosacea, however). Evolutions has two types of IPL hair removal that are both more effective than the traditional methods.  The ProWave uses filters to focus the light energy into customized bands of light.  This can be very effective for some clients.  Another IPL technology at Evolutions is called PPx.  This device makes IPL hair removal almost painless by altering the arc of the skin and the position of the hair follicles prior to firing the light.  Typically a few more treatments are needed to receive the same results as laser hair removal, though.

The technology being used to remove your hair can be very different depending on where you go. The technology (much like the skill of the clinician treating you) is of critical importance to your end result. The bottom line is that all hair removal systems are not created equal, and it is in your best interest to know what devices are available to you and how effective they are. Ask questions and inform yourself. To read about the hair removal technology at Evolutions Medical Spa, click here.

Many locations have one hair removal device. In contrast, Evolutions has five state-of-the-art modalities to remove unwanted hair. Between the UltraWave II (which has both Alexendrite and Nd: Yag wavelengths, the Comet, the PPx, and the ProWave, your Evolutions clinician has a multitude of options available to customize the your treatment series specifically for you.

The UltraWave II has the Alexandrite wavelength (for lighter skin types) and the Nd: Yag wavelength (for darker skin types)

• The Comet combines a diode laser with radiofrequency energy.  It is a versatile laser hair removal system and can be used to treat many types of skin and hair (including white, red, and blond hair, which cannot be treated at all by most lasers)

• The PPx uses patented photopneumatic therapy and is a painless treatment. It does not even require numbing cream.

• The ProWave is a programmable IPL and is able to cover large areas with very little

The unparalleled technology at Evolutions will help you to reach your hair removal goals.

The UltraWave II contains the two highly effective wavelengths for hair removal, Alexandrite and Nd: Yag.  The Alexandrite wavelength is generally the most effective wavelength for clients with lighter skin types and dark hair.  The Nd: Yag wavelength is the treatment of choice for clients with darker skin types and dark hair.

The UltraWave II is an extremely fast and efficient laser.

The Comet is the first and only permanent hair reduction technology to combine laser energy with radio frequency (RF) to provide the safest, comfortable solution for effective, predictable and fast hair removal treatments. By combining the light and electrical energy, it is possible to isolate the treatment area and leave the surrounding skin safer from potentially harmful side effects.

Here is how the Comet works — First, the diode laser is fired, which preheats the targeted hair follicles. A few milliseconds later, the bi-polar radiofrequency energy is fired. Like any electrical energy, radiofrequency follows the path of least resistance. Since the laser has just preheated the hair follicles, the radiofrequency follows that path and increases the level of heat in the precise area where it is needed to accomplish its objective. The picture below shows a visual depiction of the process.

laser hair removal 1

The best thing about using both light and electrical energies in this synergistic manner is that it allows for better results with lower overall energy output — assuring the highest level of safety and comfort. In fact, the combination of light and radiofrequency energy requires only 60% of the light energy to be used to achieve the same effect as other lasers. Other laser systems using only one energy source can’t compare.

The Comet also stands apart from other diode hair removal systems in its safety because of Active Dermal Monitoring. This monitoring provides the clinician with feedback on the heat in the skin after each pulse. If the skin is becoming too warm, the clinician is able to instantly react and turn the energy down. If the skin isn’t warm enough, the clinician knows they can safely turn up the energy and achieve a more effective treatment.

In past years, the Lumenis LightSheer has been considered the best diode hair removal device.  However, the Comet has surpassed the LightSheer in a number of ways and we are confident that the Comet is now the best diode laser hair removal technology available. The following chart shows a direct comparison of the two machines.

  Type of DeviceDiode LaserDiode Laser
  Wavelength of Laser810 nm800 nm
  Pulse Repetition Rate2 HzUp to 2 Hz
  Largest Treatment Spot Size12mm x 15mm12mm x 12mm
  Radiofrequency for added efficacy and     safety?YesNo
  Treats blond, gray, white, and red hair?YesNo
  Active Dermal MonitoringYesNo

Traditional, light-only based hair removal systems are not able to treat blond, gray, red, and white hair at all. This is because these hairs contain little to no melanin. However, the Comet also is able to use radiofrequency to destroy hair follicles, and radiofrequency is a “color blind” technology. Thus, the Comet is the only permanent hair reduction system on the market that is able to treat these types of hair. These hairs are still difficult to treat and total clearance isn’t feasible without a high number of treatments. However, roughly 50% clearance is a reasonable expectation with 6-8 treatments. With any other laser technology, clearance of these hairs is 0%.

The ProWave is a tunable intense pulsed light (IPL) hair removal device.  Its multiple wavelength technology switches modes from Alexandrite to Diode to near Nd: Yag.  Because it has a wider band of light than a pure laser, it is a good alternative option for clients who do not respond as well to laser treatments.

The feeling is frequently compared to a light rubber band snap. However, Evolutions works hard to make sure that any discomfort associated with the treatment is minimized. We provide each client with complimentary topical numbing cream that is applied 30 – 45 minutes prior to the treatment. We also further numb the skin with either contact cooling (from the laser tip) or by using a powerful cooling device called the Synercool, which blows cold air over the skin. The combination of these two actions makes the procedure very comfortable for most clients.

The PPx uses a patented combination of pneumatic therapy and broadband light to permanently reduce hair. First, the pneumatic suction gently raises the skin into the tip chamber. This action changes the curvature of the skin and brings the hair follicles closer to the surface. Next, a broadband light (much like an IPL) is fired and blanches the skin in the chamber. Finally, the suction is released and the skin falls back into place. Here is a picture showing how the process works:

ppx hair removal

Because the hair follicles are brought closer to the surface prior to the light being fired, much less energy is required to heat them enough to damage future growth. The lower energy levels also make the treatment completely comfortable. No numbing cream or cooling machines are required.

The main disadvantage of the PPx is that it requires a few more treatments to be as effective as one of the laser technologies.

Traditional, light-only based hair removal systems are not able to treat blond, gray, red, and white hair at all. This is because these hairs contain little to no melanin. However, the Comet also is able to use radiofrequency to destroy hair follicles, and radiofrequency is a “color blind” technology. Thus, the Comet is the only permanent hair reduction system on the market that is able to treat these types of hair. These hairs are still difficult to treat and total clearance isn’t feasible without a high number of treatments. However, roughly 50% clearance is a reasonable expectation with 6-8 treatments. With any other laser technology, clearance of these hairs is 0%.

It depends on a number of different factors, including what areas you are interested in treating and whether you buy standalone treatments or a package (packages are significantly cheaper than buying the necessary number of treatments individually). We encourage you to come in for a complimentary consultation to review the areas you would like to treat with the clinician. In addition to answering any questions you have and reviewing your medical history, they can give you a specific quote at that time.

One other note about hair removal at Evolutions – rather than sell treatments and packages by the area, we quote most areas (with a couple of exceptions) by the time it takes to complete each treatment. We believe this is the fairest way to charge hair removal (because the time it takes to treat, for example, the back or legs of two individuals can vary widely). It also gives you a great deal of flexibility in deciding where you would like to be hair free!