Am I a candidate for laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is not for everyone. The absolute requirement is
that one's hair must be darker than the surrounding skin.
Additionally very darkly pigmented people absorb too much laser
energy in their skin and are not candidates for most lasers. These
dark skinned patients require the use of highly specialized lasers
which are only available at selected laser hair removal centers .
Tanned patients with light hair are not candidates. Tanned patients
with dark hair cannot be treated with the usual hair removal lasers,
also requiring treatment with a specialized laser, such as the kind
invented at the Institute of Laser Medicine in Los Angeles (see U.S.
Patent 6,595,585). Lastly the treatment cost should be within reach
of the patient. Laser hair removal, although much less expensive
than electrolysis, requires multiple treatments, and generally costs
over $1000 in total for most anatomic areas.
What will it cost for laser hair removal for me?
Treatment cost varies with the size of the area treated. Experienced
laser centers, which have developed expertise in laser hair removal,
generally average about $500 per treatment session, with an average
of four treatment sessions initially recommended. Large areas, such
as the entire back, or the entire legs, cost considerably more than
this. Small areas, such as the upper lip, can be less. Individual
consultation with the laser center is necessary to obtain exact
Influence of skin color on laser hair removal.
Light skin makes laser hair removal easier to perform. Fewer
treatments are required, and better, faster results are obtained.
People with darker skin can be treated, but results are slower, more
sessions are required, and greater expertise is required on the part
of the laser center. Laser hair removal must be individualized for
Influence of hair color on laser hair removal.
Dark hair absorbs more laser energy and is easier to treat. Coarse
dark hair responds the best to laser treatment. Light hair is more
difficult to treat. Blonde or red hair is very difficult to treat.
Multiple treatment sessions are required, and results are variable.
Blonde or red hair usually contains pheomelanin, which absorbs laser
energy less avidly than the eumelanin pigment which is present in
black or brown hair.
Laser hair removal requires multiple treatments.
Although one laser session can produce long-term hair removal, as a
rule multiple treatment sessions are necessary to obtain optimal
results. In large part this is due to the fact that laser hair
removal is most effective for hair which is in the anagen phase.
Anagen is the growth phase of hair. Since hair grows in cycles, not
all of the hairs are in anagen at any given time. Additional
sessions are necessary to catch all of the hairs when they are in
What areas can be treated?
Any area, except adjacent to the eye, where there is excess hair.
The most common areas requested are the face, upper lip, neck,
chest, periareolar, underarms, back, abdomen, bikini line, and legs.
About permanent hair reduction by laser.
Waxing, shaving, and plucking all produce hair removal which is
temporary. Several of the newer lasers have clearly documented that
there is permanent hair reduction after each treatment. The FDA has
approved several lasers for permanent hair reduction, and more
results with additional lasers are pending. The results tend to be
additive, i.e. more treatments lead to greater degrees of permanent
hair reduction. For any given patient results cannot be precisely
predicted. Results can be variable, even with the best lasers.
Pulsed light and laser hair removal.
Intense pulsed light devices can produce effective hair removal.
Although these devices are not lasers, they are "laser equivalents",
utilizing the same principle of selective photothermolysis to
achieve hair removal. These devices are in practice more difficult
to adjust than lasers and require great expertise for their proper
Myths 1: Guarantees in laser hair removal.
It is impossible to predict the exact result a patient will achieve
with laser hair removal, especially with regard to how many sessions
a given individual will require. Many of the hair removal clinics
which guaranteed results have gone out of business. Like most
reputable medical practices, the most established laser hair removal
practices do not guarantee results.
Myths 2: Discount laser hair removal clinics.
Established medical centers with excellent reputations do not
discount their fees. Patients know their reputations and rely upon
their experience and expertise. The same is true for laser hair
removal. Consumers are advised, as with all forms of medical care,
to seek the center of highest quality, rather than lowest cost.
Laser hair removal requires exacting science, individual attention,
experience, and a trained, caring, professional staff.
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Beauty Care Specialists