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November 25, 2020
 

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Weekend doctor: I want this hair gone!

By Lorie Thomas, DO
Blanchard Valley Obstetrics & Gynecology
There are many options available for hair removal. People will use chemical depilatories, electrolysis, shaving or wax to remove hair.

A less painful option may be sugaring as well as laser hair removal for a more permanent hair removal option. 

Any area where you may have undesired hair is an option for hair removal. A few popular examples for men are shoulders, back, upper arms and nape of the neck.

Women will often treat underarms, lip and chin, lower legs, bikini and Brazilian. Less common areas may be stomach, fingers, toes and ears. The cost is based on the area as well as whether it is a package of one, three or six treatments. Treatments are generally spaced out six to eight weeks depending on the site being treated.

Anyone can have laser hair removal including men, women and teens as long as a parent is present to sign consent.

For most people, hair removal will take up to six treatments. Treatment sessions can be as quick as 15 minutes (for lips) or as long as one to two hours (full legs/back).

Laser hair removal is one method of hair reduction that has more permanent results. Laser is a form of concentrated light that targets the hair follicle below the surface of the skin. Intense heat from the light is meant to permanently damage the hair follicle. 

Hair removal has significantly improved and has minimal sensation. Many treatment modalities in the past were uncomfortable to the point of felling a “rubber-band like” snap feel at the surface of the skin. Most clients will say they feel a “prickly” sensation or warmth that is more noticeable where hair is more concentrated. 

When a procedure is performed, the area to be treated needs to be clean and shaved prior to the treatment. The area to be treated will have a thin layer of gel applied and the laser handpiece will be applied and most often will gently slide over the area of treatment. 

After the treatment most people will feel a warm sensation in the treated area.

Some may feel like a sunburn in the area and the skin may be red afterward. The redness for most people will be nearly gone by the time they leave the treatment center.

The skin should be protected from UV rays after so many choose to do hair removal before and after summertime. Rare complications may occur which include burning, blistering, swelling, redness, scarring, infection and changes in skin color such as darkening or lightening.

If an individual is prone to cold sores/herpes lesions in the area of treatment, we would suggest pre-treatment with their anti-viral medication to prevent a sore from developing.

How long results are expected to last all depends on the degree of damage to each follicle during a treatment. Each treatment is meant to damage the follicle and most to the point of inability to grow the hair.

During a treatment we must also take into consideration skin types and be cautious with the settings to prevent the complications or injure the surrounding skin.

To get started, schedule a consult with a physician. During the consult your medical history will be reviewed to assure that laser hair removal is appropriate for you.