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All You Need to Know About Laser Hair Removal

Excessive hair growth can be either hypertrichosis or hirsutism. The former is a growth of body hair in either abnormal or normal pattern, while the latter is basically excessive hair growth on a woman’s body and face. Fortunately, laser hair removal can help solve the problem of excessive body hair.

Overview of Laser Hair Removal

This procedure involves getting rid of unwanted hair using pulses of laser light to destroy hair follicles. According to a report published in the Archives of Dermatology, the Massachusetts General Hospital was the first institution to employ this method of hair removal in 1998. Since then, laser hair removal has gained traction, with dermatologic surgeons performing almost 500,000 treatments in 2011 alone, according to statistics from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

A report published by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) states that lasers work well on light-skinned people with dark hair. This is because, for such people, the surrounding skin does not absorb significant amounts of laser light. However, by using a laser device that produces a longer wavelength, the procedure can work for darker-skinned people, as well.

Laser Hair Removal

How It Works

To destroy hair follicles, a physician uses an intense pulsed light (IPL) device to deliver concentrated beams of light through the patient’s skin. To minimize pain during this procedure, the FDA recommends applying a topical anesthetic to the body area that will undergo hair removal. It is worth noting that some laser light devices come with a cooling mechanism to reduce any pain or discomfort that a patient might experience during the procedure. Moreover, this cooling mechanism protects the skin from damage caused by excessive heating.

The Procedure

First, the doctor/technician performing this procedure will trim your hair to a few millimeters above the skin surface. Then, the doctor will deliver light pulses to the desired area. For safety reason, you should wear eye protection during the procedure. After the procedure, the doctor will provide you with anti-inflammatory lotions or ice packs to apply to the treated area.


Lasers are great at selectively removing unwanted hair without damaging the surrounding skin. They reduce the growth of hair over time meaning you may not have to undergo multiple hair removal procedures in the future. Additionally, you do not have to spend time shaving or undergoing waxing to get rid of embarrassing hair before going on holiday.

Potential Risks

The FDA says that laser hair removal can cause side effects such as skin redness, blistering, swelling, or skin discoloration. The FDA further advises patients to avoid direct sunlight soon after treatment. Moreover, New York is among 35 states that do not have regulations or laws governing laser hair removal. This means that people without a medical background can offer the treatment.

Overall, if you are uncomfortable with excessive hair on your body, you should consider visiting a laser hair removal facility such as a medical spa. At such a facility, a trained technician will use a device that emits laser light to get rid of all the unwanted body hair. Most importantly, you should only receive laser hair removal treatment in facilities that use lasers approved by the FDA.

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