Laser hair removal
How does laser hair removal work and which patients can be treated?
Hair removal lasers are a widely used and generally safe method of removing unwanted hair growth. They can cause a long lasting reduction in hair growth, however they are not a permanent treatment and repeat treatments are usually required.
- Laser hair removal is only effective for dark hairs and will not work for grey or blond hairs.
- When patients come to me for laser hair removal, it is generally for relatively small areas of treatment since it is much more cost efficient to attend high street laser clinic where large areas need to be treated over multiple session.
- Alternatives to hair removal lasers include electrolysis and topical eflornithine (Vaniqa) cream.
- If you are attending for laser hair removal it is essential that you do not have a tan and are not wearing makeup or anything else on the skin as this increases the risks of treatment. It is important that the hairs to be treated should be shaved close to the skin surface to reduce discomfort and risks during the procedure.
Indications for Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is primarily used to reduce unwanted hair growth on various areas of the body. Some common indications for laser hair removal include:
- Facial hair, such as upper lip, chin, and sideburns
- Bikini line and Brazilian area
- Arms and legs
- Chest and back
- Treatment of ingrown hairs and razor bumps
Types of Hair Removal Lasers
Various types of hair removal lasers are used, each with its specific strengths and target areas. The most common hair removal lasers include:
- Nd:YAG Lasers: Nd:YAG lasers have a long wavelength and are suitable for treating all skin types, including darker skin tones. They are often used for hair removal on larger body areas and for treating ingrown hairs.
- Alexandrite Lasers: Alexandrite lasers have a shorter wavelength, making them more effective for treating lighter skin tones. They offer rapid hair removal on large areas, such as the legs and back.
- Diode Lasers: Diode lasers have a longer wavelength, making them effective for treating a wider range of skin types, including darker skin tones. They are commonly used for hair removal on larger areas of the body, such as the back and legs.
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): While not a true laser, IPL devices emit a broad spectrum of light that targets melanin in hair follicles. IPL is often used for hair removal on various body areas and is suitable for treating a wide range of skin types.
I use the Cynosure Elite device which has both Nd:YAG and Alexandrite lasers enabling safe treatment of both lighter and darker skin types.
Benefits of Laser Hair Removal
- Laser hair removal provides long-term hair reduction by targeting the hair follicle, resulting in slower regrowth and thinner, finer hair.
- Lasers offer precise targeting of hair follicles, minimizing damage to surrounding tissue and reducing the risk of scarring or pigmentation changes.
- Laser hair removal treatments are relatively quick, with most sessions taking less than an hour to complete, depending on the size of the area being treated.
- Most patients can return to their normal activities soon after treatment, with only minor side effects, such as temporary redness or swelling.
Risks and Side Effects
- Pain or discomfort: Some patients may experience mild pain or discomfort during the treatment, which can be managed with cooling devices.
- Redness and swelling: Temporary redness and swelling may occur after treatment but typically resolves within a few days.
- Pigment changes: Laser hair removal may cause temporary or permanent changes in skin pigmentation, particularly in individuals with darker skin tones. Hypopigmentation (lightening) or hyperpigmentation (darkening) can occur in some cases.
- Burns or blisters: In rare cases, burns or blisters may occur.
- Incomplete hair removal: Some patients may require multiple treatment sessions for optimal hair reduction and may not fully respond to treatment.
Consent Form Laser Hair Removal