Laser hair removal has become one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in the United States, ranked second among cosmetic procedures behind neurotoxin 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.
The laser and light source will be set with parameters, which take into consideration your skin color, the hair color, the thickness of the hair, the location of the hair and the amount of energy needed for the treatment to be performed. Depending on the laser or light source used, both the patient and the technician will wear appropriate eye protection, to prevent the laser light from penetrating into the eyes, which in itself can be a significant danger. The area to be treated should be clean and dry. Again, depending on the laser or light source, either a cold gel or a special cooling device will be used to protect the outer layers of the skin. This also helps the laser light penetrate further into the skin. Many of these cooling devices are now part of the laser itself, and you will feel the cold when the laser is applied to the skin. The operator will then give a pulse of light to the treatment area and should then observe the area for several minutes to determine if the optimal parameters were used. They will also look to see that there are no adverse effects prior to continuing the procedure. When the procedure is finished, it is common for the area treated to have some redness and some accentuation of the hair follicles themselves. This is “normal,” and should disappear over the next 12-24 hours, in most cases. At the conclusion of the procedure, most will have ice applied to the area treated, and some may use some special aloe gels or anti-inflammatory creams, lotions, or water to relieve any discomfort to the area.
Most individuals will be scheduled for another treatment 4-6 weeks later and the procedure will be repeated until hair growth has been eliminated. At each successive laser hair removal procedure, less hair should be found in the treatment area. Treatments will be resumed at a point in the future when, and if, hair growth occurs again necessitating further therapy.
To schedule a complimentary consultation with Spokane/Tri Cities surgeon Dr. Lundeby, please send an email or call Shape Cosmetic Surgery & Med Spa, PLLC at 509-458-SKIN