At the Center for Aesthetic Medicine in Frederick MD, we offer laser hair removal for permanent hair reduction. If you are tired of getting bumps, nicks or burns from shaving, tweezing or waxing your unwanted hair, laser hair removal is a great option worth considering. Laser hair removal is a simple, safe and highly effective procedure, and is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures.
What are the benefits of laser hair removal?
Lasers are useful for removing unwanted hair from your body. The benefits of laser hair removal include:
- Provides long-lasting results
- Can treat many areas of the body
- Selectively targets dark hair while leaving surrounding skin undamaged
- Treats large areas of unwanted hair quickly
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal is performed by targeting the hair follicle with an intense pulsating beam of light to destroy it. The laser works because it selectively targets melanin ( a dark pigment) found in the hair. By selectively targeting melanin the laser finds its way into the follicle, heating it up until destruction.
What areas can be treated with laser hair removal?
Most often people seek laser hair removal for excess hair in the following areas:
- Bikini area
- Stomach or abdomen
- Upper lip area
Frequently asked questions about laser hair removal
1. Who is the best candidate for laser hair reduction?
The best candidates are those with light skin and dark coarse hairs. Coarse hairs have more ability to hold more pigment to attract the laser’s energy. The contrast between the skin and hair allows the energy from the laser to go directly to the hair and transform into heat in order to then go down the hair follicle to the hair bulb to destroy it. Those who have darker skin can have laser hair reduction, but many times, it will require more treatments in order to achieve the same results. At Frederick Dermatology Associates, we have 2 laser wavelengths to perform laser hair reduction. Our diode laser is used to treat lighter skin patients for best results. Darker skinned patients are treated with the diode laser or the Nd:Yag laser to achieve the best and safest results.
2. How long as Frederick Dermatology practiced laser hair reduction?
Since we moved our practice from Georgetown University in 2009, we have performed laser hair reduction. However, both Drs. Moe and Hogan had performed the procedure before this at the University setting.
3. How many treatments are required to effectively reduce hairs long term?
Generally, it takes about 6 treatments for light skinned patients. Darker skinned patients may take 8-10 treatments. Treatments are spaced about 6-10 weeks apart depending on the body’s region that is being treated. It is important to keep to this interval to maximize best results to keep with the growth cycle of the hairs. The laser only treats actively growing hairs. At one time, there is only about 15% of the hairs growing at one time. This is why it takes several treatments. By the time you have completed the package of treatments, all the hairs in the area should have been treated.
4. What kind of laser(s) does Frederick Dermatology use to reduce unwanted hairs for laser hair removal?
We actually have two lasers for laser hair reduction. The first is the Lumenis diode laser (Lightsheer Duet), which is phenomenal for lighter skin types. It has been used for years and it is the gold standard for Caucasian skin. It is more comfortable and more effective than ever for patients to receive laser hair reduction. The diode laser is also safe for darker skin types, but if we feel the risk of post-treatment hyperpigmentation is high, we have the Cynergy Nd-Yag for slightly tanned individuals or darker complexions. Having the versatility of both lasers allows Frederick Dermatology to provide any patient the best and safest treatment possible.
5. What happens if I have a tan and am treated with laser hair removal?
If you have a tan when being treated for laser hair removal, you substantially increase your risk of side effects. In general, side effects are rare, but by increasing the pigment/color to your skin, the laser energy will not only go into the dark hair but also your darkened skin. The energy transforms into heat. If the skin heats up too much, this is when you end up with significant swelling of skin, possible blisters, darkened or lightened spots where treated due to over heating, and worse case scenario, scarring.
With expert providers and the best technology, these effects are extremely rare. Yet, being honest with yourself and your provider about recent sun exposure and tanning is highly important to avoid complications.
6. What are the risks associated with laser hair removal?
Common side-effects include redness and swelling around the hair follicle after treatment. This usually subsides within a day or two. Risks of crusting, scabbing, discolorations of the skin, and scarring are rare. Tanning your skin and sun exposure while receiving treatments increases these risks. While serious risks are very rare in laser hair removal, having your procedure done in a Board Certified Dermatology practice can minimize bad outcomes. Initial training and continued improvement on technology and skills are paramount to our practice. Safety of patients with good outcomes are always crucial to Frederick Dermatology.
