By Dr. Sandesh Gupta, Dermatology
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a laser – an intense, pulsating beam of light, to remove unwanted hair.
During laser hair removal, a laser beam passes through the skin to an individual hair follicle. The intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth. Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair.
Although laser hair removal effectively slows hair growth, it doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. It typically takes multiple laser hair removal treatments to provide an extended hair-free period. Periodic maintenance treatments might be needed as well.
Why it’s done-
Laser hair removal is used to reduce unwanted hair. Common treatment locations include legs, underarms, upper lip, chin and bikini line. However, it’s possible to treat unwanted hair in nearly any area – except the eyelid or surrounding area.
Laser hair removal isn’t generally effective for white, gray, red or blond hair because the laser can’t “see” the lighter hair. However, treatment options for lighter hair continue to be investigated.
Benefits of Laser Hair Removal-
Lasers are useful for removing unwanted hair from the face, leg, arm, underarm, bikini line, and other areas. Benefits include:
- Precision. Lasers can selectively target dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.
- Speed. Each pulse of the laser takes a fraction of a second and can treat many hairs at the same time. The laser can treat an area approximately the size of a quarter every second. Small areas such as the upper lip can be treated in less than a minute, and large areas, such as the back or legs, may take up to an hour.
- Predictability. Most patients have permanent hair loss after an average of three to seven sessions.
Things to consider when choosing a laser hair removal provider-
- The medical degree and experience level of the treatment provider.
- The number of years the company has been in business.
- The quality of the hair removal equipment (lasers).
- The ability to safely treat all skin colors.
Care After the Procedure-
- You might notice redness and swelling for the first few hours after laser hair removal.
- To reduce any discomfort, apply ice to the treated area. If you have a skin reaction immediately after laser hair removal, the doctor might apply a steroid cream to the affected area.
- After laser hair removal, avoid sun exposure, both natural sunlight and tanning beds. When your skin has healed, use sunscreen whenever you’re in the sun.
- You might also prepare yourself for possible hair shedding in the first few days and weeks after treatment. This can sometimes be mistaken for hair regrowth.