The world of cosmetic surgery has advanced tremendously over the last decade. A number of different procedures have now been developed that not only help one achievement younger looking skin but can also keep it that way for many weeks to months. Hair removal therapies are becoming more and more sought-after these days and in particular laser hair removal has become a very popular procedure.
In this article, we shall take a brief look at what exactly this procedure involves and the benefits of laser hair removal.
What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure that involves exposure of hair follicles to concentrated laser beams. This laser beam is absorbed by the hair follicle and is subsequently destroyed. This is an effective and painless way of removing hair from the group when compared to other rather painful procedures such as waxing and tweezing.
Before laser hair removal
In order to perform laser hair removal, the practitioner needs undergo specific training to ensure that they are competent in offering this treatment. It is therefore essential that before you seek out laser hair removal that you ensure that the practitioner is suitably qualified perform the procedure.
Prior to the procedure, patients will be advised to avoid waxing or shaving. This allows the hair to grow a little and therefore help target laser to individual hair follicles. In addition to this, patients are advised not to expose themselves to too much sunlight as this can make the laser removal process difficult.
The laser hair removal procedure
Prior to commencing the procedure, the machine will be set to match the requirements of the individual patient. This includes ensuring that the laser will target the appropriate colour and location of the hair. Patients will be asked to wear eye protection and sometimes the skin is protected using some form of cooling gel.
Following this initial preparation, laser therapy is delivered in a pulsatile fashion the individual hair follicles. It takes a few minutes in total and following this the area but the laser has been applied to will be observed for a short period of time. This is done so that no untoward reactions occur. A little bit of redness at the site of laser application is common and often subsides within a day or two.
The videos below illustrates how the procedure is performed. In these videos, there is a brief description of what laser hair removal entails and a demonstration on how it is performed.
Following the procedure
After the laser hair removal procedure is complete, patients may be advised to apply ice to the area or even some form of anti-inflammatory gel or ointment. This helps promote healing and also prevents any redness and pain from persisting. It is common for a small amount of hair to grow back again following this procedure and therefore laser hair removal is often repeated after 4 to 6 weeks. Once sufficient treatments have been carried out, patients may not require any further therapies for a long period of time.
Benefits of the procedure
The benefits are many primarily because the treatment is non-invasive and rather gentle. Patients experience minimal pain and discomfort. The procedure allows for large areas of skin to be treated in a short span of time. No local anaesthesia is required and neither is any specific special preparation other than what has been described above.
Side-effects and complications
As is the case with any medical or cosmetic procedure, side-effects can occur. However, these side-effects are often fairly rare and are easily treatable. One of the most common side-effects that patients experience is mild redness and swelling of the area where the hair follicles have been removed. This is because following hair removal, the skin tends to get slightly irritated and as a result that is an increase in the amount of blood flow to the area (causing redness) and leakage of small amount of fluid from the capillaries into the surrounding skin (causing the swelling; also called oedema). Application of ice can often help manage this effectively.
Another side-effect that patients may experience is mild pain or discomfort. This often accompanies the redness and swelling and can be effectively treated with over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is always recommended that you see a doctor before taking any form of medication.
Another complication that may occur is ingrown hairs. As discussed above, some of the hairs do we grow back and sometimes they can fold inwards back into the skin. This has a simple solution and can be managed through gentle exfoliation of the skin. Rarely, skin infections can occur and if they do then a simple course of antibiotics is often sufficient.
Serious complications are rare, but if they do occur then patients need to report this to the physician immediately. Such serious complications include skin burns and blisters. These are more common in patients who expose their skin to sunlight immediately following the procedure. Patients are often required to avoid exposure to sunlight for at least seven days following the procedure. This will allow the skin to heal and reduce its vulnerability to damage from the ultraviolet rays.
If blisters or skin burns do occur, when they heal they can leave small amount of dark pigmentation or even light pigmentation on the skin. Scarring may occur but this is very rare.
The videos below briefly discuss the side-effects associated with laser hair removal.
How much does it cost?
The cost of laser hair removal varies from practice to practice. Furthermore, it also depends upon where exactly the procedure is being performed, how much hair requires removing, the time taken to perform the procedure and the total number of treatments that are needed. On an average, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports the average cost at around $235 per session.
Laser hair removal has become a sought after treatment by a variety of individuals. Treatments are fairly easy and straightforward and are associated with minimal complications. A few sittings may be required but results are usually very good and once treatments are complete can last for weeks to months. Patient satisfaction rates are very high particularly due to the excellent end result following the treatment. Cost may be an issue but given the positive effects, it is well worth the investment.
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