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Laser Hair Removal: What to expect

Laser hair removal can make life soooooooo much easier.  No more worries about that 5 o’clock shadow (even earlier for some of us!).  No more worries about getting goosebumps and the pricklies.  No more worries about a short-notice invitation to the lake or pool because you haven’t shaved and looked like Chewbacca.  Who wouldn’t want laser hair removal if you get all that?  So, let’s talk about it!

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME?  First off, the laser causes a flash of light.  That light converts to the energy that heats up and weakens or damages the hair bulb.  The hair bulb is most sensitive to the laser when in anagen (growing) phase, which occurs intermittently.  That is why it takes 6-12 treatments, spaced 4-6 weeks apart to obtain desired results.  Color is the laser target.  Light skin and dark thick hair are the prime combinations, the more contrast the better.  Light or fine hair response is limited.  Melanin (pigment in skin darkened by sun and tanning beds) can compete with the hair for the uptake of the laser pulse to limit results and increase side effects, such as burning, blistering and skin color changes.  That’s why the best time for laser hair removal is in the late fall, winter, or early spring.  No sun or tanning for a MINIMUM of two weeks, no Accutane for a MINIMUM of 6 months prior to treatment. 

DOES IT HURT?  Not gonna lie.  Laser hair removal can be uncomfortable.  Numbing cream placed at least 30 minutes ahead of time can make it more tolerable.  Ask your provider for details on cream availability and application.

IS THERE ANY DOWNTIME?  Laser puts heat into the skin, so keep it cool afterward to minimize the chance of blistering or burning.  Avoid anything that increases the temperature of the skin (hot water, tight clothing, vigorous exercise, hot air) for 24-48 hours.   Ice can even be applied, which helps ease discomfort as well.  The laser makes the skin more sensitive, so avoid chemical peels and sun exposure for two weeks to decrease the risk of skin discoloration and scarring.

It is important to understand that laser hair removal may not make you completely hairless.  Even the best responders may need a touch-up treatment every 6-12 months to get those stubborn hairs and maintain optimal results.  Even the best responders may have residual fine or light-colored hairs that stick around.  But, shaving a few times a year instead of weekly, the way smooth legs make you look and feel about yourself, the spontaneity you gain in your life, all make laser hair removal a risk worth taking.  SO JUMP IN AND DO IT!!  Call us at 940-665-6679 to schedule your appointment.  Ask about treatment packages that are cheaper than individual treatment costs.

Author
Amy Klein, D.O. Obstetrics and Gynecology physician. The practice also does a wide range of aesthetic procedures. Dr. Klein has been in practice since 2003 in Gainesville, Texas.

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