Laser Hair Removal

Dermatology Specialists utilizes two types of laser hair removal systems; the Lumenis Light Sheer Diode and the Candela Gentlelase. Our practitioners will decide which system is best suited for your individual needs.

Laser Hair Removal

Traditional hair removal techniques, such as shaving, plucking, waxing and depilatory creams provide only temporary relief. Electrolysis can lengthen the period of “hair-free days” but can be tedious, time-consuming and painful. Laser hair removal is much more effective and safely removes unwanted body hair without damaging the delicate pores and structure of the skin.

Dermatology Specialists utilizes two types of laser hair removal systems; the Lumenis Light Sheer Diode and the Candela Gentlelase. Our practitioners will decide which system is best suited for your individual needs.

How does Laser Hair Removal work?

Laser hair removal is a procedure that uses a laser that emits a gentle beam of light that passes through the skin where it is absorbed by the pigment of the hair follicle. The laser energy is transformed into heat that damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth and leaves the surrounding skin unaffected.

Why is Laser Hair Removal Done?

Laser hair removal is used to remove unwanted hair. Common treatment locations include upper lip, chin, underarms, legs and bikini line. However it is possible to treat unwanted hair in almost any area.

Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair because the laser beam targets the pigment in the hair. Although laser hair removal effectively slows hair growth, it doesn’t guarantee permanent removal. Laser hair removal is not effective for blonde, white or gray hair. Vellus hair or “peach fuzz” also will not respond to laser hair treatment.

Before laser hair removal treatment, schedule a complementary consultation with our practitioner. At this visit we will review your medical history, discuss risks, benefits and expectations. If you are a good candidate for treatment, we will test the area with laser and provide a price quote for your treatment plan.

What does a treatment include?

Depending on the amount of hair treated, the procedure varies patient to patient. Generally the treatment will include wearing safety eyewear to protect the patient and practitioner’s eyes from the laser light during treatment. A small handpiece will be used that touches the skin to deliver the laser light. A light spray of coolant onto the skin will be felt just before each laser pulse or a cooling gel will be applied to area of skin being treated.

Most patients experience little discomfort at the treatment site because of the cooling device. The degree of discomfort varies person to person depending on his/her pain threshold. Topical anesthesia can be requested based on individual preference or tolerances. Be sure to discuss this with your practitioner in advance of the laser treatment.

How many treatments will I need?

Hair grows in cycles. The number of treatments required depends on your skin color and the coarseness of the hair. It typically takes several laser hair removal treatments (average number of treatments is 5 to 7) generally done monthly or every other month to provide an extended hair-free period. In between these monthly treatments, some of the hair will regrow as hairs cycle. Hairs that may have been dormant during your previous session many now be in the growth phase. This is why multiple treatments are needed. Multiple treatments ensure that all the hairs are subjected to treatment. Multiple treatments can prolong the duration of hair loss, but hair regrowth is still possible. Additional periodic maintenance treatments—perhaps once every 6 to 12 months–may be needed as well.

Results vary person to person. Inadequate number of treatments will result in a lower rate of effectiveness. You should discuss your desired results and the improvements you expect to achieve with your practitioner. Together you can decide if your expectations will be met and if this laser treatment is the best option.

What can I expect immediately following treatment?

The treated area may become slightly swollen and pink or red within 30 minutes of treatment; this may last from a few hours to several days and is relieved with the application of ice or cooling gels.

What precautions should be taken before and after treatment?

Avoid the sun 4-6 weeks before and after treatment or until your practitioner allows it. A tan increases the risks of side effects such as discoloration. If you have a tan—either from sun exposure, tanning beds or sunless tanning products—you will have to wait until the tan fades completely to receive laser hair removal treatment. We recommend daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

You must avoid plucking, waxing, electrolysis and depilatories 6 weeks prior to treatment. This disrupts the hair growth pattern and will interfere with laser hair removal. Shaving is ok since it preserves the hair and shaft follicle.

If you have had a history of perioral herpes (cold sores), prophylactic antiviral therapy may be prescribed. If you have a dark skin type, bleaching cream may be started 4-6 weeks before treatment to reduce side effects such as skin discoloration. Be sure to discuss this with your practitioner in advance of the laser treatment.

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All our patients are seen by board certified dermatologists who have expertise in medical, surgical, cosmetic, and academic areas of dermatology. Our physicians treat men, women, and children of all ages in our two convenient locations in Edina and Eden Prairie.

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