Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal for unwanted hair has become one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in the United States, ranked second behind wrinkle-relaxing injections in frequency of procedures performed. Laser hair removal utilizes beams of highly concentrated light designed to selectively penetrate into the hair follicles, to be absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicles and to destroy the hair within that hair follicle. A variety of lasers and light sources have been developed that may be employed in laser hair removal. The procedure was originally described to be performed on dark hairs on light skin; newer technologies have made the procedure safer for patients with darker skin and those of color.
How to prepare for the procedure
Before the procedure, a doctor will usually review the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. This is the time for the doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the procedure. Patients also should:
Avoid sunbathing, tanning beds, waxing, chemical peels or collagen injections for two weeks prior to the procedure.
Avoid perfumes, deodorants or any potential irritants in the treatment area before and after treatment.
Avoid aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements due to increased risk of bleeding.
What to expect after the procedure
Following treatment, patients should expect:
Redness and swelling of the hair follicle, which is a normal occurrence.
Pain and discomfort, which can be easily treated with over-the-counter pain medicines.
To be given a prescription for a topical antiseptic cream to be applied after treatment.
To avoid direct sun exposure for at least one week following all laser hair removal procedures.