Laser Hair Removal
What is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is a non-invasive technique that uses highly concentrated light to penetrate hair follicles. The laser light is absorbed by the pigment in the hair shaft in the follicle generating heat which damages the follicle to inhibit future hair growth. Therefore, plucking hair before treatment reduces the efficacy of the laser treatment as the target is absent.
Because laser hair removal only affects actively growing hair follicles, it may take several laser hair removal treatments to provide significant hair reduction. Additionally, while laser hair removal effectively slows hair growth, it doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. Periodic maintenance treatments may be needed.
Your plastic surgeon may perform the laser hair removal procedure, or may delegate this to a nurse or other licensed provider.
A beam of highly focused light is absorbed by hair in disabling unwanted hair follicles. There is some mild discomfort that last a few seconds. People with white or gray hair may not have enough pigment target to be a candidate for laser hair removal.
Because hair grows in cycles, it typically takes three to four laser hair removal treatments to provide significant hair reduction.
- Your goals
- Medical conditions, drug allergies, and medical treatments
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
- Previous surgeries
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Take photographs
- Discuss your options
- Recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of laser hair removal and any risks or potential complications
During your laser hair removal consultation be prepared to discuss:
Your surgeon, or his specialty trained nurse, will also:
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon questions. It’s very important to understand all aspects of your laser hair removal. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
Risks and Safety
- Mild swelling around the hair follicles
- Pigment changes may occur, especially in those with darker skin. These changes are usually temporary
- Slight redness of the skin
- Temporary irritation resulting in blistering, crusting, scarring, or other changes in skin texture
Laser hair removal doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. Some hair could be resistant to the laser treatment or grow again after treatment — although the new hair growth might be finer and lighter in color.
Possible laser hair removal side effects include:
Special care must be taken for those with darker skin. A less intensive laser should be used to avoid damaging the outer skin.
Anyone who has tanned, used a spray tan, or gone to a tanning booth should wait until the tan has faded as the pigment in the skin absorbs the laser light and reduces the effectiveness of the treatment.
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It’s important that you address all your questions directly with your laser hair reduction provider.
- Procedure costs
- Prescriptions for medication
The average cost of laser hair removal is $306, according to 2016 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The cost of laser hair removal may vary. The average fee reference above is the national average surgeon/physician fee only.
Laser hair removal costs may be based on the expertise and qualifications of the person performing the procedure, the type of procedure used, time and effort the procedure or treatment requires, and the geographic location of the office.
Laser hair removal costs may include:
Most health insurance does not cover cosmetic surgery or its complications, but many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans for laser hair removal, so be sure to ask.