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MEDICAL PROCEDURES > LASER HAIR REMOVAL

LASER HAIR REMOVAL

It is a technique to remove hair by applying light, either intense (IPL) or laser, on the skin. During this process, the hair follicle is selectively removed as the melanin (the pigment that gives hair its colour) present absorbs light radiation and heated up, thus destroying/weakening the hair follicle and making it difficult to regrow.

Advantages of laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is a technique that offers many advantages for its ease of use in comparison with conventional methods. The treatment is simple, quick, safe, and effective. It is usually painless.

  • Suitable for both male and female and any age group.
  • It provides long-lasting (even permanent) results.
  • It can be applied to any area of the body: face, neck, chest, armpits, arms, legs, abdomen, back, buttocks, hands, feet, etc.
  • It does not damage the skin nor does it affect the sebaceous or sweat glands.

 

Indications

  • Cosmetic hair removal
  • Pseudo-folliculitis/Folliculitis in the non-inflammatory phase.
  • Excess hair problems, whether due to hormones in areas of the female body normally associated with males such as belly, face, chest… (hirsutism), or due to excessive non-hormonal dependent growth in any area (hypertrichosis).
  • Recurring pilonidal cyst or previous history in patients with hypertrichosis.

 

Contraindications

  • In cases of diabetes (risk of burns), fever, presence of recurring herpes simplex in the area to be treated (unless a preventative treatment is carried out), dermatitis, or infections or a history of skin cancer.
  • Photosensitivity caused by an illness (epilepsy) or drugs.
  • Tanned skin (wait one month after the last exposure to sun or use proper platforms that are currently available).
  • Not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding (hormonal changes may make the treatment less effective) nor for skin with IV or V phototype (for some types of laser).
  • No recomendado en embarazo y lactancia (los cambios hormonales pueden hacer que el tratamiento sea poco efectivo) ni en pieles con fototipo IV o V (para algunos tipos de láser).
  • Pigmented lesions you wish to leave untreated.
  • High risk of keloid scarring.
  • Immunosuppressed patients.

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Risks of laser hair removal

The most frequent side effects we can find are normally temporary and not severe:

  • Temporary erythema (redness in the area)
  • Peri-follicular oedema (inflammation)
  • Pain/slight stinging sensation during the treatment (alleviated with application of cold compress)
  • Although side effects may be experienced that we must take into account, such as:
  • Folliculitis
  • Hyperpigmentation/Hypopigmentation
  • Scabs
  • Purpura
  • Erosions
  • Scars
  • Photophobia
  • Temporary increase in hairiness.
  • Palpebral oedema

 

Technique

Laser hair removal techniques include laser hair removal as well as pulsed light hair removal. A light beam with special characteristics is used in both cases. The laser has a single wavelength and the IPL has different wavelengths.

There are several types of lasers and, depending on the wavelength emitted, will be more suitable for one type of hair or another:

  • Ruby laser, with a 695 nm wavelength, is especially indicated for light skins (I-II) and black hair.
  • Diode laser, with a 810 nm wavelength, is used on dark skins (III-IV) and dark hair.
  • Alexandrite laser, with a 755 nm wavelength, is used on dark hair with an average skin tone (II-III).
  • Neodymium-Yag laser, with a 1064 nm wavelength, may be used on any type of skin.

Laser hair removal is a very popular technique due to its effectiveness. Treated hair usually falls or weakens in a few days, although treatment is normally repeated after a few weeks for the hair that was in an unfavourable growth phase during the first application. However, the result is normally very satisfactory and the effects last for months and even years.

The effectiveness of the treatment depends to a large extent on the colour of the skin and hair, as well as the hair thickness, the depth at which it is located and the growth phase it is in. It also depends on age, gender and the area to remove hairs from. As a general rule, it is most effective in patients with light-coloured skin and thick, dark hair. The areas most easily treated are the groin, armpits, and the legs. Factors that affect the positive outcome of the treatment are light, fine hair, dark skin, and the facial area. The most complicated areas to treat are the lumbar region, the upper arms, and the hands.

Certain parameters of this technology such as the wavelength, intensity and duration, will have to be adapted to the specific characteristics of the patient.

It is only allowed for use by medical personnel who have the appropriate qualification and experience.

Number of sessions needed

Treatment must be performed across several sessions with varying time intervals between applications that depend on the area to be treated. Initially, they are performed monthly, but the interval in between sessions will increase as the hair disappears and according to the hair’s growth phases.

The number of sessions depends on the colour and thickness of the hair. However, we must consider that age, gender, hormonal condition, and the area to treat are factors that affect the number of sessions.

The average total amount of sessions may be between 6 and 8, except in the treatment of facial areas which need around 10 sessions given their high hormonal incidence.

Laser hair removal treatment in Valencia

• Dr. Gabriel Serrano Sanmiguel

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