We remove hair from all body surfaces and areas over several sessions. Maintenance programs are available. Results are variable with individual patients.
Am I candidate for laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is not for everyone. The absolute requirement is that one’s hair must be darker than the surrounding skin. Additionally, very darkly pigmented people absorb too much laser energy in their skin and are not candidates for most lasers. These dark skinned patients require the use of highly specialized lasers which are only available at selected laser hair removal centers. Tanned patients with light hair are not candidates.
Influence of skin color on laser hair removal.
Light skin makes laser hair removal easier to perform. Fewer treatments are required, and better, faster results are obtained. People with darker skin can be treated, but results are slower, more sessions are required, and greater expertise is required on the part of the laser center. Laser hair removal must be individualized for each patient and according to specific and precise medical doctor assessment.
Influence of hair color on laser hair removal.
Dark hair absorbs more laser energy and is easier to treat. Coarse dark hair responds the best to laser treatment. Light hair is more difficult to treat. Blonde or red hair is very difficult to treat. Multiple treatment sessions are required, and results are variable. Blonde or red hair usually contains pheomelanin, which absorbs laser energy less avidly than the eumelanin pigment which is present in black or brown hair.
Laser hair removal requires multiple treatments.
Although one laser session can produce long-term hair removal, as a rule multiple treatment sessions are necessary to obtain results. In large part this is due to the fact that laser hair removal is most effective for hair which is in the anagen phase. Anagen is the growth phase of hair. Since hair grows in cycles, not all of the hairs are in anagen at any given time. Additional sessions are necessary to catch all of the hairs when they are in anagen.
What areas can be treated?
Any area, except adjacent to the eye, where there is excess hair. The most common areas requested are the face, upper lip, neck, chest, periareolar, underarms, back, abdomen, bikini line, and legs.
About permanent hair reduction by laser.
Waxing, shaving, and plucking all produce hair removal which is temporary. Several of the newer lasers have clearly documented that there is permanent hair reduction after each treatment. The FDA has approved several lasers for permanent hair reduction, and more results with additional lasers are pending. The results tend to be additive, i.e. more treatments lead to greater degrees of permanent hair reduction. For any given patient results cannot be precisely predicted. Results can be variable, even with the best lasers.
Pulsed light and laser hair removal.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) devices can produce effective hair removal. Although these devices are not lasers, they are “laser equivalents”, utilizing the same principle of selective photothermolysis to achieve hair removal. These devices are in practice more difficult to adjust than lasers and require great expertise for their proper use.
Tanning and laser hair removal.
Tanning and laser hair removal are not compatible. Tanning prior to the procedure will necessitate turning the laser power down, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the treatment.
Adverse treatment reactions.
Pigmentary change of the skin treated can occur, including either dark or light areas. Pigmentary changes may persist for months, but are almost always temporary. They are very rare in patients with fair skin who are untanned. Blisters and burns are rare but occasionally occur, particularly in patients with dark skin.
Diet and laser hair removal.
Diet is generally unrelated, except for Beta-Carotene, which interferes with the treatment.
Laser hair removal for people of darker complexions.
The best results are obtained when the hair to be treated is considerably darker than the surrounding skin. Also coarse hair is easier to remove. Fine, light hair on darker skin is difficult to remove.
Who should not have laser hair removal.
Patients with a recently acquired dark tan. Blondes or redheads with any recent tan. Darkly complected with fine, light hair. Anyone who cannot afford multiple sessions (one treatment is rarely adequate).
How to assess a laser hair removal facility.
Research the qualifications of the Medical Director of the facility. Is he or she Board Certified in Dermatology? Is there more than one Board Certified Doctor on the staff? Are all personnel performing the procedure licensed physicians or Registered Nurses? Is the facility affiliated with an academic medical center? Is the atmosphere professional? Remember this is a medical procedure, and should be selected with the same care you give to selecting a surgeon.