Laser Hair Removal

v-smile5The Candela GentleLASE PLUS laser is used to target and destroy unwanted hair follicles.  The wavelength of light specifically emitted by this laser is absorbed by melanin, the pigment in the skin and hair.  The laser light passes through the skin to be absorbed by pigmented hair in the hair follicle, where the laser energy is transformed into heat that specifically injures the hair follicle, and spares surrounding tissues.  Laser treatment is most effective on active, growing hair follicles.  Since hairs constantly cycle from active to dormant stages, multiple treatments are required to achieve best results.  It is expected that four to eight treatments, at about six weeks to three month intervals will be needed for significant, long-lasting hair reduction.  Because there is also melanin pigment in skin cells, the laser works best on persons with light skin and dark hair.  The laser does not work on grey, blond, white, or red hairs.  Most persons with darker skin can still be treated, but may need more treatments at lower energies.

What can I expect during the consultation?

At your consult visit, we will discuss your skin type, predicted response to laser treatment, size of area to be treated, cost, and treatment schedule. Your medical history will be reviewed. A numbing cream may be recommended, and if you have a history of cold sores or herpes simplex virus, you may be given prescriptions for prophylactic antiviral therapy depending on the area treated.  A laser test spot will be performed.  You will be asked not to wax or tweeze, or have electrolysis, for 4-6 weeks prior to the treatment appointment, (the hair root must be present in the follicle for the laser to work).  Shaving or clipping the hair is acceptable.  If you have darker skin, you may be asked to use a prescription bleaching cream a few weeks before and after treatment. Let your practitioner know if you have any tattoos or permanent makeup.

What can I expect during treatment?

The area must be clean shaven the night before or the morning of the treatment. External hair not shaven acts as a heat sink and my burn the skin. You should also remove any creams, perfumes, or makeup.  At the laser appointment, your eyes will be protected with special goggles. During the treatment, you will feel the laser hand piece touching the skin, then a cooling spray and almost simultaneous laser pulse, which feels like a rubber band snapping. Most all persons tolerate the treatment with minimal discomfort. Depending on the area to be treated, treatment time can take between 10 to 60 minutes.

What can I expect after treatment?

Immediately after the treatment, you may experience mild redness and swelling and itching, possibly feeling like sunburn, lasting a few hours.  There may be redness for two to three days. If there is scabbing or blistering, patients should call the office, and may be asked to return for a post-operative check. Anywhere from 5-15 days after treatment, shedding of the treated hair may occur. This appears as new hair growth; however, this is NOT new hair growth. You can clean and remove the hair by washing or wiping the area with a wet cloth or loofa sponge. Hairs that regrow are usually smaller, softer, and lighter. Your next treatment will generally be within two weeks of the first sign of the return of hair growth. This is usually within six weeks after your treatment for the upper body and closer to eight weeks, possibly longer, for the lower body treatments. Hair regrowth occurs at different rates on different areas of the body.

What risks are involved?

Risks from laser hair removal are minimal, but can include the possibility of light or dark discoloration, blistering, bruising, or scarring. There is risk of eye injury, if the eyes are not shielded properly from laser light. RECENTLY TANNED SKIN CANNOT BE TREATED! If treated within two weeks of active natural light or tanning booth, you may develop hypopigmentation (white spots) after treatment and this may not clear. The use of self-tanning products must be discontinued one week before treatment. Let your practitioner know about your medical conditions, such as warts, tendency to scar or keloid, or autoimmune diseases. Persons who have had the prescription medicine Accutane within the past six months should not be treated.

We hope you decide to proceed with this revolutionary technology. It can provide you freedom from shaving, waxing, or tweezing, and the problems that accompany these hair removal techniques, such as razor bumps and cuts.

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