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Laser hair removal: benefits and side effects

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Consider Laser hair removal if you seek a more long-lasting way to eliminate undesirable body hair. Laser hair removal promises a considerable decrease in unwanted hair, mainly when performed by a qualified expert using a suitable laser for your skin type. It is a safe and effective alternative to traditional hair removal techniques like shaving and waxing. Other hair removal techniques will probably not be essential after treatments, and maintenance may not even be necessary.

Laser hair removal has dangers and adverse effects. These may include minor erythema, oedema, and more uncommon ones such as skin darkening or lightening, herpes simplex, blistering, and scarring. It’s crucial to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages before scheduling your first visit. Continue reading to learn more about what laser hair removal includes.

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Body hair removal with laser technology is non-invasive, safe, and efficient. Dr Tracy Evans, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and medical director of Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology in San Francisco, describes how laser hair removal works: “Laser hair removal uses light energy at specific wavelengths to hit pigmented hair follicles and causes termination of those cells.” “This reduces the amount of hair in the particular area that has been treated.”

According to Jaimie DeRosa, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon and the founder and chief plastic surgeon of the DeRosa Center Plastic Surgery & Med Spa in Boston and Palm Beach, Florida, laser hair removal essentially destroys the hair follicle, which stops future hair development. Most body regions may be treated with laser hair removal, which usually takes numerous sessions to see noticeable hair reduction.

The purpose of laser hair removal is what?

People often use laser hair removal to permanently slow the development of undesirable hairs more quickly and conveniently. According to Kunal Malik, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Spring Street Dermatology in New York, “Lasers can be used by dermatologists to safely remove unwanted facial and body hair without the daily need for shaving, tweezing, threading, waxing, etc.”

Dr Malik said laser hair removal might drastically decrease hair in around six sessions. It produces long-lasting effects and removes the need for routine body hair removal.

Laser hair removal benefits

  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that the average cost of laser hair removal is $389. However, it offers several advantages that may convince some individuals that the price is worthwhile. According to Dr. Malik and Dr. Evans, these include the following.
  • It is a more durable way to get rid of body hair. Despite not being permanent, laser hair removal nevertheless has long-lasting benefits. It lessens the amount of unwelcome hair in the targeted location, and when it does grow back, it does so more slowly and with finer, lighter hair.
  • It needs less maintenance than other solutions. Body hair removal methods like shaving need daily care, whereas threading and waxing provide lasting results for around four weeks. In contrast, laser hair removal typically requires four to six treatments, followed by periodic maintenance.
  • It may also assist with other skin problems. “Laser hair removal also reduces ingrown hairs and can help prevent inflamed bumps and itching,” claims Dr Malik. You also don’t have to worry about getting the nicks, cuts, and razor burn that comes with shaving since it utilizes light to remove hair.
  • Nothing needs to be stopped. While the skin may seem somewhat reddened and puffy following a laser hair removal procedure, you may resume your normal activities immediately. Since it’s non-invasive, there’s no downtime to worry about. The only thing you cannot do is directly utilize a tanning bed or sunlight or walk outside in the sun.
  • Over time, it can result in financial savings. Although the initial cost of laser hair removal is more than, for example, the cost of buying a razor and shaving cream, it eventually pays for itself. Once you pay the first charge, you shouldn’t spend much more, as frequent maintenance associated with shaving and waxing is unnecessary since laser hair removal significantly eliminates unwanted hair.
  • It may lower the risk of several skin conditions. Dr Evans claims that one advantage of laser hair removal is that it might lessen your risk of contracting illnesses like folliculitis, a skin ailment when the hair follicles get irritated. This was also discovered in 2019 research that examined hair removal’s more unusual applications.

Folliculitis barbie, which causes an itchy, sometimes sensitive swelling and infection surrounding hair follicles that are vulnerable to shaving, such as the beard line in males, is treatable, according to Dr. DeRosa.

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Side Effects and Risks of Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal has a lot of advantages, but it also has several dangers and adverse effects. Dr Malik advises researching before deciding on a facility to get the therapy to prevent possible unpleasant side effects. Since not all lasers are suitable for laser hair removal, it is crucial to consult with a professional who thoroughly understands the skin and which lasers are ideal for different skin types, the expert advises.

