Laser Hair Removal

How does laser hair removal work?

The FDA-approved laser system targets pigment granules (melanin) in the hair, in an effort to destroy the hair follicle.  The laser energy is absorbed by the pigmented hair shaft and transferred to the surrounding hair follicle.  The heat absorbed will create follicular damage and retard or prevent future hair production by that follicle.

How successful is the process of laser hair removal?

Patients will achieve varying degrees of success.  The application of the laser energy to the skin results in almost complete removal of all of the actively dark-colored hairs.  The average amount of hair reduction, per treatment, is around 20-30%.  Part of the difficulty in erradicating unwanted hair lies in the fact that the follicle has tremendous regenerative capabilities.  A two (2) year study was performed, following patients from the point of completion of treatment and hair regowth was not noted.

How many treatments will I need?

Because of the hair growth cycles, which are divided into three (3) phases, more than one (1) treatment is required.  A fair-skinned, dark-haired person is the ideal candidate.  However, dark-skinned patients may be treated.  The average number of treatments is between 4-6, spaced 5-8 weeks apart.  When a patient notices hair regrowth, it is time for the next treatment.

How is the laser treatment performed?

Prior to treatment the hairs will be shaved, so the superficial hair does not absorb the  laser energy. If a sensitive area is being treated, such as bikini, a topical anesthetic cream is applied.  This will promote a more comfortable treatment.  Treatment times vary from a few minutes for areas such as upper lip and chin, to an over an hour for lower legs, back or chest.

Are there special instructions prior to treatment?

Avoid the use of depilatory creams, bleaching creams, waxing, electrolysis and plucking for four (4) weeks prior to treatment.  During that time, shaving or trimming with scissors is allowed.  Also, the use of self-tanning products is discouraged during this time.  It is desirable that the skin be as light as possible.


What will the area look like after treatment?

The application of laser energy to the skin reults in a pink color that will last rarely beyond 24 hours. Mild dryness or flaking of the skin may be noted, several days afterward.  Aloe or a gentle moisturiser may be applied.

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