What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is a quick, safe treatment for removing unwanted hair with little downtime or discomfort. Laser hair removal can be performed on both men and women on just about any area of the face or body. Common treatment areas on the face include the chin, upper lip, neck and ears. The eyebrows, sideburns and beard can be treated as well. On the body, patients often opt for hair removal on the forearms, underarms, hands, chest, abdomen, back, bikini line, and legs. Laser hair removal is even effective in treating ingrown hairs.
Laser hair removal is far superior to traditional hair removal treatments like electrolysis which can be painful, inconvenient, time-consuming and can even result in scarring. The laser allows large surface areas to be treated in just a matter of minutes. During treatment, the laser light is applied to the skin and the pigment in the hair follicle absorbs the laser light. This destroys the hair follicle while sparing the surrounding skin.
Successful outcomes depend on a few variables. The most important has to do with which laser system is being used. Patients present with different skin types, some lighter some darker. There isn’t one laser that is effective for all skin types. The best laser for lighter skin types is the Alexandrite laser. The Diode laser is the next best option (i.e. LightSheer.) For darker skin, the long pulse YAG laser is the most effective as safe. Using IPL (intense pulse light, often found in spas), Diode, and Alexandrite lasers for darker skinned or tanned patients can result in serious complications such as a burn and scarring. This is why we have both laser systems so we can customize our treatments. We have found the Cynosure Apogee Elite to be the most advanced and effective laser hair removal system as it has both the Alexandrite and Long Pulsed YAG lasers in one system. This allows us to switch back and forth as needed based on the patients skin type and needs. The other equally important ingredient to a safe and successful laser hair removal outcome has to do with where and who is performing the treatment. Dr. Rubinstein has the most skilled, highly trained, and experienced estheticians and nurses performing the procedure under his supervision. Be wary of “medical spas” that offer rock bottom pricing often with old poorly maintained lasers being performed by poorly trained inexperienced technicians in an unsupervised environment.
Laser Hair Removal – The Procedure
Laser hair removal is performed in the office setting on an outpatient basis. During treatment, the laser device is passed over the treatment area. Patients typically experience a sensation similar to a warm rubber band being snapped against the skin. After treatment, a cooling gel may be applied to the skin.
Several treatments are needed in order to permanently remove hair in any given area. This is because the laser targets hairs that are in the active phase of growth and only 25% of hairs are in this phase at any given time. On average, four sessions are sufficient and these are performed at one-month intervals.
After Treatment: What to Expect
There is little recovery or downtime associated with laser hair removal. Patients may experience some minor redness or swelling but these side effects typically resolve quickly. In most cases, work and other normal activities can be resumed right after treatment.
Laser hair removal is a very safe procedure, but there are potential complications. These may include blisters or pigmentation changes.