7. How should I care for my skin after laser hair removal?
Cooling after your procedure is very beneficial, especially if you have dark skin. The darker your skin, the longer your skin holds onto the heat from the treatment from the procedure. Cooling with gentle ice or cold compresses pulls the heat away from the skin to minimize swelling and irritation to the skin. It will not reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. It will just minimize risks of side effects. Cooling should continue at least 15-30 minutes after the treatment. All skin care products used on the skin in the treated area should be gentle. This means no retinols, alpha or beta hydroxyacids for 5-7 days after on the treatment area.
8. How long does each session take?
Most treatment sessions range from 15-45 minutes depending on the body area. Our Lightsheer Duet has a larger spot size for legs and backs in order to provide an efficient treatment with minimal pain.
9. Will my results from laser hair removal be permanent?
Results are long term, but in certain areas, like facial hair of women or the backs or shoulders of men, there may be a bit of regrowth. Remember, the laser only treats actively growing hairs. A person has thousands of hair follicles in one location. With age and hormonal changes, hairs that were once not growing (thus could never be treated) can be shifted out of their inactive stage. Thus, especially for facial hair, patients may decide to do a touch up treatment every so often.
10. Does laser hair removal hurt?
Most people would rate it a 3-4/10 on the pain scale? If a patient finds it too uncomfortable, topical numbing cream can be used to minimize pain. Also, at Frederick Dermatology our lasers have additional components that add comfort to the procedure. These include chill tip, vacuum assisted delivery, and Zimmer technologies.
11. What should I expect during my treatment?
When you arrive, we ensure your skin is cleaned and prepped. It is important you don’t have any makeup or lotions in the area to be treated. If not already done, the hairs will be shaved close to the skin. We urge patients to do this in the comfort of their own home before coming to the appointment. If the hairs are not shaved or clipped close to the skin, higher risk of side effects can occur because of more heat transfer to the skin. No plucking or waxing should have occurred within 6 wks of the treatment. Plucking and waxing reduces effectiveness of treatments. If either has occurred, the energy cannot find the route down the hair shaft to destroy the hair bulb. The bulb needs to be destroyed to have effective, long term results. The treatment itself takes about 15-45 minutes depending on the size of the area to be treated. Afterwords, we will likely apply a topical cortisone cream. We also have you cool the skin for the next 15-30 minutes.
12. How long will it take to see my results for my laser hair removal?
After 1 treatment, you may see the hairs reduce or actually push themselves out of the skin. By 2nd treatment, there is considerable regrowth. Yet, usually by the 3rd or 4th treatment, the results continue to accumulate. The hairs will become less and one may they start to change in character, becoming lighter and finer. If you have a darker complexion, it will take a bit longer to notice these results. Treatment settings have to be more conservative to avoid side effects in darker complexions. Yet, in the end, results are still great!
13. Why I should I receive laser hair removal Frederick Dermatology Associates versus the spa down the street?
There are many benefits of seeing the staff at Frederick Dermatology. All staff members are either board-certified dermatologists or licensed NPs or RNs trained personally by the board-certified dermatologists. Each team member continually completes continuing education courses to stay up to date in latest technologies and procedures. Each person employed by Frederick Dermatology Associates values listening to their patients and tries to make a patient’s experience at the practice a memorable. With competent providers who truly care about their patients and their results, patients receive the best treatments.
14. Is there any downtime associated with laser hair removal?
Generally, besides the mild redness and swelling around the hair follicles for a day or two, there is little to no downtime with laser hair reduction. After the treatment, we may apply a topical steroid to soothe the skin, and we urge you to continue with ice or cool compresses for up to 2-3 hours. Once the heat is transmitted to the hair follicle, we want to pull the heat away from the skin to minimize side effects.
Before and After Laser Hair Reduction
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