Laser Hair Removal
Hair removal has been a constant challenge and often a painful annoyance for women, and now a large number of men. Typically, hair is removed periodically by shaving, waxing, or plucking. As these are temporary measures, new hair will grow back over time, and will need to be removed again.
Laser hair removal provides a major advantage to physical hair removal. With laser, hair is permanently reduced, making shaving, waxing, or plucking easier, and lightening the overall amount of hair.
Is laser hair removal safe?
Laser hair removal has been commercially available since the early 1990s, and has had a very good safety record. For up to 3 days after the procedure, the skin can itch and swell, and less commonly, skin discoloration and acne can occur.
Is the procedure painful? Is anesthetic used?
Mild to moderate pain should be expected during the procedure. Numbing creams are often used as a local anaesthetic. For lasers that cover larger areas, however, the creams cannot be used. For most patients, it is a tolerable pain.
How many treatments are necessary?
The number of treatments that are required depends on a variety of factors such as hair color, the type of laser that is used, and the area to be treated. Most importantly, it depends upon the patient's goals in treatment.
What is a reasonable expectation of the treatment?
Patients can expect complete hair removal for several months, and permanent hair reduction in the area treated. Multiple treatments will increase efficacy, and will likely reduce the total number of hair.
What should I do in preparation for the treatment?
Avoid sun exposure as much as possible. Avoid waxing and plucking for 6 months prior to the treatment. Regular shaving or depilatory creams can still be used. About a day prior to procedure, the area should be shaved.
What should I expect after the procedure, and during recovery?
The skin around the treated area will become red and swell up immediately after the procedure. For those with darker skin, blistering and crusting can occur although this is relatively rare. After several days, hair may extrude out of the follicle.
How does the procedure work? How is hair reduced by lasers?
Lasers are beams of light. The light is absorbed by the melanin (pigment that produces color) in the hair, damaging the follicles enough to slow or stop growth of hair. This is why laser hair removal is most effective on those with lighter skin and dark hair as the laser can specifically target the color in the hair.
Why are multiple treatments required?
Human hairs alternate from being in a resting phase and an active growth phase. The lasers are only effective in treating the hairs that are actively growing. Thus, several treatments are required to hit all or most of the hairs.
What is the cost for laser hair removal?
The cost of the procedure varies widely depending on several factors. The performing clinic or doctor' reputation, and the local market price for the procedure dictates some of the cost. Other factors include the number of re-treatments required, as well as the type of laser used which will vary on your skin color and the skin color of your hair. As a rough estimate $1000 to $2000 for a series of treatments is typical.
What are some of the complications that can occur, and how common are they?
Assuming that the procedure is conducted by an experienced doctor, the risks are very low. Pain, minor swelling and redness post-procedure however, should be expected. When complications do occur, the most common of them are: Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, bacterial infection, and scarring.