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San Diego Laser Hair Removal

Unwanted hair growth may appear on many areas of the body including the upper lip, sideburns, chin, ears, chest, back, underarms, legs, fingers, feet, or toes. Lasers such as the LightSheer diode laser can help eliminate unwanted hair. In addition to treating hair, the diode laser can also treat blood vessels and brown sun spots.

How does the hair laser work?

Lasers transmit a single wavelength of energy into the skin that is absorbed by the melanin (pigment) which is concentrated in the hair follicle. Because only a certain proportion of hairs are in the growth phase, repeated treatments are required for significant hair reduction. The ideal candidate for hair laser reduction is the light-skinned, dark-haired individual. This contrast enables the laser to target the pigment of the hair follicle without transmitting heat energy to the surrounding skin and causing a burn. The LightSheer device can successfully reduce hair in individuals with darker skin and most hair types.

The hair laser tends to be more effective for body areas with thinner (e.g. underarms) rather than thicker (e.g. back) skin. Treatments are generally performed at 4-week intervals, with 10-25% reduction in hair growth with each treatment. Hair that does re-grow tends to be finer and lighter in color.

For best results:

  • DO NOT tweeze or wax the area to be treated for ONE MONTH prior to treatment.
  • The area to be treated should be shaved two days prior to treatment.
  • Individuals on Accutane currently or within the last 6 months should not have this procedure.
  • The area treated should not be tanned.

Description of Laser Hair Treatment

Application of a topical anesthetic cream prior to treatment can make the laser treatment more comfortable. The laser pulse feels like a rubber-band snapping on the skin. Slight swelling and redness develop around the hair follicles within a few minutes and usually fades within several hours.

After-care

Application of a mild steroid cream, cool compresses and over-the-counter analgesics can be taken as needed after treatment to reduce swelling and redness. Patients are advised to avoid sun exposure to treated sites for 2 weeks. When treated areas are exposed to sun, a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater should be used.

What are the risks and possible side effects?

Uncommonly, blistering, herpes simplex outbreaks, bacterial infections or a burn can occur. Temporary lightening or darkening of the skin may also occur. Permanent discoloration and scarring are very rare. Rarely, treatment with the hair laser can actually stimulate hair growth (mostly in individuals of Middle-Eastern descent).

Feel free to ask the Dr. Chen and the staff at Insight Dermatology for more information regarding laser hair removal and whether you would be a good candidate for this procedure.