Information On Laser Hair Removal Procedure

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Laser Hair Removal Procedure

Hair growth is stunted by targeting the laser to hair follicles. The hair follicle absorbs the laser light beam and the light energy then converts to heat. The hair follicle is destroyed by the heat from the laser. Since the area affected by the laser beam is quite large, it results in quite a few follicles being affected simultaneously.

An automatic cooling system is used during the procedure to absorb some of the heat and save the skin surface. It also reduces any discomfort. Due to this cooling system only a mild stinging or burning sensation is felt during the procedure.

Read on for more details …

Laser Hair Removal Procedure

At the laser hair removal clinic it is important that the clinic prepares you and your skin correctly ready for the actual application of the laser. There is a general checklist of issues the laser clinic should follow when preparing you for the procedure. Things they should consider are:

  • Remove any anesthetic cream, cosmetics, or skin cream from the targeted area before laser irradiation.
  • Consider using anesthesia when required. Less sensitive areas such as the back, legs, and arms can sometimes be laser treated without anesthesia, but topical anesthesia is generally used on more sensitive areas. Regional anesthesia with lidocaine is used while treating the upper lip.
  • Apply a treatment grid to the targeted area to define the area to be treated to the operator. If such a grid cannot be defined, care should be taken to avoid double treatment and skipped areas. Visibility can also be improved by a polarized headlamp and a magnifying loupe.
  • Define individual treatment parameters for each patient. If required define test sites in the area to be treated.
  • Utilize largest spot size and the highest tolerable fluence to get the best out of laser treatment. These parameters change from patient to patient.
  • Apply a thick layer of cooled gel in the absence of any automatic cooling system.
  • Between patients, disinfection of the laser hand-piece that applied to the skin with an antiseptic is mandatory.

The Procedure

During the procedure a beam of highly concentrated light energy is produced. It is targeted to the melanin pigment located in the hair. It is exposed to the laser light energy for a fraction of a second. This exposure vaporizes the pigment. The superheated pigment effectively “cooks” the surrounding cells of the hair follicle. Several follicles at a time are affected simultaneously which impedes re-growth.

Ideally, the hair shaft is vaporized with no other apparent effect. Some time later, perifollicular edema and erythema can appear. Hair color and hair density of the patient decides the intensity and duration of the light exposure. Treatment fluence is manipulated to the lower side if there are signs of epidermal damage.

Multiple treatments are required for each area treated. The treatment is offered in the doctor’s office and requires no down time. Some redness might appear after the treatment which goes away by itself.

Postoperative Considerations

Following steps might be taken depending upon the circumstances:

  • Apply ice packs to reduce the postoperative pain and minimize edema.
  • A prophylactic course of antiviral agents should be completed when indicated by the laser clinic.
  • In case of epidermal injury, topical antibiotic ointment should be applied. The laser clinic should provide details.
  • Mild topical steroid creams may also be used to reduce post-treatment edema and erythema.
  • You should avoid picking or scratching the treated areas.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure during the first week of healing after the procedure.
  • Cosmetics may be applied on the day following treatment unless blistering or crusts develop
  • The damaged hair is often shed during the first weeks after treatment, and patients should be reassured that this is not a sign of hair re-growth.
  • Laser hair removal requires the presence of a pigmented hair shaft. Re-treatment can therefore be performed as soon as re-growth appears. Re-growth is based on the natural hair cycle, which varies by anatomic location; on average, the timing is 6 to 8 weeks.