How is laser hair removal performed?
You will typically get laser hair removal in a surgeon’s office. Below outlines the general steps; however, these steps may vary depending on the type of treatment you and your aesthetic plastic surgeon choose.
- Before your laser hair removal treatment, your surgeon will place protective eye shields over your eyes to prevent injury to your corneas or retinas.
- Your surgeon will trim the hair undergoing treatment to a few millimeters above the skin surface.
- To protect the outer layers of your skin, your surgeon will use a cold gel or a special cooling device. This gel will also make the treatment more effective by facilitating laser light penetration through the skin.
- The most popular lasers for hair removal use a low-energy laser beam. The surgeon adjusts the settings to your skin color and the color, thickness, and location of the hair being removed.
- The surgeon will start with a test treatment by directing a test pulse light to the treatment area. A low-energy laser beam will pass through your skin and be absorbed by the active-growth hair follicles. Your surgeon will observe the area to ensure the settings are correct and to check for any adverse reactions to treatment.
- If the test proves successful, your surgeon then systematically moves the low-energy laser beam spot-by-spot to the areas to be treated, instantly and permanently disabling the active-growth hair follicles with each treatment. Follicles in the dormant phase are not affected by the treatment, which is why you typically need multiple treatments to remove most or all of the hair.
- When the procedure is completed, your surgeon may give you ice packs, cold water or anti-inflammatory creams or lotions to soothe the treated areas and diminish any discomfort.
You will need multiple sessions to achieve optimal results. Initially, you’ll likely need three to eight treatments, but you may need additional treatments at later dates, especially if you have endogenous hormone-secreting states or exogenous hormone use.
Most surgeons recommend treatment intervals of four to eight weeks, depending on:
- Your gender, age, hair type, and hair growth pattern
- The body region being treated
- The laser or light-based device selected
What are my laser hair removal options?
There are a number of devices for laser hair removal. The most successful options use a low-energy laser beam to disable the active growth hair follicles. The following variables affect laser or device hair removal:
- Skin color
- Hair color and thickness
- Area of the body treated
- Device type
- Wavelength and fluence used
- Spot size and pulse width
- Skin temperature and cooling
- Treatment timing
After evaluating your particular skin color and hair characteristics, your aesthetic plastic surgeon will choose the option that is best suited for your particular situation. Your surgeon may use one or a combination of the following devices, depending on your skin type, hair thickness and color, the size and location of the area being treated, and the treatment timing:
- Ruby laser
- Alexandrite laser
- Diode laser
- Nd:YAG laser
- Intense pulsed light devices
Alexandrite and pulsed light devices should not be used on darker skin types or tanned patients. Diode lasers and Nd:YAG lasers may be used for these skin types.