Laser Hair Removal
Laser energy is a proven method to reduce unwanted hair from your skin. At Advanced Dermatology results are long lasting, discomfort is tolerable, and side effects are minimal for skin and hair.
Advanced Dermatology has four lasers which permits us to customize each treatment program. For dark skinned patients of Asian, African American, Indian, and Middle Eastern descent we use the CoolGlide Vantage. Energy from this laser interacts with the pigment in hair but not the pigment in skin. This allows us to remove the hair without heating the skin. The Comet uses both laser and radiofrequency energy to remove dark and some of the light hair in patients with light skin. For faster treatments with minimal discomfort we use the Prowave to remove dark hair in light-skinned patients. Our latest addition is the GentleLase Pro, which provides the fastest, most comfortable, and most effective removal of dark hair in patients with light skin.
Areas of Treatment Include:
- Upper lip
- Arms & Hands
- Legs & Feet
How do I know if I need laser hair removal?
If you find that removing unwanted hair by shaving, waxing, and threading is difficult and time consuming, you may want to consider laser hair removal. Hair reduction by a laser procedure is long lasting and eliminates the need for constant manual maintenance. Our lasers are effective on all skin types and hair colors.
How does Laser hair removal work?
The first step is to cover the target area with an ultrasound gel. Then your provider applies pulses of laser energy to your skin. During this time your skin feels like a rubber band snap or a momentary hot spot. A stream of cool air minimizes discomfort and prevents side effects. Topical anesthetic is also available for purchase at skinfo or for a $30 fee Advanced Dermatology clinical staff will apply (one time) topical anesthetic to the area being treated. Treatment time is 10 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the target area. Follow-up treatments are performed at 4 to 8-week intervals.
What benefits can I expect?
You can expect permanent removal of 30% to 90% of your hair after 3 to 10 laser treatments. The rest of the hair grows back and requires follow-up treatments. Not all hair is removed in a single treatment because hair strands exist at different growth stages, some in which hair is pigmented and others in which hair is not pigmented. To be absorbed by laser energy, hair strands must have pigment. Hair strands in a non-pigmented growth stage cannot interact with laser energy and will not be removed until they reach a growth stage in which they are pigmented. As you may suspect, white hair and light-colored hair require more treatments than dark hair. For these reasons we can’t guarantee permanent removal of 100% of hair.
To remove hair of all colors in people with different skin types, we treat our patients with one of four different laser devices. As discussed earlier, laser energy is absorbed by pigment in hair. If this same laser energy is also absorbed by pigment in skin, as in dark-skinned people, the skin may be damaged by heat. This is why we don’t use intense pulsed light in dark-skinned patients. Instead we use the CoolGlide® Vantage, a laser that emits energy absorbed only by hair pigment and not skin pigment. This laser is approved by the FDA for removing hair in people of all skin types.
The location of hair also affects their ease of removal. Hair in the underarms, bikini line, and legs are easy to remove, while facial hair requires multiple treatments due to hormonal effects.
What are the risks and side effects?
Although uncommon, a superficial blister or scab may develop after treatment. Healing typically requires 2 to 14 days with regular use of antibiotic ointment. Infection is rare because the skin is not broken during treatment. A permanent scar may form in less than 1 in 20 treatments.
Changes in skin color may occur, although this is very rare. Treatment of pigmentary abnormalities consists of prescription creams, chemical peels, or further laser treatment. Skin color changes become permanent in only 1 in 20 cases. Skin that is tanned or naturally dark has a higher risk of side effects. That’s why it’s important to allow your suntan or artificial tan to fade before treatment. If your skin is naturally dark you may need additional treatments because we treat dark skin more conservatively to minimize side effects.
Prior to treatment all potential risks and side effects will be discussed with you by your medical provider and cosmetic coordinator.
How will I look and feel before and after Laser Hair Removal?
If your skin is tanned by sun exposure or artificial tanning lotion you should allow at least 4 weeks for the tan to fade before the procedure. You may continue to shave before, during, and after treatment. No other preparation is necessary.
Advise your provider if your medical history includes cold sores or herpes virus infection. This information will help prevent complications.
The treated area may be red and swollen for a few hours after treatment. You may apply makeup immediately. The treated hair falls out during the next 2 to 4 weeks. You may clip or shave this hair during this time. Do not, however, pluck or wax the hair before or between treatments. If you do, the laser treatments will be less effective.
Is there another way to get the same effect?
Yes. Shaving, plucking, waxing, use of depilatories and electrolysis are other ways to remove hair. Lasers have many advantages over these traditional techniques. For example, lasers treat all your hair in a single session, whereas electrolysis treats only single small sections each time. This means that more sessions are required with electrolysis than with lasers. Lasers also eliminate ingrown hairs that form after waxing and plucking. This capability helps to remove hair in people with folliculitis.
Can this be combined with other treatments?
Yes. Laser hair removal may be combined with other cosmetic treatments, most of them on the same day as laser treatment. Our skin care boutique offers Vaniqa, a prescription cream that inhibits skin proteins that cause hair growth. Research shows that laser treatment and regular use of Vaniqa is the most effective hair removal system available.
Who should not have Laser Hair Removal?
Patients who are pregnant or have taken Accutane during the previous three months should not have laser hair removal. If you wear a pacemaker or defibrillator you may not be treated with devices which, in addition to laser or light energy, include radiofrequency energy (e.g., the Comet). If you have recently waxed, plucked, or bleached your target hair you should postpone laser hair removal.
What is the cost of Laser Hair Removal?
The fee for laser hair removal depends on the area to be treated.
To learn more about laser hair removal, please call 847-282-4047 or contact us to make an appointment with one of our cosmetic coordinators.