Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a non-invasive procedure that uses laser energy or broadband light to heat the hair follicles and inhibit hair growth. Hair reduction can be achieved on any body part.
Whether it be under arms, legs, face, back or bikini area, repeated shaving to keep the skin smooth can irritate the skin or can just be a daily time consuming activity. This leads individuals to seek alternatives to shaving and laser hair removal is a great option.
Laser hair removal will give you results of hair that is less coarse, fewer in number, and lighter in color. However, it should be noted that multiple treatments are required to obtain excellent results, and this is true for any laser/light source that is used for hair reduction.
Tricky question. The term “permanent” when it comes to laser hair removal is defined by the FDA and is related to the length of the hair growth cycle and a particular body area. Maintenance treatments are usually required, although these are less frequent than the initial series of treatments. The majority of individuals undergoing laser hair removal are extremely happy with the results.
The best choice of laser or light source will be dependent on your individual skin type, but the following list will help guide you in your decision:
- Broadband Light (BBL): this is what I currently use in my practice. Forever Bare BBL (www.foreverbarebbl.com) is a safe, comfortable, effective treatment. It is best used in skin types I-IV.
- Alexandrite Laser: Effective. Skin types I-III.
- Nd:YAG: Effective for hair removal in skin types I-VI. Safest laser for hair reduction in darker skin types V-VI.
- Diode lasers: Effective for hair removal in skin types 1-3. However, has higher rate of side effects and complications.
Laser hair removal can be a safe, effective treatment for reduction of unwanted hair. However, the decision of what laser or light source to use for an individual patient can be a bit tricky. Therefore I would stress that an individual seeking laser hair removal consult with a plastic surgeon or dermatologist trained in laser and light sources.
Potential complications may include:
- Ineffective hair reduction
- Pigmentation changes in skin (particularly with darker skin types)
- Damage to skin (which can include superficial burns)
Risks of having complications are much higher in individuals who have recently tanned, which includes sun exposure, tanning bed or even spray tans. It is extremely important to discuss this with your physician prior to beginning treatments to avoid any unnecessary risks.
Hair reduction can be achieved in individuals of all skin types but choice of laser or light source is critical to ensure safety. Individuals with darker skin types will require specific lasers and settings that are less aggressive. While this is safe, additional treatments may be needed in these individuals to achieve the desired results.
You can expect to see reduction in the numbers of hairs. You may also see that the new hair growth is thinner and lighter in color that what was originally present. Again, it should be stressed that multiple treatments are needed and strict adherence to the treatment intervals (4-8 weeks depending on body area) is critical to achieve desired results.
*Individual results may vary
After a consultation to determine your goals with treatment, Dr. Walker will perform a history and physical exam to ensure that you are a good candidate for laser hair removal and identify any factors that could lead to an undesirable result or put you at risk for complications.
If you are deemed a good candidate, the procedure consists of a series of laser treatments (spread out over months) that will help you achieve hair reduction in your desired location.
Each individual treatment is short, ranging from 15-30 minutes or more depending on size of area being treated. While you may experience mild discomfort, the treatment should not be painful.
Following the procedure, you may resume your normal activity immediately. There is no downtime.
Safety is my main concern with hair reduction. I have had the opportunity to work with multiple different lasers for hair reduction. There is no single laser that is best for all skin types. Therefore, the key to safe treatments begins with a thorough evaluatio