What's the deal with laser hair removal?

January 24, 2013

What's the deal with laser hair removal?
What's the deal with laser hair removal?

If you're used to shaving, waxing or bleaching your body hair, then you may be wondering what's all the buzz about laser hair removal? According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), this procedure can replace other methods of removing hair, leaving long-lasting results that are less time consuming than shaving and less painful than waxing. If you're considering laser hair removal as an option, here are some things to keep in mind:

How does it work?
The idea of a laser beam may seem intimidating when talking about such an intimate topic, but the reality is that laser hair removal is a highly advanced and safe way to reduce hair growth. Your board-certified plastic surgeon will use a low-energy laser beam to pass through the skin. The beam will be attracted to the pigment of hair follicles, which is why the procedure is not as effective with gray/white hair. The energy from the beam will pass down the hair shaft until it's absorbed by actively growing hair follicles, disabling the follicles in the deeper layers of the skin.

Does it hurt?
If you've undergone electrolysis before, you might assume that laser hair removal is a painful experience, but in reality, patients who elect to go through with this procedure should only experience temporary pain – like a hot snap. In fact, patients aren't even put under anesthesia in most circumstances. If you wax 4-6 times a year, imagine having laser hair removal 6 times and being almost hair free.

Who gets laser hair removal?
The procedure can be used by almost anyone who has hair growing in places they'd prefer were bare. It's not just for women - men who grow hair on their back, shoulders or other parts of the body may want to consider undergoing laser hair removal as well. Talk to a board-certified plastic surgery about where you think you'd like your treatment targeted, and he or she will be able to tell you whether or not you're a good candidate.

How long does it take?
According to ASAPS, the length of a hair removal treatment is largely dictated by how much hair is being removed and where it is located on the body. Individual treatments can take anywhere from several minutes to a few hours. However, patients may need to return for several treatments, as laser hair removal only targets actively growing hair, and not all hair on the body grows at the same time.

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. The Aesthetic Society is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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