Dr. Melanie Carreon | Overview of Laser Hair Removal

Provided by: Dr. Melanie Carreon, Laser Cosmetic Solutions

Laser hair removal is a relatively new means that some people say as comfortable or pain-free hair removal. It is not for everyone and certainly should be performed by a trained technician, having said that, it is becoming increasingly popular.

Consumers who are contemplating laser hair removal need to research, if, and where to have laser hair removal performed. The existing technology is constantly being outmoded, and some are more suitable procedures for individuals than others. So, let’s explore some of the FAQ’s on laser hair removal.

As a guide to who is suitable for this procedure, one of the main determining factors is coloring. The hair must always be darker than the person’s skin color surrounding the area to be treated. Skin with darker pigmentation can absorb too much of the laser energy and so are not ideal candidates for most laser hair removal. If your hairs are light and the surrounding skin is tanned you will not be a candidate for normal sessions either. There are specialty lasers for this type of skin coloring, so check your provider for availability. If your skin is tanned and you have dark hairs, you may well have to wait until the tan fades before you could proceed. Light skin makes the hair easier to remove, requires fewer treatments and faster results are required. Laser hair removal can be performed on darker skin but requires more sessions, greater expertise and has slower results. Dark, coarse hair responds best to the procedure as the hair absorbs more energy. Laser hair removal must be individually tailored to each patient.

Of course, for most of us, the greatest determining factor is going to be cost. Laser hair removal would not be considered cheap for the average wage maker. However, if you work in an industry where you need a lot of personal grooming the cost may well be worth the time-saving benefits from laser hair removal. Needless to say, if you have trouble with unwanted or abnormal hair growth eg beard growth on women, laser hair removal is a life-changing experience. Also, you are paying for work from a highly trained technician, so you would expect the price to reflect that. In general, the cost per session for laser hair removal is in the region of $59-$500 per session, most people would need 4 treatment sessions. One laser session can produce long term removal, however, the hairs need to be caught in a particular phase, to ensure permanent removal, additional treatments are needed to catch all hairs going through that phase. Larger area’s eg. full legs or back would be more expensive and smaller areas eg. upper lip may be lower. Any area can be treated with the exception of the eye area. Each laser hair removal center will have different prices so it will pay to contact a few and compare price and service.

The most commonly requested area’s for laser removal are upper lip, face, chest, neck, underarms, back, abdomen, bikini line, legs and periareolar. Shaving, waxing, plucking and depilatory creams all provide temporary removal of hairs whereas laser hair removal gives permanent hair reduction. Just how effective this depends again on the individual, the amount of treatment and the equipment used. It is impossible to predict exact results for an individual. Consumers are encouraged to choose their laser hair removal clinic by the highest quality service rather than lowest cost. Requirements of qualifications do vary in each state. In California, laser hair removal can only be performed by a Doctor, a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner. Experience is crucial in the evaluation of the individual candidate and the best results are found from the most experienced laser hair removal clinics. Pigmentary color changes may occur, either lighter or darker skin in the treated area, this change may persist for months but is always temporary. This is very rare with fair skin and some blistering or burns may occur, in darker skin, on rare occasions.

There are specialized clinics available for African/American patients. Generally speaking, people with fair or red hair or heavily tanned people would not be suitable for laser hair removal. Of course, anyone who could not afford more than one session isn’t either, as one session of laser hair removal is never adequate for permanent hair reduction. Generally, a yearly follow up session would be required.