Laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is a cosmetic cum medical procedure that is performed by a laser, which is a pulsating, intense beam of light, to remove the unwanted hair growth. During the procedure of laser hair removal, a laser beam passes through the skin into every hair follicle. This intense beam of light produces immense heat that destroys the hair follicle. This procedure prevents hair growth in the future. The technique of laser hair removal is very effective in people having dark hair and light skin. This procedure of hair removal does not stop the hair growth permanently but only slows it down very effectively. It takes multiple lasers hair removal sessions to reach an extended complete hair-free state. Even at this stage, periodic sessions of treatment may be required. Laser hair removal procedure is a non-invasive technique to get rid of unwanted hair growth.


Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure performed to remove or reduce hair growth. Some of the common areas of the body, from where the hair removal can be done using this procedure are as mentioned below.

  • Armpits
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Upper lips
  • Chin
  • Bikini line
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Neck

Laser hair removal is used to treat or remove hair from almost any area on the body apart from the eyelids and its surroundings.

The color of the skin and the color of the hair present in the area is of great importance, as these influence the hair removal procedure. The technique of laser hair removal is very effective in people having dark hair and light skin as the laser beam targets the melanin pigment in the hair. Nowadays, with the advancement in the technologies, it is possible to perform a laser hair removal procedure for the people with dark skins as well. 

The laser hair removal technique is not really effective in people with grey, white, blonde or red colored hair.

The people who have a problem in shaving or waxing, usually opt for laser hair removal treatment. In addition, the people who have sensitive skin for waxing go for this treatment.

Laser hair removal procedure is a non-invasive technique to get rid of unwanted hair growth. This procedure of hair removal does not stop the hair growth permanently but only slows it down, very effectively. It takes multiple lasers hair removal sessions to reach an extended complete hair-free state. However, in some cases the hair are resistant to the laser and may grow back again after the procedure. The new hair which grow, after the laser treatment are very thin and light colored as compared to earlier normal hair.

Some side-effects of laser hair treatment include the following:

  • Irritation on the skin
  • Redness over the treated area
  • Swelling
  • Discomfort, temporarily
  • Skin discoloration
  • Blistering
  • Scarring
  • Crusting of the skin
  • Changes in the texture of the skin
  • Pigmented skin may be one of the side-effects as, after the laser treatment, wherein the skin turns lighter or darker, temporarily. The problem of skin lightening affects most to the people, who have dark colored skin.
  • There may be problems on the skin if the laser is not focused properly, on the area to be treated.
  • Laser hair removal is used to treat or remove hair from almost any area on the body apart from the eyelids and its surroundings. Laser hair removal around the eye may cause severe injuries to the eye.

 

The doctor will explain the laser hair removal procedure, including the risks involved and the benefits, to the patient in detail. Some preparations to be done are as mentioned

Before the procedure:

  • Medical history – The doctor will take a complete medical history of the patient and would ask the patient about all the conditions, allergies, any bleeding disorders, or surgeries if the patient had undergone in the past. Also, the doctor will ask about if the patient is taking any medications currently or has taken in the past.
  • The doctor would conduct a detailed physical examination, especially focusing on the area to be treated by the laser procedure. The doctor examines the patient very carefully for any concerning signs and symptoms.
  • Sometimes, the doctor may also take some pictures of the patient's skin area to be treated, from different angles, in order to either use it for discussion before the procedure, during or after the laser treatment as a reference. The doctor takes the before and after photos to compare the results from the procedure. The pictures, taken before the procedure also help in understanding the goals and preferences of the patient.
  • The doctor discusses the expectations of the patient from the laser procedure and informs the patient about the risks and the benefits of the procedure, for the specific case.
  • The patient is advised to inform the doctor if he/she is taking any blood thinning medications or any supplements. Accordingly, the doctor would decide if the medication is to be stopped or can be continued.
  • The patient is often advised not to go out in the Sun, as any skin tan on the area to be treated may increase the risk of complications. However, if the patient already has tanning due to the sun or the use of any cosmetic products over the area to be treated, then it is better to wait until the tanning disappears completely. Usually, the doctor advises the patients to stay away from direct sunlight at least 6 weeks before the laser hair removal treatment.
  • The patient is advised to quit smoking as it delays the healing process after the treatment.
  • The patient is asked not to apply any cosmetic products before the hair removal procedure.
  • The patient is advised to avoid waxing or plucking hair from the site to be treated, as such practices can interfere with the treatment process by disturbing the hair follicles. Shaving is allowed as it does not remove or disturb the hair shaft or hair follicle. Some studies recommend shaving before the laser procedure as it improves the efficacy and results.
  • The patient is given special goggles to wear during the laser treatment to protect the eyes from the pulsating, intense beam of light used.
  • The doctor may also apply a topical anesthetic to avoid any discomfort during the process of hair removal.

During the procedure:

  • The local anesthesia is given to the patient and is localized only to the patient’s body part to be treated.
  • The doctor then presses a hand-held instrument producing a laser beam to the skin of the patient.
  • Depending on the laser used, there is a cool gel or cooling device present at the tip of the laser instrument to protect the skin.
  • The doctor then turns the laser instrument on, and the intense laser beam passes through the skin of the patient into the hair follicle or the tiny sacs from where the follicle starts growing.
  • This laser beam produces immense heat, which destroys the hair follicle, which in turn, prevents it from growing.
  • During the treatment, the patient might feel some discomfort but the cooling device at the tip of the laser instrument relaxes the area to a great extent.
  • The length of the laser treatment procedure depends upon the area treated e.g. the back area (larger area) takes a few hours to complete and a smaller area like the upper lips take a few minutes to complete.

 

After the procedure:

  • The patient is allowed to go home the same day of the surgery if the vitals are normal.
  • The person can drive back home alone as this procedure does not have any side-effects of confusion or orientation.
  • The patient might observe some swelling and redness over the treated part for a few hours after the procedure but the swelling will eventually go away.
  • The doctor often advises applying ice or any cold pack over the treated area, if any discomfort is felt by the patient.
  • The doctor may also recommend some aloe Vera gels or lotions, or creams to relax the treated area.
  • The doctor may also prescribe some painkillers in case a patient feels pain after treatment.
  • If there is any skin reaction observed immediately after the laser procedure, then the doctor applies a steroid cream to the affected skin area.
  • The patient is always advised to stay away from sunlight. The patient must apply sunscreen lotion even after healing of the skin.
  • The doctor also explains about the hair shedding procedure in the initial few weeks after the laser procedure, as the patient should not mistake it with the hair re-growth process.
  • It is very important for the patient to choose an experienced doctor as any wrong treatment methods or practices can cause severe skin reactions.
  • The results of the laser hair removal procedure vary from one person to the other.
  • Multiple treatment sessions can prolong hair loss duration. At least 4 to 6 treatment sessions are necessary for effective and better results. These treatments are scheduled with a gap of a few weeks in each session.
  • To avoid any discomfort, the doctor suggests cool compresses to be applied over the treated area.
  • The person having undergone treatment a day before, is allowed to put makeup over the treated area the next day, if no complications or side effects are observed.
  • Initially for a few days until the healing is not complete after the hair removal procedure, the patient is recommended to gently wash the area with soap and water.

 

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