After therapy, mild soreness in the treated region is among the most frequent adverse effects. Dr. Malik said this may involve swelling, redness, and blistering. He claims they are minor side effects that go away in one to three days.

There are some more severe potential adverse effects, although according to Dr. Malik, they are uncommon when administered by a skilled board-certified dermatologist. “These include pigment changes (skin darkening or lightening), cold sore outbreaks, blistering, scarring, or infections,” he adds.

If the hair is very white or blonde and the laser cannot identify the hair, there may be less noticeable hair removal or none. For the laser to treat pigmented hairs preferentially, Dr. Evans notes that the strands must be dark against a bright backdrop. Instances of hair regrowth may be less successful for those receiving therapy for hormone imbalances, necessitating more treatment or maintenance sessions than usual.

People with darker skin tones are more susceptible to more severe side effects. “These patients need to be careful and only get treatment from a provider who has a lot of experience, preferably a dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office,” advises Dr Evans. “People with darker skin tones are more susceptible to injuries from laser hair removal devices, such as burns and permanent damage.”

There is a slight chance that laser hair removal will have the reverse effect and promote hair growth. According to Dr. DeRosa, this occurs most often following facial hair laser treatments in women with Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian ancestry.

It’s important to note that some individuals may not see significant hair loss after their first session. According to Dr. Evans, it’s critical to understand that it typically requires five to 10 sessions.

What to Do in Advance of Laser Hair Removal

There isn’t much preparation for laser hair removal, but you should do a few things before your procedure.

Pick a trustworthy facility or physician to provide the treatments. Dr. DeRosa advises asking a lot of questions when looking for a reputable provider, such as what device will be used, whether a test spot will be performed (which is crucial for people with darker skin types), what the pre-and post-treatment restrictions are, and the level of training required for technicians performing the treatment. The more information you have in advance, the more likely your experience will be excellent and trouble-free.

Before receiving laser hair removal, stay out of the sun. Drs. Malik, DeRosa, and Evans emphasize how crucial it is to keep out of the sun before having laser hair removal done. Dr. Evans underscores the need to avoid sunlight for two weeks before and after laser therapy, including laser hair removal, since “any laser can burn you.” Consider laser hair removal in a different season if you spend much time outdoors in the summer.

The use of sunless banners should be avoided. Additionally, Dr. Malik advises applying SPF 30+ every day before your consultation. In addition to the risk of burns, tanning (either in the sun or with self-tanner) might reduce the effectiveness of the therapy. According to Dr. DeRosa, it is best to prevent hyperpigmentation by keeping the cells that might darken the skin (melanocytes) dormant and less likely to be triggered by the laser.

Twenty-four hours before treatment, shave the region. The laser can work even without hair present, although all the contributing experts believe that shaving just before is a good idea. According to Dr. DeRosa, the laser beam is more likely to strike the hair follicle than simply the hairs themselves when they are short.

Avoid maintaining your hair removal system on your own in between sessions. Even if you see hairs returning, restrain the impulse to remove them. Dr. Malik continues, “I particularly stress that you shouldn’t wax or tweeze the region before or between treatments. This is due to the laser’s focus on the pigment in the hair follicle, which is necessary for a successful treatment.

Treatments for Laser Hair Removal: What to Expect

According to Dr. Malik, the region you’re targeting will be cleansed before you come for your appointment, and you may choose to have numbing gel administered up to 30 minutes before the treatment.

According to Dr. Malik, when the region is prepared, the skin is kept tight while treated with a laser. He says, “Many patients describe the sensation as warm pinpricks or the snapping of a rubber band.” Dr. Evans points out that specific lasers used today may be almost painless. If the correct lasers are used on your skin, they may not cause any discomfort, she claims. You must choose a clinic that can provide you with the appropriate laser for your specific skin type after a thorough consultation and examination of your skin type.

The region’s size will affect how long each treatment lasts. Dr. Malik explains that although the whole back may take up to an hour, the upper lip will take a few minutes.

There will probably be multiple follow-up treatments. According to Dr. Evans, it should take between five and ten treatments, spaced out by around five weeks, for hair to complete one hair development cycle. Dr. Malik adds that you could discover you require a yearly touch-up procedure even after your treatments.

Laser hair removal may be an excellent alternative for those who wish to decrease unwanted body hair and eliminate routine upkeep dramatically, even if it can be expensive initially.

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