Laser Hair Removal

Men and women alike are plagued by coarse, dark, and unwanted excess facial and body hair that seems to grow back faster than it can be removed. Plucking, shaving, waxing, chemical depilatories, and electrolysis can be painful and messy. Except for electrolysis, all are only temporary. Now there’s an effective long-term solution – laser hair removal. After completing a series of laser hair removal treatments you will have much less hair in the treatment site.

We use the Lumenis LightSheer® Laser, which is one of the safest and most successful lasers for laser hair removal. The LightSheer® Laser has a patented sapphire “ChillTip” hand piece, which actively cools the skin before, during, and after treatment to minimize patient discomfort.

How does it work?

Lasers made specifically for hair removal emit a near-infrared light that is specifically absorbed by melanin, the pigment in hair follicles. The laser is pulsed for a fraction of a second to emit the laser light. When the melanin in the hair follicle absorbs the laser light, the pigment is vaporized, thereby damaging the hair shaft and follicle without damaging surrounding skin. This damage eliminates or significantly impedes the hair’s ability for re-growth.

What is the treatment like?

Laser hair removal is a safe, effective, and long-term way to control excess unwanted hair on the face or body. Electrolysis, which is also effective for long-term hair removal, is a slow and painful treatment that requires numerous sessions. In comparison, the lasers used by our office provide significantly more comfort and reliability, and the average patient only needs three to six treatment sessions. We can treat large areas during a single visit, such as legs or the back. Additionally, there is only mild to moderate discomfort during laser hair removal treatments – much more comfortable than electrolysis. For larger treatment areas we use a topical anesthesia cream to reduce discomfort.

How many treatments will I need?

We recommend that all patients undergoing laser hair removal commit to between four and six treatments to achieve the best possible result. The number of treatments needed depends on your skin color, your hair color, the area you wish to have treated, your hair density, and your hair’s growth cycle. Other factors, such as age, ethnicity, weight, hormones, diet, medication, and metabolism all play a part in your hair’s thickness and resilience, therefore playing a part in determining how many treatments you will need.

What can I expect after a laser hair removal treatment?

Immediately after the procedure, the treated area will appear slightly swollen and red, and will feel like a mild sunburn. This reaction will usually subside within a couple hours, or may take one to two days depending on your skin type. Ice compresses and topical corticosteroid creams will help to alleviate these symptoms. We also recommend using sunscreen on any treated areas that are exposed to the sun, as the skin is more sensitive to the sun’s rays after treatment. Most patients return to their normal activities right away following laser hair removal treatment.

Are there any side effects?

There are rarely any permanent side effects associated with laser hair removal. Our office staff strives to reduce the risk of these side effects occurring by presenting each patient with a customized treatment plan that is tailored to your skin type and needs. Additionally, it is essential that you follow all pre and post-operative instructions carefully, especially staying out of the sun, to minimize the chances of any possible side effects. Some possible side effects of laser hair removal include:

  • Hypopigmentation (skin lightening). This condition is very rare following laser hair removal treatment.
  • Hyperpigmentation (skin darkening). This side effect is more common in patients with darker skin tones. Hyperpigmentation usually tends to gradually fade away, but may be permanent.
  • Scarring. There is a less than one percent chance of scarring after laser hair removal, which may appear as thickened or depressed areas in your skin.
  • Poor results. There is a small subset of patients that will either get no response to the laser, or who will respond but then have hair regrowth. Hormonal factors may play a role in this problem. Fortunately this only occurs in a small percentage of patients.

Am I a candidate for laser hair removal?

The two biggest factors in determining candidacy for laser hair removal are skin color and hair color. Patients with dark hair and light skin will benefit the most from laser hair removal, because their skin contains the least amount of melanin pigment, and the hair to be treated contains the most amount of melanin. This combination allows the laser light to be absorbed by the hair follicle to the highest extent, therefore producing the best results.

Other factors such as sun exposure and history of scarring also play a role in determining whether or not laser hair removal is right for you. It is important to discuss your health history with Dr. Enzer and his staff before the procedure to ensure an optimal outcome.

What areas can be treated with laser hair removal?

The standard areas on the face that can be treated are the upper lip, chin, between the eyebrows, and sideburn area. Standard areas on the body such as the underarms, bikini line, thighs, lower legs, and back can also be treated. Our staff can also put together a customized plan for non-standard treatment areas if there is an area not listed that you would like to have considered for treatment.

Still have questions? We are here to help. Please feel free to contact our office with any other questions or concerns that you may have about laser hair removal.