Most of the hair on our bodies is fine and pale, and usually not visible to the naked eye. But when darker, coarser hair appears in places we don’t like or expect-like on the face, neck, abdomen, breasts or arms-or prevents us from wearing a high-cut bathing suit, shorts, or even a short skirt, it may be time to consider hair removal with the LightSheer Diode Laser. In the past usual remedies for unwanted hair were plucking, shaving, waxing, or chemical depilatories. Some are painful, some are messy, and all are only temporary. For long-term hair removal, electrolysis is popular and effective but can be painful and slow. Hair by hair, an electric current passes through a needle to destroy the hair root’s ability to grow. It usually takes months or even years of regular visits, even for small areas, like the upper lip. Risks include electric shock, infection, and pitting or scarring. Now there is a more effective solution, the new LightSheer Diode Laser, a state-of-the-art system specifically designed to remove unwanted hair faster, less painfully, and more reliable than electrolysis.
Who is a Candidate?
The best candidates are people who desire a permanent method of hair removal, which requires a series of treatments. Coarse, darker hair responds to treatment better than lighter, fine hair.
Lasertrolysis is a method of removing unwanted hair, utilizing laser energy targeted to the hair follicle to cause thermal damage and prevent further hair growth. It was invented by a team of laser dermatologists at the Wellman Laboratories of Photomedicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
A near-infrared light is pulsed through the hair shaft and follicle, resulting in permanent damage to both. The procedure is repeated over many months until the entire area has been treated. If hair starts to grow in the treated area, it is generally best to perform retreatments. This regrowth phase typically occurs between one and six months following the initial treatment.
Patients who are tanned are advised to avoid tanning for two to three months prior to therapy and to use a sunscreen (SPF-15-30) on exposed areas for four to six weeks before treatment. In addition, Dr. Ptak will recommend some patients pretreat with a bleaching cream – 4% hydroquinone twice daily for at least six weeks – prior to treatment. The effectiveness of this bleaching cream can be enhanced by combining its use with topical application of retinoic acid cream 0.025% twice daily for four weeks. Use of the hydroquinone and retinoic acid should be stopped for two weeks prior to treatment. All patients should be advised to avoid waxing, plucking, depilatory creams, or electrolysis for at least 6 weeks prior to the test treatment. They may continue to shave throughout treatment. In fact, a clean shave before treatment may decrease the odor caused by laser destruction of the hair visible above the surface of the skin.
Treatment will result in a mild sunburn-like sensation that typically disappears in 2 to 3 hours. Some mild redness and minor swelling may persist and some “welts” may even occur for two to three days following treatment, but dressings are not usually required. This is normal.
Following treatment, the site should be washed gently twice a day with soap and water. Any crusted areas should be treated twice daily with the application of a topical antibiotic ointment. Redness and swelling can be treated with an over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream and/or aloe vera gel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the hair removal permanent?
Theoretically, damage to the hair follicle can remove unwanted hair permanently, but because of the nature of hair and the many factors that influence the growth of hair, the results are variable. The effect of repeated treatments is cumulative. In fact, most people experience long-term hair removal that is permanent.
Is it safe?
As with any medical treatment, use of the Palomar Pulsed Light Hair Removal can have some side effects. However, side effects have been minor and manageable in clinical use. The precise parameters used for the Palamar Pulsed Light Hair Removal System were carefully defined by studying the anatomy of the hair follicle and precisely matching the color of laser light and the pulse duration of the size, depth, and location of the hair follicle. This research has resulted in a safe technique that effectively eliminates the risk of scarring and substantially reduces most other complications following treatment.
Is it painful?
No treatment to remove unwanted hair is completely painless. Patients who have undergone repeated waxing or hours of electrolysis can attest to the pain caused by commonly used methods of epilation. The Palomar Pulsed Light Hair Removal system is fast which reduces treatment time. It provides long-lasting hair Reduction, reducing the need for repeated treatment. The ChillTip cooling lens helps reduce discomfort while protecting the skin surface from thermal injury during delivery of the pulse of the laser light.
What will the treated area look like after the procedure?
Immediately after treatment, the site will be somewhat swollen, appear slightly red in color, and will feel like a mild sunburn. This reaction subsides over a few hours, and then the treated sites usually return to their normal appearance. The amount of discomfort after this procedure is usually minimal and does not limit most normal physical activities. Since light is used to remove the hair, there is no bleeding and no open wound is created. For this reason, there is no need to apply a bandage and wound care is generally not required.
What other complications have been associated with treatment?
In addition to transient epidermal injury (pain, erythema, edema, blistering), transient hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation and transient textural changes (crusting or scabbing) have been observed in some patients treated with the Palomar Pulsed Light Hair Removal System. Proper patient selection and pretreatment can help minimize these complications. Patients who carry the herpes simplex virus and receive treatment on their upper lip, chin, or lower cheeks may have a “flare-up” of their condition. The risk of this complication can be reduced if the patient takes their antiviral medication for a few days before and after each treatment.
How long does the procedure take?
The amount of time required depends on the size of the area requiring treatment. For example, the upper lip and bikini line may require only 5-15 minutes of treatment, while a much longer period of time will be required to treat the back or legs.
Why should I use the Palomar Pulsed Light Hair Removal System?
The Palomar Pulsed Light Hair Removal System has three advantages over older methods of epilation: comfort, speed, and accuracy. Since the system uses a unique cooling handpiece, it does not cause the kind of skin irritation that other methods may create. Since it is non-invasive (no needles to penetrate the skin), the risk of introducing bacteria into the skin is reduced. Because the system is fast, it allows for larger areas to be treated, considerably increasing the efficiency of the hair removal process. Finally, the Palomar Pulsed Light Hair Removal is a precise instrument that can be adjusted to damage only the hair follicle while minimally affecting the surrounding skin.