GentleMAX laser specifically designed for hair removal. This particular laser was designed in such a way that, in most cases, the top layer of skin (epidermis) is not injured as the pigmented hair sheath cells are destroyed. There is almost no chance for destruction or scarring of the surrounding skin.
Following a hair laser session, the skin can develop a mild erythema (redness) or may have small raised areas. Any change in skin appearance should fade in 24 hours or less. Most patients do not require any post-treatment wound care other than daily washing of the area with soap and water.
Photos courtesy of Medical Laser Technologies, Inc.
Most patients require three to five treatments to destroy the hairs, however, the number of treatments required and the effectiveness may vary based on location of the body. A four to eight week period between treatments is usually recommended Large areas of hairy skin (i.e. the back or thighs) can take 30 to 60 minutes to treat. A large area may be treated at one visit or the treatment may be broken up into smaller sessions depending on the patient’s wishes.
Most of our patients will not require anesthesia. For those patients who do not use any anesthesia, there is a stinging or burning experienced during the treatment. Some patients, particularly children, will find it more comfortable to apply a topical anesthetic (EMLA Cream) to the skin one to two hours before the office treatment.
Treated hairs will be expelled slowly over the week following each laser treatment. Since only hairs in the anagen stage of growth will respond to treatment, new anagen hairs may grow in the area between treatments. These newly growing anagen hairs will be treated at the next session. Some treated hairs may re-grow finer in texture, they will be retreated and disappear over time.
The risk of scarring is quite small. The most common side effect is a discoloration of the skin, which is a result of laser irritation of pigment cells at the treatment site. This discoloration may be lighter or darker than your normal skin. Color changes usually return to normal within three to six months after laser treatment. Discoloration is not common. Recent tanning or tropical sun exposure can increase the risk of discoloration, blistering and scar formation. Ask for a bleaching cream for use before and after treatment if you spend time in the sun. Also, it is felt that your response will be greatly improved if you wear #30 or higher sun block (containing titanium dioxide) over the treated area when you go in the sun after a treatment.
The technology of these lasers is much more sophisticated than other methods of hair removal. Laser hair removal is considered to be a cosmetic service; therefore, insurance does not cover it.