A woman with clear skin.

Laser Hair Removal Treatment | Illinois Dermatology Institute

At IDI, we use the Alexandrite Laser for skin types I to IV and the Neodymium Yag Laser for skin types V and VI, for long-term laser hair removal and reduction of unwanted hair in many different skin types.
Laser hair removal areas include laser hair removal of the face, neck, chest, back, arms, legs, underarms, and bikini area unwanted hair.

Laser Hair Removal

The use of lasers to remove unwanted hair is the fastest growing, most efficient and safe method for long-term hair removal currently available. In most cases, laser hair removal provides longer lasting hair growth delay compared to other conventional methods such as shaving, wax, epilation and depilatory creams. Lasers target hair follicles to alter the growth cycle and provide the opportunity for rapid treatment of large areas with long lasting results. In contrast to electrolysis, lasers are associated with lower treatment discomfort and allows for quicker treatment of large areas of the body without the need for targeting each individual hair follicle.

How Laser Hair Removal Works

Laser light passes through the surface of the skin, is absorbed by melanin located in the follicle and is converted into heat energy, destroying the hair tissue. The target region is the stem cell population, which consists of modified outer root sheath cells. In this region, the cells multiply very quickly during the growing phase (anagen) of the hair cycle. Pigmented cells are concentrated in this cell population. This would indicate that laser hair removal is most effective when hair is in the anagen phase although conflicting results have also been reported.

There are various laser systems available for removal of unwanted hair. Skin type/color is an important factor in choosing the type of laser best suited for you. If the laser pulse is too long or too intense, this can result in heat damage to tissue, which can cause scarring. Clinical data suggests that darker skin is best treated with longer wavelength lasers. The ideal person for treatment with laser hair removal is a fair skinned individual with dark hair, however, people with dark colored skin can be treated effectively with comparable results to those with lighter colored skin. Suntanned skin is less responsive to laser treatment and has a high risk of blistering and scarring. It is recommended that treatments be postponed for 3 weeks after sun exposure to ensure no problems occur. Likewise tanning products interfere with laser treatments as well. Candidates for laser treatments should discontinue use of self-tanning products for two weeks prior to and after treatments as well.

Hair growth is successively reduced with each laser treatment, allowing for long-term hair reduction after a series of laser treatments. Partial hair regrowth typically occurs after 6 months requiring additional maintenance treatments necessary.

However, the Alexandrite Laser (755 nm wavelength) has remained the principal and the most used laser for hair removal in people with light and moderately tanned skin. (Fitzpatrick type I to III skin.) For patients with dark or very dark skin, (Fitzpatrick IV and V skin) we prefer to use the Neodymium-YAG Laser (1064 nm wavelength).

Contraindications for laser treatments are as follows:

  • Any active skin infection
  • History of Herpes Type I or II – prophylactic antibiotics for 1-3 days prior to treatments to prevent likelihood of an outbreak
  • Tanning lotions – off for two weeks prior to treatment
  • Sun Tanning should be avoided between treatments
  • No Retin-A for two weeks prior to treatments
  • Blood thinners may be a problems with certain lasers
  • No Doxycycline or other light sensitizing drugs for 4 days prior to treatment
  • Immunosuppressive drugs are light sensitive – check with your physician
  • St. John’s Wart (herb/supplement) – taken in conjunction with laser treatments can cause severe burns
  • No deodorant can be worn for treatments in the axillae area
  • Hair should be shaved prior to treatments
  • Pregnancy and nursing
  • Patients who have used Accutane within the last six months
  • Broken or extremely dry skin
  • A history of keloid scarring should be taken into consideration

Will Laser Removal Hurt?

Laser treatments for hair removal are generally well tolerated by patients and do not usually require anesthesia. However, because the hair follicle is surrounded by nerve endings, topical anesthesia may be preferred when large surface areas of the body are treated or sensitive areas such as the upper lip or bikini area. In these cases, topical application of anesthetic cream for 1-2 hours prior to laser treatment is adequate.

Inappropriate administration (prescribed or self applied) of topical anesthetics has been reported to cause severe complications and even death in an extreme case (Both legs and thighs treated with topical anesthetic for a long time with occlusion under saran wrap, to enhance penetration). Careful application, under the supervision of a Board Certified Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon is advised, in order to ensure complete safety. In our offices, we have not had a single problem with topical anesthetics in over 6 years and hundreds of treatments.

 


Length of Treatment: depends on treatment area
Price: Varies on the treatment area
Covered By Insurance: No
Pain Factor: mild to moderate

 

To discuss your Laser Hair Removal Treatment with a Board Certified Dermatologist or a Licensed Healthcare Professional please make an online appointment today.

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