Laser hair removal can be one of the most rewarding cosmetic treatments available. But when a good outcome is not achieved, your purse will be lighter and your razor will still be busy. With that in mind, below is a list of important factors in helping you choose a laser hair removal practitioner.
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How many laser hair removal procedures has the person (nurse, physician, technician) doing the treatments performed in the last year?
Many patients researching laser hair removal assume that it must be the same at every practice. In fact, we have often heard something to the effect of “doesn’t the laser do the work”? While the technology is important, what’s most important is the experience of the practitioner. Find a practitioner that has done the procedure many hundreds or thousands of times over a period of years and you’ll have a better chance of achieving a high percentage of permanent hair removal.
What kind of laser is being used for my laser hair removal?
The type of laser is important! Just like the experience of the practitioner matters, so does the type of technology. The most common types of lasers used for permanent hair removal are Diode, Alexandrite and Yag (Nd:Yg). It’s important to differentiate these from the brands. There are many brands of lasers but only a few types. These three are the most effective with the Alexandrite and Diode working very well on lighter to medium skin types and the Yag working well for African skin. Avoid IPL (which is not a laser) as it often falls short on overall % of hair removed.
How many laser hair removal treatments will be required?
The expectation in our practice is that the average patient will achieve between 75% – 95% permanent hair removal in 6-8 visits. Sometimes lighter skin types can go through less treatments and often darker skin types need more. This is primarily because darker skin has less contrast between the color of the hair and the color of the skin and this makes the process longer.
What percentage of hair can I be expected to lose?
This is a great question and in large part it depends on the type of hair to be removed. Dark, coarse hair is the best type of hair when it comes to laser hair removal because the concept behind the process is that laser light is absorbed by hair, which then generates enough heat to disable the hair follicle. With that in mind, we expect 75% – 95% permanent hair removal for coarse dark hair. Medium to fine hair is less and it depends on how dark the hair is. Finally, peach fuzz and blond/grey hair do not respond to laser hair removal.
How often will I be treated?
This choice depends on the recommendation of the practice and the budget of the patient. If the patient can afford it, we will see them once every 6 weeks. If not, we will spread treatments out as much as 8-10 weeks. The hair growth cycle is what determines whether a hair is in the follicle or in a resting phase and this cycle can vary from several weeks to several months for most body parts. We go with the average of 6-8 weeks in between treatments.
What is the percentage of treatments that have side effects?
This will vary from practice to practice. Even in a good practice, there are sometimes side effects. These usually involve blisters or very mild burns. If you see a blister developing or have extreme pain after a treatment, call your practitioner immediately for evaluation. In most cases, standard wound care will allow you to heal with no long term damage.
Author Bio: Kevin DiCerbo is the Director of Celibre Medical. He has been working side by side with Dr. Kaplan since 2004 and has managed the organization since its inception. He is a certified medical laser safety officer (CMLSO) and uses his knowledge of laser physics to help patients understand laser hair removal. He also oversees the day to day administrative activities at the two offices. He has a BS in Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from UCLA.
Note: All views expressed in this blog post are the personal opinions of the guest blogger. mySkin.com doesn’t favor any particular skincare brand or take advertising from any of them. Our scientific algorithm is entirely unbiased and based on your skin profile.