Laser hair removal is a procedure that damages hair follicles in a way that prevents future hair growth by using highly concentrated light. Usually, a laser hair removal patient will need to undergo the procedure several times to achieve the desired look. This is because at any given time, a certain percentage of hairs are in the resting phase, rather than a growth phase. A laser will not be effective hair, follicles that are in the resting stage, which is why, an average of five treatments are necessary in each area to achieve the desired results.
Patients seek laser hair removal to eliminate unwanted hair. Areas that are often treated include:
- The upper lip
- Bikini line
Why Choose Laser Hair Removal
An ideal candidate for a laser hair removal procedure is someone who has light skin and dark hair. If the skin and hair color are too similar, some lasers may be ineffective, as they rely on the difference in pigmentation between hair and skin. Hair color and skin type influence the success of laser hair removal. Also the results of laser hair removal vary greatly from person to person, and might depend on what area of the body or face is treated.
Multiple treatments can prolong the duration of hair loss — up to years in some cases — but hair regrowth is still possible. For best results, the patient might need four to six treatments. Additional periodic maintenance treatments every six to 12 months may be needed as well.
Understanding the Laser Hair Removal Procedure
During laser hair removal, the doctor will press a laser device against the patient's skin. A cooling device on the tip of the device may also be used to protect the treated area.
When the doctor turns on the laser, the beam will pass through the patient's skin to the hair follicles where hair growth begins. The intense heat from the laser beam damages the hair follicles, which inhibits hair growth. Some discomfort in the skin is possible, and the patient may feel a cold sensation from the cooling device. Treating a small area may only take a few minutes. Treating a larger area might take several hours.
The pain associated with laser hair removal is often compared to a rubber band being snapped against the skin. How much this hurts will depend on the patient's pain tolerance.
When the procedure is finished, the patient might notice swelling for the first few hours which is normal. Ice is recommended along with the possible application of a steroid cream.
It is important for the patient to avoid sun exposure after the procedure and to apply copious amounts of sunscreen to the skin. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the national average cost of laser hair removal is $289.
Risks of Laser Hair Removal
- Swelling of hair follicles
- Changes in skin pigment
- Redness of the skin
- Blistering, crusting or change of skin texture
- Greying of treated hair
- Excessive hair growth in certain areas
These risks and others should be fully discussed prior to the procedure. It is important that the patient and the medical provider address all questions and concerns prior to the surgery. During the initial consultation, patients should discuss their goals, medical conditions, medications and previous surgeries.
When choosing a doctor to perform the laser hair removal procedure, the patient should only choose someone who is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. These surgeons are considered to have met the following standards:
- Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
- Completed at least six years of surgical training following medical school with a minimum of three years of plastic surgery residency training
- Passed comprehensive oral and written exams
- Graduated from an accredited medical school
- Completed continuing medical education, including patient safety each year
- Performed surgery in accredited, state-licensed facilities
Choosing a qualified surgeon will go a long way to ensuring that the procedure is done correctly and safely.
Malpractice from Laser Hair Removal
While laser hair removal is a relatively common procedure, serious errors sometimes occur during this procedure. If you or your loved one was injured during a cosmetic procedure, call our offices for a free consultation.