Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure used to remove unwanted body hair with intense pulsed laser energy. This minimally invasive procedure removes hair through a series of treatments while leaving the surrounding skin and tissue unharmed. Through this safe, painless and convenient procedure, patients can enjoy long-term hair removal from nearly any area of their body.
Laser hair removal is most commonly performed on the face, upper lip, neck, chest, underarms, back, abdomen, bikini line and legs, although it can be performed on virtually any area with excess hair growth.
Candidates for Laser Hair Removal
The ideal patient for laser hair removal is someone with excessive hair growth who is unhappy with the appearance of the hair and seeking a long-term, simple solution. Excessive hair growth may be caused by a number of different reasons, including puberty, pregnancy, menopause, heredity, medication or disease.
Other patients with normal hair growth, who are tired of constantly shaving, waxing or plucking their unwanted hair may benefit from this procedure as well. This procedure is usually most effective on patients with dark hair and light skin, although most patients are able to achieve successful results. It is important for patients to have realistic expectations about laser hair removal in order to be satisfied with their results.
During the laser hair removal procedure, a topical anesthetic will be applied to the area to prevent pain and discomfort. The laser is then moved across the targeted area with a hand held device to treat the area with intense laser pulses. Hair follicles in the active growth state are disabled. Patients may experience the sensation of a rubber band snapping the skin during this procedure, but most are able to tolerate the procedure well.
There are several different types of lasers that can be used for hair removal, including:
- Light-based sources
- Nd: YAG
Your doctor will decide which laser is best for treating your skin to achieve the most successful results.
Multiple treatments will be needed in order to achieve optimal results, since hair grows in cycles, and one treatment will not be able to destroy all hair follicles. Most patients experience effective results after three to five treatments, spaced four to eight weeks apart. The length and quantity of treatments depends upon the location of the hair and the patient’s individual response to treatment. Patients who wish to remove hair in between treatment sessions can shave the treated area if they desire, but should not use any other type of temporary hair removal.
Recovery & Results
After laser hair removal, patients may experience some redness and swelling in the treated area, but these symptoms usually go away on their own within a few days. Patients can return to work and other normal activities immediately after treatment. Excessive sun exposure should be avoided for some time after laser hair removal.
The results of the laser hair removal procedure are visible immediately, but hair may continue to grow until the full course of treatment is complete. Although the results of laser hair removal may not be permanent, they are longer than the results of other hair removal methods. Through multiple treatment sessions, long-term results may be possible for many patients.
Risks & Complications
Although laser hair removal is considered a safe procedure, there is always a risk of complication associated with any type of medical procedure. Some of these complications may include:
- Lightening or darkening of the skin
- Change in skin texture
- Incomplete removal of hair
- Regrowth of hair
The most common complication of laser hair removal is regrowth of the unwanted hair, which can often be relieved through additional treatment sessions.