The prospect of hair removal has been pretty popular recently. Most hair removal is done via use of laser systems and requires multiple treatments to decrease the density of hair growth and the possibility of hair regrowth. Laser treatment is currently the best option for those wishes to have hair removal. The choice of a proper laser system is extremely important and essential to prevent adverse effects including post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

What is Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal is the use of laser energy to heat up the pigment in the hair and cause hair follicle destruction.

Does Laser Hair Removal work for everyone?

The short answer to this question is yes, but successful hair removal without side effects depends on a couple factors. Laser hair removal is only effective for dark hair, not gray or white hair. Blond hair growth will not be affected with laser treatment. As stated above, the correct laser choice is essential. Quite simply, the primary laser of choice for light-colored skin is the long-pulsed alexandrite laser (e.g. Medlite), and a long-pulsed Nd:YAG (GentleYAG) laser for darker skin. Also, laser hair removal is best for thicker hairs and thinner “peach fuzz” hair is difficult to treat. In order to reduce side effects, laser hair removal is best for lighter skin patients as lasers sometimes have a harder time differentiating the darker hairs in darker skin patients. Intense Pulsed Light systems have also been routinely used, but their efficacy is not nearly as efficient as the alexandrite or Nd:YAG systems. Used judiciously and repetitively, dedicated hair removal laser systems can result in sufficient permanent hair reduction.

Preparation

In preparation for laser hair removal, the hair should be shaved with the grain 2-4 days prior to the treatment session. The hair should NOT be waxed, plucked, or treated with electrolysis prior to the treatment session. Topical anesthetic may be given to you by your physician for application prior to treatment.

In regards to other treatments for hair removal, topical Vaniqa® cream is a prescription compound that works to inhibit a critical enzyme in hair growth. Electrolysis has also been a proven method of hair removal that may lead to long-lasting effects. Waxing and other methods of hair removal are also used, but can not reliably lead to any degree of permanent hair reduction.


What are the possible side effects?

Laser energy is heat energy, so the most common side effects of laser hair removal include:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Blistering
  • Scarring
  • Discoloration (light or dark or both)
  • Treatment failure
  • Increased hair growth (subjectively reported and rarely seen)

How many hair removal treatments will I need?

Most people will need 6-8 treatments per area, but some people may need up to 12 treatments per area.


Consult a dermatologist prior to the induction of any laser hair removal treatment regimen.

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