A lady getting laser hair removal on her leg by a dermatologist.

LASER Hair Removal

I noticed 80% of patients considering LASER Hair Removal Treatment have asked me similar questions. I also noticed that a lot of information available online lacks authenticity, thereby misleading patients into believing untrue or unachievable scenarios. The most frequently asked questions are:

Q. I would like to know about LASER Hair Removal and if I am the right candidate for it?

A. LASER Hair Removal is a procedure wherein hair is removed using a long pulsed machine. This machine emits light of a particular wavelength that is absorbed by the melanin pigment present in the hair. This light generates heat and disables follicles from producing hair. As the surrounding skin is lighter than the colour of the hair, the effect of LASER on one’s skin is minimal, in some cases even absent, depending on the skin type. Because of the melanin, LASER has no effect on grey or blonde hair.

About the right candidacy, anyone can get this treatment done. LASER has gained popularity over the past few years because it is relatively painless, fast, and effective. We are noticing an increasing demand of this procedure by looks-conscious men as well. Best candidate is one with a pale skin and dark coarse hair, as light is absorbed more by dark colour due to melanin. Common areas of hair removal are face, upper limbs, underarms, lower limbs, pubic area, chest, abdomen and back.

I strongly dissuade expecting or breastfeeding mothers from getting LASER done.

Q. What are the most common LASERs used?

A. Three common types of LASERs are used for hair removal:

  • Long pulsed Nd:YAG,
  • Diode, and
  • Alexandrite
    In addition, Intense Pulse Light (IPL) system is also used for hair removal.

For the Indian skin type, best machines are Nd:YAG and Diode LASER. Alexandrite machine works best for white skin.

Q. What are the number of sittings required for LASER Hair Removal treatment?

A. Since hair grows in cycles, we need multiple sittings for an effective result. Most patients need between 8-10 sittings at a gap of 4-6 weeks for best results. Face requires more frequent sittings compared to arms and legs. For best results, compliance from the patient is needed to maintain the required gap between sittings. I have had patients who do not honour the gaps between sittings and are disappointed when they need to undergo additional sittings or when they do not see desired results.

Q. Are there any side effects of the procedure?

A. So to say, LASER is a very safe machine. I always recommend my patients to get it done by a trained professional only. However, there are few temporary side effects that have been observed:

  • Redness in the treated area that may last for 3-4 days
  • Itching after the procedure
  • Perifollicular oedema or swelling around the hair follicle
  • Bruising, crusting and pigmentary changes are rare side effects

A patient may notice a few, all or none of the above. These side effects depend on the individual’s skin type.

Q. Is LASER Hair Removal permanent?

A. Well, this is the most interesting part. The name of the treatment can get slightly deceptive here. LASER treatment helps reduce hair growth. After all the sittings of LASER, we easily notice a permanent reduction in hair growth by 70-80%.

Q. What are the other things to keep in mind before opting for LASER Hair Removal?

A. Well, things I always tell my patients are:

  • Women suffering from hormonal problems / irregular periods should get themselves treated first
  • Avoid colouring / bleaching, waxing or epilation
  • Avoid using a perfume or deodorant on the area to be treated on the day of the procedure
  • Like I mentioned earlier, pregnant or breastfeeding women should NOT opt for this procedure