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Laser Hair Removal: The Benefits & Risks

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Laser Hair Removal: Non-Invasive Cosmetic Procedure

The following is general information on laser hair removal.
It is not medical advice nor authored by a medical professional.

Laser hair removal is considered to be a safe procedure by most medical professionals. There are some risks to be considered and precautions to take which will minimize the risk.

Laser Hair Removal: The Technique
Laser hair removal is very popular because most people do have unwanted hair o their face and/or body. This non-invasive technique will permanently reduce unwanted body or facial hair.

The process can take from minutes to hours depending on several factors: where on the body the technique is to be applied, and how much hair removal is involved.

The term laser stands for Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation.

The light/laser penetrates the patient's skin and is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle. The follicle is then permanently disabled. Sometimes several treatments are necessary to achieve desired results.

Benefits of Laser Hair Removal

  • non-invasive technique
  • pain and miscomfort is minimal
  • skin will likely appear silkier and amoother
  • replaces electrolysis, shaving and waxing
  • no down time should occur

Risks & Considerations

  • multiple sessions are required
  • there may be a slight reddening, crusting or swelling of the treated area
  • infection is a possibility
  • skin should be protected from strong sunlight during the healing process, at least
  • special skin care products or a specific skin care regimen may be prescribed
  • patients with darker skin may no respond well
  • lighter hair (blonde, grey or white) may be less responsive

Dark Skin
Darker skin types are more vulnerable to damage from laser hair removal. This is because of the higher concentration of pigment in dark skin. " really do not want to treat darker skin without the proper laser technology," according to Dr. Douglas Forman, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Forman explains: "Those types of skin have a lot of pigment in their skin so you have to be very gentle so that you do not burn the outer skin. And in those instances it's very important to use a less intensive energy." Dr. Forman went on to explain that the newer technology heats up the hair shaft without effecting the outer skin.

There are precautions to take when you are lighter skinned and considering laser hair removal. Patients with spray tans, tanning booth tans and natural tans and not good candidates for laser hair removal. Heating up the skin and causing a burn is rare withthe newer techniques, but it could occur.

Aftercare & Complications
After the laser hair removal patients are instructed to apply cool compresses if there is discomfort or a burning sensation. This occurs infrequently, again with the newer techniques. Occasionally there is a slight crusting of the skin after the treatment. Patients are instructed to apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment or cream to the effected area.

Lasers are also used in dental procedures, refractive eye surgery, and in general surgery such as tumor removal, cataract removal, breast surgery, and most other surgical procedures.

Cosmetic Procedures Page

For more information about the reported adverse effects and general safety of lasers:
Type in "laser hair removal".

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