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Laser Hair Removal



Overview

Laser hair removal has recently become very popular. The reason is that with the advent of new lasers the procedure has become quite effective. Along with this increased effectiveness is the ability to treat larger areas In fact, it is not uncommon for some of our patients to have full body hair removal. The procedure involves using a laser to destroy that part of the hair shaft that adds color to the hair. This means white hair, or hair that has no color, is not effectively treated with the laser.

The way the laser works is that when actively growing hair is struck with the laser beam it is either destroyed or sent into a resting phase. Not all hairs are actively growing. Most hairs are actively growing but a smaller percentage of hairs are in a resting phase. If the hair is our struck by the laser when they are in a resting phase they are not affected by the laser. This is why multiple treatments are necessary in order to catch each hair when it is in its active phase.

The laser has a very cool tip that is gently slid over the skin on a film of cool gel. This cool tip effectively diminishes pain, redness, and swelling. The procedure is relatively painless.

On average, three treatments are needed to address the majority of hairs in their active phase. Most people comment that this is all that is necessary, but sometimes a small number of hairs persist and further treatment is necessary. The treatments are spread out over about six weeks so that hairs that were previously in their resting phase have had time to go into active phase.

After the procedure, the treated skin has a pink glow to it and may be mildly irritated. This will go away in two or three days.

Benefits

People who have used various forms of hair removal such as plucking, waxing, electrolysis, shaving, and depilatories understand the significant benefits of a gentle, permanent hair removal procedure and the rashes, bumps, etc. involved with these procedures. The benefits of laser hair removal can be summarized as follows.

  • Is a permanent form of hair removal.
  • Requires only a few treatments.
  • Can be performed over very large areas including full body.
  • The procedure is relatively painless.
  • The procedure is very safe and effective.
  • Can be used on all hairs except white hair.
  • Is relatively low-cost.

Are you a good candidate?

Good candidates for laser hair removal are those people that are tired of the other forms of hair removal and are looking for something more permanent. These type of people would like to be able to wear a bikini without having to worry about hair. Good candidates for laser hair removal include people who:

  • Want a permanent solution to hair removal.
  • Have a large area that needs to be treated.
  • Unattractive hair in almost any location including the face.
  • Are tired of shaving the under arms or legs every day.
  • Hate the unattractive hair on the upper lip.
  • Hate the rash or irritation from shaving.
  • Have hair on their back, chests, forearms, or essentially anywhere on the body.
  • A man with excessive hair on his back or anywhere.
  • People who have used the drug Accutane within the last two years should not have laser hair removal performed.
  • This drug delays skin healing and may pose a problem after laser hair removal.

People who have used the drug Accutane within the last two years should not have laser hair removal performed. This drug delays skin healing and may pose a problem after laser hair removal.

Possible complications

Overall, complications associated with laser hair removal are minimal and rarely significant. After the treatment there may be a 2 or 3 day period of redness and/or irritation especially if the hair being removed is particularly thick. Other complications include inadequate removal of hair but this is usually addressed by repeating the procedure when the hair is in its active phase.

Do's and Dont's prior to surgery

There are not a lot of do's and don'ts pertaining to laser hair removal. As mentioned above, people who have used the drug Accutane should not have the procedure done until two years have elapsed since the drug was stopped. Creams and medications that irritate the skin such as Retin-A, glycolic acid, alphahydroxy acids, etc. should not be used one week prior to treatment to minimize irritation.

Anesthesia

ICRS only uses board certified anesthesiologists to make sure you have the best anesthesia possible. The anesthesiologist will discuss with you what type of anesthesia is best for you. He will take into consideration your medical history, the procedure, and your personal wishes.

No anesthesia is necessary for laser hair removal.

After the procedure

Immediately after laser hair removal your skin will be mildly red and irritated. Usually nothing is necessary for pain management. It is very important to stay out of the sun for about two weeks as it will irritate the treated skin and may cause it to hyper pigmented. Apply sunscreen if the skin is to be exposed.

Hair treated with the laser may take several weeks to fall out, so be patient. It will take a a month to determine which hairs, if any, are still growing and need to be re-treated.

Recovery time

There is no down time from work. In fact, it is often done during lunch break.