Laser Hair Removal

According the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), laser hair removal is often used to get rid of the need to shave, wax, or pluck facial hair, or to remove any unwanted excess hair. Dermatologists use laser technology today to successfully remove hair permanently.

Usually, laser hair removal treatments comprise 6 sessions or more, and are considered “permanent.” However, facial hair can still return on a woman’s face because of hormonal imbalances or changes. Also, hair regrowth may appear on the legs after a couple years, although the new hair will be finer and weaker. The laser sessions are simply repeated if the hair reappears. Maintenance treatments also help keep the hair from returning.

The lasers used for hair removal can be used on most areas of the body. Many of today’s lasers are designed to treat large areas. Dermatologists can use the lasers to treat the back, bikini area, shoulders, neck, chest, and face, especially the chin or upper lip.

When you undergo laser hair removal, you will be treated in a room that is specially designed for this type of therapy. Everyone, during the procedure, must wear dark glasses, or protective eyewear.

During the procedure the practitioner holds the skin taut while it is being treated. Most patients report that the laser pulses make them feel like they are being pricked with a thin rubber band. The laser can remove the hair because the heat vaporizes the follicle.

In turn, the vaporization causes tiny plumes of smoke that emit a sulfur-like smell. How long the treatment session lasts will depend on the size of the treatment area. For example, if hair is removed from the upper lip, the treatment lasts a few minutes. However, if you wish to remove hair from the whole legs the treatment can last for over an hour.

Once you have undergone laser removal, you need to protect the treated skin from the sun. Doing so will reduce the likelihood of unwanted side effects. Therefore, you want to protect the treated skin from direct sunlight and avoid the use of a tanning bed. Follow your dermatologist’s post-care instructions. Usually, you will see some slight swelling and redness after a treatment. To reduce any discomfort, apply a cool compress to the area. Despite this mild side effect, you can still go on with your daily activities.

After hair removal, you can see treatment results immediately. The outcome, however, can vary, depending on the case. You have to factor in the thickness and color of the hair being removed, the area of treatment, and the type of laser used. Your skin color can also impact the results. After your first treatment, you should see a reduction in hair of about 10% to 25%.

To remove hair with a laser, it usually takes about 6 treatments. After finishing all the treatments, most patients will not see any hair on the treatment site for months, or even years. When the hair does regrow, it is not as noticeable and tends to be finer. To keep an area completely hair-free, maintenance treatments should be scheduled once or twice yearly.

Any redness or swelling that you experience after laser hair removal lasts from 1 to 3 days. If you have a dermatologist perform the hair removal or it is performed under his or her supervision, you normally will only note redness or swelling. Rare side effects may happen and include scarring, infections, cold sore outbreaks, blistering, or lightening or darkening of the skin.

To ensure that your treatment outcome is good, you should visit a practitioner who is well-skilled in laser hair removal and has in-depth knowledge about the subject. It is also crucial to follow after-care instructions as well as prepare for the treatment, as specified by the doctor.

Advances in laser hair removal have made this treatment available to people with various hair types and skin colors. In the past, laser hair removal could only be safely done for people with light skin and dark hair. Today, patients with light skin and light-colored hair or dark skin can schedule the treatments. However, dermatologists and laser care specialists still need to have special training to ensure good results. To understand more about the procedure, refer to the FAQs below to get your questions answered and to make a more informed decision.


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