Unwanted hair is a universal cosmetic problem. Many traditional hair removal methods exist, including shaving, tweezing, waxing, bleaching and some chemical depilatories. Although these methods are effective, inexpensive and simple, but are unacceptable to many men and women, as none of them are permanent and it have to be done on daily or weekly basis. Furthermore these methods may be painful and may be complicated by folliculitis, hyperpigmentation and scarring. Only electrolysis can give you the permanent solution, but the method is very impractical for the treatment of large areas and needs highly qualified professional.
Recently several lasers and other light source have bee developed and approved that specifically target and destroy melanin in the hair follicles while avoiding damage to surrounding skin. These lasers are able to treat large areas in relatively short time with permanent removal.
Some lasers that have been used for laser hair removal:
- Normal mode ruby lasers (694 nm)
- Normal mode alexandrite lasers (755 nm)
- Pulsed diode laser (800 nm)
- Long pulsed Nd:YAG lasers (1064 nm)
- Intense pulsed light source (590–1200 nm)
- Q-switched Nd: YAG lasers
- Carbon suspension–Q-switched Nd: YAG laser
- Photodynamic therapy
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent ?
Effectiveness of laser hair removal is strongly related with hair color, skin color and laser device used. Research has shown that fair-skinned people with dark hair are most likely to obtain permanent hair removal in relatively few sessions of hair removal depending on the device used. However, people with blond grey or white hair are unlikely to obtain permanent hair removal because of low melanin in their hair follicles. While dark skinned type may not be treated completely because of the melanin interference. To overcome those difficulties chromophores are currently being tried which is absorbed selectively by hair follicles and provides temporary target for laser treatment. But, problem still may arise because chromophore may not penetrate into all depths of the hair follicles. Several treatment sessions may be required to obtain permanent result.
You should always discuss with your doctor if you have the following history:
- History of herpes simplex
- History of hypertrophic scarring or keloids
- Recent medications like accutane or any photosensitizing agents
- Any previous treatment that you have tried
- If you are treating hyperhidrosis (excessive abnormal hair) condition causing this should be identified like hormonal, familial, any drugs intake or tumors.
Preparation for your Laser Hair Removal
Things you should remember to obtain effective, permanent laser hair removal and to avoid complications
- Strict sun avoidance and used of broad spectrum sunscreen is advised at-least 5-6 weeks before laser, if you are planning to remove on sun exposed parts.
- You should not wax or pluck your hair at-least 6 weeks before treatment.
- If you skin is dark or suntan, bleaching cream may be used with doctor consultation 6-8 weeks prior to treatment to obtain effective result.
- Shaving and depilatory creams may be used 1-2 days before the treatment.
- If you have herpes, you may start prophylactic antiviral with doctor consultation.
- You may also start oral antibiotics if required, especially if laser treatment includes perianal and nasal areas.
Laser Hair Removal Treatment Day
You should be free of any makeup and cosmetics and the area to be treated should be clean. Before the procedure begins topical anesthetic cream are applied and covered with plastic wrap for around an hour or so, to make sure you won’t have any pain or discomfort. Your treatment time may depend on the size of the area to be treated.
After Treatment Care
- Ice packs may be applied to reduce pain and minimize swelling
- Although pain medications are not required, you may take if it’s hurting you.
- If you were on prophylactic course of antiviral or antibiotics it should be completed.
- If there is any epidermal injury, you doctor may advice topical antibiotics ointments twice daily.
- If redness or swelling persists your doctor may prescribe mild steroid cream
- You should strictly avoid scratching the area
- Strictly avoid sun and use sunscreen of atleast SPF 30
- Makeup may be applied the next day if you don’t have blisters or crusts.
- You make notice shedding of hair casts during first week after treatment, this is absolutely normal and not a sign of hair re-growth. The hair follicles damages during the treatment process continue shedding for a week.
Laser Hair Removal Side Effects
Swelling and redness is common in all individual and usually lasts a day or two.
- If you have history of herpes, herpes simplex outbreak may occur if you had not taken prophylactics already before treatment.
- Long term side effects like permanent scarring and skin change are rare.
- Temporary skin darkening or lightening may occur which will be back to normal gradually.
Laser hair removal is a million dollar business, so many online and offline services are available claiming for a permanent solution. Be warned not to follow any fake advertisements or testimonials and promise that give. Always go with a reputed and well experienced dermatologist or a cosmetic surgeon. It is your complexion; don’t ruin it for some cheap laser hair removal or fake services.