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  • Writer's pictureSanta Fe Skin Institue

Laser Hair Reduction

Most of us can relate to unwanted hair in various areas on our bodies. There are temporary ways we can remove hair in these areas such as shaving, waxing, epilating and other methods. All of these can cause irritations on the skin, ingrown hairs, folliculitis and even scarring. Did you know that there is a way to permanently reduce the hair in these areas with laser? The way that laser hair reduction works is that the laser light emitted during your treatment is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. Once it is absorbed, the light energy converts to heat, which then causes damage to the sack that houses the hair follicles. This is what causes the reduction in hair growth.

Here are some frequent questions we get regarding laser hair reduction:

How long does the hair reduction last?

Results can vary from patient to patient. Some people will have hair removal that lasts years and others it may last months. There is no guarantee of complete hair removal and most people will notice that if their hair comes back, it is a lot more fine and lighter in color. Maintenance for long term hair reduction will likely be needed for most patients.

Why do you need multiple treatments?

There are different phases of hair growth. Some of the hairs can be in a growth cycle simultaneously while others are in a loss cycle. Laser treatments work best when we catch the follicles in the new growth stage. Each treatment session, there will be different areas in that cycle than the last treatment.

Does it hurt?

Some patients are more sensitive than others. Most people explain the pain in relation to a small rubber band snap on the skin.

What are the risks?

Some of the risks of the treatment are burns on the skin, skin discoloration, pain and scarring.

How many treatments will I need?

Typically every patient will need 4-6 treatments. There may be maintenance sessions needed years to follow.

Does it work on all hair colors?

The laser only works on dark hair colors and this is because the laser light is attracted to the melanin (pigment) in the hair. Because blonde and red hair do not have this pigment, the laser does not work on these types of hair.

Who shouldn’t get laser hair reduction?

It is contraindicated in pregnancy, with certain medications that cause sun sensitivity, and anybody that has a history of keloid scars. If you have a history of cold sores, let your provider know before treatment so they can prescribe a medication to prevent one from occurring.

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