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Laser Hair Removal

Article-Laser Hair Removal

Procedure Description: Laser hair removal is appropriate for any area where there is excess hair, with the important exception of the eye area. Since the laser works on more than one follicle at a time, larger areas like the back, arms or legs are just as easily treatable as smaller areas like the upper lip or bikini line. However, because the hair is targeted on the basis of color, the hair must be darker than the underlying skin for the laser to be effective.

During the procedure, the area to be treated will be shaved clean and an anesthetic cream will be applied to minimize discomfort. During the procedure you’ll feel intense emissions of light on the skin as the laser is absorbed by the hair follicles. Each pulse of the laser lasts a fraction of a second and treats an area of approximately _ inch. Many lasers are equipped with cooling systems to decrease skin temperature, providing an additional mild anesthetic and preventing burns from the heat generated by the laser.

Length of Procedure: The treatment time can vary considerably depending on the size of the area treated, and the particular technique used. A small area such as the upper lip may take only five minutes, while a larger area like the back or legs may take up to one hour.

Recovery: Following the procedure, the area may be red or swollen, as if mildly sunburned. Your doctor may prescribe a topical cream to soothe the skin. Occasionally, the skin in the treated area becomes slightly crusty, but this reaction should fade within a few days. Although you can resume your normal activities, you should avoid exposing the treated area to the sun. Clean the area with mild soap and water and do not use any products that may irritate the skin (such as Retin-A or astringents). You’ll notice hair “growing” in the area within ten days of your treatment. This is actually the damaged hair falling out, rather than re-growth. You may shave these hairs if they bother you, but do not wax, tweeze, or bleach hairs between sessions.

Risks: Although laser treatment is generally safe and effective, possible side effects of the procedure include: darkening or lightening of the skin in the treated area, as well as blistering, burning, or crustiness of the skin. These side effects are almost always temporary.

Results: Since the laser affects only those hairs in the growing stage, and not all hairs will be in this stage at the same time, several treatments will most likely be needed to effectively remove all the hair from one area. Subsequent sessions will be scheduled at least a month apart, when you will probably begin to notice the regrowth of hairs that were previously in the resting stage.

If you have a dark complexion, you may notice a temporary lightening of the skin in the area. Although most patients are satisfied with the results of laser hair removal, it is impossible to predict the success of the treatment for each individual. The resiliency of hair follicles in different parts of the body and in different individuals can vary widely. Multiple treatments are usually needed and in some cases complete hair removal is never achieved. However, even in these cases, you should have fewer hairs in the treated area than you would have had if you had not had the procedure.

Estimated Cost: The national average of doctor fees for laser hair removal is approximately $413. These are physician fees only, and do not include related expenses.

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