What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal uses bursts of light to selectively destroy hair follicles while leaving surrounding skin un- harmed. Razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis) are both treated and prevented. Unfortunately, laser hair removal is considered cosmetic and not covered by health insurance.
How many treatments will I need?*
After each treatment, the hairs will fall out around 2 weeks. Approximately one-third of the hair follicles, whichwere actively growing, will have been destroyed in most patients. As treatments progress, the hairs will grow slower and finer. Since the hairs grow back at different rates depending on the body location, treatments will be scheduled in as little as 4 weeks apart or as great as 10 weeks apart. The treatment plan will be discussed in office since there is considerable variability. The number of treatments required for hair elimination also varies depending on location and density of hair. The average number of treatments may be 8-10, but some people find significant clearance after 4-6.
How long will the effects last?
In a study we published in the journal “Cosmetic Dermatology”, 5 treatments in the bikini area resulted in an average of 85% reduction of hair at six months follow-up. Data suggests that permanent hair reduction is likely in most patients. Hairs that are not destroyed become finer and lighter in color. This leads to further visible improvement in hair bearing areas and eliminates razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis). Approximately 5-10% of patients do not achieve lasting results with laser hair removal.
Does laser hair removal hurt?
We use a cooling gel and cold air anesthesia on each area during treatment. There is a stinging sensation with each pulse of the laser. A topical numbing cream may decrease discomfort from the procedure. Topicaine, a very effective anesthetic gel, may be purchased in our office. Apply a generous amount of Topicaine 30-minutes before your appointment and rub into the skin. Repeat this application 10 minutes before your treatment. In the bikini area or legs, plastic wrap may be used over the numbing cream to keep it in place and increase penetration into the skin. No more than a single 30 gram tube should be used in any given day to avoid the danger of lidocaine toxicity.
Am I a good candidate for laser treatment?
The best results are achieved in patients with dark hair and lighter skin. Blonde, gray, white and red hair does not respond to treatment. Fitzpatrick skin types I-III can safely be treated with our laser. Please refer to our website for pictorial descriptions of these skin types. If you have any tan (even from incidental sun exposure) in the treatment area, we cannot treat until the tan has faded (minimum of 30 days).
What are the risks?
Laser hair removal is extremely safe, with infrequent occurrence of side effects when performed by experienced practitioners on sun protected skin. Laser light cannot penetrate the skin and cannot harm internal organs, but goggles must be worn to protect the eyes. Patients with darker skin and those with a tan are at higher risk for skin darkening (hyperpigmentation) and lightening (hypopigmentation). These changes in color usually fade with time. Blistering or scarring occur only rarely. To minimize the possibility of these adverse events, it is important to follow pre and post procedure instructions.
Pre- LHR Treatment Instructions
- Avoid the sun for at least 6 weeks before and after your treatment. Do not use artificial tanners during theweek prior to laserhair removal.
- Avoid plucking, waxing and electrolysis for 3 weeks prior to treatment. These methods remove hair by theroots. If there are no hair roots to absorb the laser energy, the treatment will be less effective. Bleachingand chemical depilatories (Nair) should also be avoided for 2 weeks prior to treatment. Shaving or cuttinghair is permitted.
- Shave the area to be treated the day before your appointment. Longer hair will get in the way of the laserand cause increased discomfort.
- If you are having laser hair removal on the face, and you have a history of colds sores or blisters around themouth or lips (herpes infection), inform your doctor. You will need to take prescription antiviral medicationson the day of your treatment.
- A topical numbing cream may decrease discomfort from the procedure. Topicaine, a very effectiveanesthetic gel, may be purchased in our office. Apply a generous amount of Topicaine 30 minutesbefore your appointment and rub into the skin. Repeat this application 10 minutes prior to yourtreatment. No more than a single 30 gram tube should be used in any given day to avoid thedanger of lidocaine toxicity.
Post- LHR Treatment Instructions
- Redness and irritation may be present for hours or even a few days. Use a mild cleanser to gently wash the area (such as Cetaphil liquid cleanser). 1% hydrocortisone cream (over the counter) can be used to alleviate itching. If blistering, oozing or crusting occurs, apply Vaseline jelly and contact us.
- Makeup may be used if the treated area is red, but should be avoided if the area is uncomfortable or the skin is irritated.
- The treated area must be carefully protected from the sun for at least 6 weeks after treatment. Sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher (preferably containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide), as well as a hat or protective clothing is imperative. Sun exposure will increase the chance of discoloration.
- Schedule your treatments at regular intervals approximately 4 to 10 weeks apart for best results.
- Hair will remain in the follicles for about 2 weeks, then falls out. The area may be shaved during this period and between treatments as long as the treated area is not irritated.
Take the First Step – Request A Consultation
Please fill out the form on this page to request a consultation and one of our knowledgeable medical staff members at Krauss Dermatology will reach out to you promptly. You can also call our Wellesley, MA office directly to schedule – (781) 416-3500.
Krauss Dermatology serves the greater Boston area.
*Individual Results May Vary*