Consumer Guide to Laser Hair Removal, Part 3

A complete guide for the consumer containing important information on laser hair removal.

11. Myths 3: Laser hair removal limitation of effectiveness.
Contrary to the statements of those unfamiliar with this new technology, laser hair removal is effective when properly performed for the great majority of candidates. Non-responders are usually limited to those with blonde or red hair.

12. Qualifications of laser hair removal personnel.
Requirements vary by state. In California laser hair removal can only be performed by a licensed M.D., R.N, or Nurse Practitioner. Electrologists, Medical Assistants, and other unlicensed personnel cannot perform laser hair removal.

13. Importance of experience in selecting a laser hair removal facility.
Experience is crucial in selecting the proper laser parameters to use for any given area for any individual patient. Centers with the most experience generally have the best results.

14. Tanning and laser hair removal.
Tanning and laser hair removal are not compatible. Tanning prior to the procedure will necessitate turning the laser power down, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the treatment.

15. Adverse treatment reactions.
Pigmentary change of the skin treated can occur, including either dark or light areas. Pigmentary changes may persist for months, but are almost always temporary. They are very rare in patients with fair skin who are untanned. Blisters and burns are rare but occasionally occur, particularly in patients with dark skin.

16. Diet and laser hair removal.
Diet is generally unrelated, except for Beta-Carotene, which interferes with the treatment.

17. Beta-Carotene and laser hair removal.
Beta Carotene, found in carrots, vitamin A supplements, squash, and other vegetables, is deposited in the skin, producing a subtle orange or yellow color in the skin. This pigment absorbs laser energy, preventing it from reaching the hair follicle, and increasing the absorption of laser energy in the skin. Beta carotene persists for months after ingestion. Patients interested in the best results from laser hair removal will benefit from discontinuation of the use of all forms of beta carotene.

18. Laser hair removal and children.
Laser hair removal is successful for children but it does require their cooperation.

19. Laser hair removal for African-Americans.
The darker one's skin, the more difficult it is to obtain adequate results from laser hair removal. The darker one's skin the more sessions one requires and the greater the chance of an adverse result. New lasers (2004) available at specialized laser hair removal centers can now provide effective laser hair removal for most patients, now matter what their skin type.

20. Laser hair removal for other people of color.
The best results are obtained when the hair to be treated is considerably darker than the surrounding skin. Also coarse hair is easier to remove. Fine, light hair in people of color is difficult to remove.

21. Who should not have laser hair removal.
Patients with a recently acquired dark tan. Blondes or redheads with any recent tan. People of color with fine, light hair. Anyone who cannot afford multiple sessions(one treatment is rarely adequate).

22. How to assess a laser hair removal facility.
Research the qualifications of the Medical Director of the facility. Is he or she Board Certified in Dermatology? Is there more than one Board Certified Doctor on the staff? Are all personnel performing the procedure licensed physicians or Registered Nurses? Is the facility affiliated with an academic medical center? Is the atmoshere professional? Remember this is a medical procedure, and should be selected with the same care you give to selecting a surgeon.