Laser hair reduction – Light-based hair removal
There are many ways to get rid of unwanted hair, but none are as effective and long-lasting as laser hair removal. While it was initially only effective on light-skinned people with dark hair, today it can be used on almost anyone and on any area of the face or body. The treatments are quick and relatively painless, and patient reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
Because hair grows in cycles, it may take many (often at least three to eight per area) sessions to achieve the desired results. The laser light damages growing hair follicles, inhibiting future growth, and should not damage the overlying skin with the appropriate technique.
Who Is a Candidate for Laser Hair Removal?
- A person who has unwanted body or facial hair
- A person who is looking for a long-term solution other than waxing, shaving, and electrolysis
- For best results, a person with light skin and dark hair
- Note: red, blonde or white hair often do not respond
Who Is Not a Candidate for Laser Hair Removal?
- People with skin disorders or are taking certain medications that make the skin sensitive to laser-based therapies
- People who are currently tanned or with recent sun exposure (previous 2 weeks)
- People who have pacemakers or metal screws in the area of treatment
- Women who are pregnant
Intended Results of Laser Hair Removal
- Laser hair removal results in permanent hair reduction on the face and body.
- While dark, course hair on light skin is ideal, other skin types and hair colors can also be treated, although they may require more sessions.
- To achieve long-term removal of the hair, most patients will need to be treated multiple times for each area and have periodic maintenance afterwards
- Most patients require three to eight sequential sessions with a maintenance treatment yearly
Procedure Description for Laser Hair Removal
- Protective eyewear will be worn by everyone in the room.
- Before the procedure begins, hair in the treatment area must be be shaved.
- If you are extremely sensitive to pain, numbing cream and or oral pain medications can be given to make the treatment tolerable.
- A cool gel will be applied to the area of treatment.
- The laser energy will be focused on the area of hair removal with a hand-held laser, causing slight discomfort for a few seconds.
- If you experience any minor discomfort, swelling, or redness after treatment, you may be given ice packs or creams to soothe the area.
- Because several sessions will be required for ideal results, additional sessions will be scheduled every 1-2 months.
Healing and Recovery for Laser Hair Removal
- You will be given instructions related to activities and sun exposure immediately following your treatment. They are minimal in may include avoiding activities that may cause irritation.
- If you feel mild discomfort from the laser hair removal procedure, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers
- If you are red or swollen from the laser hair removal procedure, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter antihistamines
The specific risks and the suitability of this procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are rare.
Are you considering a Laser Hair Removal? Visit our Find a Surgeon Directory to find a highly-qualified cosmetic surgeon near you.
Reviewed by Jason Emer, MD, FAAD, FAACS, who specializes in cosmetic dermatology and body contouring in West Hollywood, California.