Laser Hair Reduction

The use of lasers for skin resurfacing and the reduction of hair on the face and body is now so routine is offered in non-clinical settings, much to the dismay of physicians -- and to the detriment of patients who are treated by operators without medical training, and left permanently scarred.

Because of its permanence and efficiency when compared to other methods of hair removal such as shaving, waxing, electrolysis, or depilatory creams, laser hair reduction/removal is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures. Unwanted hair almost anywhere on the body, including the face, upper lip, chest, back, arms, legs, and bikini line, can be effectively and safely eradicated with laser treatment.

Dr. Westine and his staff use the latest laser technology, the Lumenis Ultrapulse, to optimize permanent hair reduction. By directing the laser light energy to the melanin in the hair shaft, the hair follicle is selectively destroyed while leaving the surrounding tissue unharmed. Unlike electrolysis, which removes hair one at a time, the laser can reach many hair follicles at once. This is why it is so important to have your laser hair reduction performed in a medical office under a doctor’s supervision.

At any given time, a hair follicle will be in one of three growth cycles. Because the laser only affects those hairs in the active growth phase, patients will require several treatments at regular monthly intervals to get the best results. The ideal time for repeat treatment is when the hair begins to regrow. This will be different for different areas of the body. For the face, armpit, and bikini it is usually one to two months. For the back and legs, it may be two to three months. Patients with dark hair will have consistently better results than patients with red, grey, or blonde hair.

Prior to treatment…

  • Patients should stay out of the sun and should begin treatment without a tan.
  • Patients should not pluck, wax, or have electrolysis in the treated area for at least six weeks prior to laser treatment.
  • Patients with a history of herpes simplex 1 or 2 will require oral antiviral medication (Zovirax or Famvir) starting the day prior to the laser treatment. This is important so as to avoid the reactivation of the Herpes virus.
  • Patients using Accutane should stop their Accutane at least six months prior to treatment.

As with all laser procedures, a thorough health assessment and realistic expectations are prerequisites. Your understanding of procedures, routines, and risks is essential to a successful final result. Following your consultation, we continue our discussion at the pre-procedure appointment.

The success and safety of your laser hair reduction procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your initial consultation. Dr. Westine will ask a number of questions about your health, desires, and lifestyle.

Be prepared to discuss:

  • Why you want the procedure, your expectations, and desired outcome
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies, and medical treatments
  • Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
  • Any previous surgeries

Dr. Westine may also:

  • Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
  • Take photographs for your medical record
  • Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
  • Discuss likely outcomes of laser hair reduction and any risks or potential complications

For more information about laser hair reduction or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Westine, please contact Delray Beach Plastic Surgery.

The Procedure

  • In House Surgical Center
  • 30 minutes to one hour

The Recovery

  • Minimal discomfort, if any. As with any laser procedure, swelling or redness is to be expected.
  • The sunburned feeling and swelling usually lasts for one to three hours.
  • The application of ice can provide relief and will also work to reduce the swelling.
  • The redness following the laser can persist for several days and can easily be covered by makeup.
  • Occasionally, several days after treatment it may appear as though the hair is re-growing. It is not. These are actually carbonized hair casts of the hair follicle that was treated. These casts will be shed without any treatment or can easily be pulled out with tweezers.
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