What is Laser Hair Removal?
Permanent hair removal is currently not possible with any modality. Our goal is permanent hair reduction. A series of 5 to 8 treatments may be needed initially, and maintenance treatments as needed. The first 3-4 treatments are usually scheduled monthly, then treatments are administered as needed. This is usually a schedule ranging from 4-12 weeks apart. Factors affecting number of treatments include coarseness, color and density of hair, the area treated, and hormonal influences. Approximately 30-40% reduction will occur with each treatment*. Overall, our goal is 70-80% total reduction*. Light gray, white and blonde hair will not respond to treatment. It is recommended that patients shave the area the day before. It is helpful for us to have some visible stubble to gauge treatments results.
Is the procedure painful?
The treatments feel like the snapping of a rubber band, with some mild heat. This is generally tolerable.
What risks are there?
Do NOT wax, pluck, or use chemical depilatories for one month prior to treatment. Hair must be present in the follicle for the treatment to work. It is recommended that patients do NOT tan or alter their skin color by chemicals, dyes, sun or tanning beds for at least 2 weeks prior to procedures, during the course of the treatment, and for at least 2 weeks after the completion of treatments. Sun avoidance (especially mid-day sun) and regular use of a broad spectrum SPF (preferably of a 30 or higher) to any exposed areas is recommended. Failure to follow this advice can lead to pigmentary complications (light or dark spots). Please feel free to ask a member of our staff about the variety of sun block we carry. Patients should not have taken Accutane for at least 6 months prior to treatment. Please inform our staff if you are taking any medications or supplements that cause light sensitivity. Retina-A should be discontinued on treated areas 10 days prior to being treated. Glycolic acids, salicylic acid and other exfoliates should be avoided a few days prior and post treatment as well. Moisturizers and mild cleansers (and, of course broad spectrum sunscreens) should be used after treatment. Pregnant women should not be treated. We may recommend doing a test spot before treating a large area and for darker skin tones. This is for your safety and to help determine the right settings for your skin.
What is the recovery like?
After treatment, the hair may feel hard and coarse. Treated hair will fall out in 1-3 weeks. During this time, there may be the appearance of new stubble, but these are treated hairs being expelled from the skin. Patients may experience a feeling of warmth for 1 to 2 hours and some mild redness that can last up to 24 hours*. These symptoms can be relieved with Tylenol and/or ice packs. It is normal to see a little swelling around the hair follicles after hair removal treatments. If you experience severe pain, burning, or blistering after any treatment, please call our office immediately at 636-812-4300. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
How long do the effects of hair removal last?
Every patient is different. Our goal is 80-90% reduction*. After 5-8 treatments, a yearly touch up might be necessary for lasting results.*
* = Results May Vary