Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a laser — an intense, pulsating beam of light — to
remove unwanted hair. During laser hair removal, a laser beam passes through the skin to an individual
hair follicle. The intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth.
Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair. Although laser hair
removal effectively slows hair growth, it doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. It typically takes
several laser hair removal treatments to provide an extended hair-free period. Periodic maintenance
treatments may be needed as well.
Why it is done?
Laser hair removal is used to remove unwanted hair. Common treatment locations include legs, armpits,
upper lip, chin and bikini line. However, it’s possible to treat unwanted hair in nearly any area.
Hair color and skin type influence the success of laser hair removal. For example, laser hair removal is
most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair because the laser beam targets the pigment
(melanin) in the hair. People who have darker skin can also attempt laser hair removal, but the laser
beam may also affect the melanin in the skin. Laser hair removal isn’t generally effective for white, blond
or gray hair — although treatment options for lighter hair continue to be investigated.
Laser hair removal doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. Some hair may be resistant to the laser
treatment or may grow again after treatment — although the new hair growth may be finer and lighter in
The most common side effects of laser hair removal include:
Skin irritation. Temporary irritation, crusting or scabbing is possible after laser hair removal.
Pigment changes. Laser hair removal may darken or lighten the affected skin, usually temporarily.
Skin lightening primarily affects those who have darker skin, especially if an incorrect laser is used at an
Rarely, laser hair removal may cause blistering, scarring or other changes in skin texture, however
by minimizing risks such as sun tanning and choosing the appropriate wavelength for darker skinned
individuals this risk is rare.
How to Prepare for the procedure
If you’re interested in laser hair removal, it is important to choose a physician who is well trained in laser
and light sources. Dr. Saluja is fellowship trained in dermatologic cosmetic surgery and she will be
performing your procedures. If a physician’s assistant or licensed nurse will do the procedure, make sure
the doctor supervises and is available on-site during the treatments. Be cautious about spas, salons or
other facilities that allow nonmedical personnel to do laser hair removal.
Before laser hair removal, schedule a consultation with the doctor. Dr. Saluja will use this visit to:
Review your medical history, including medication use
Discuss risks, benefits and expectations, including what laser hair removal can and can’t do for you
Outline a treatment plan and related costs
Take photos to be used for before-and-after assessments and long-term reviews
The doctor will also offer specific tips to prepare for laser hair removal. For example:
Stay out of the sun. A tan increases the risk of side effects, such as blistering and discoloration.
If you have a tan — either from sun exposure or sunless tanning products — wait until the tan fades
completely before undergoing laser hair removal.
Avoid plucking, waxing and electrolysis. These hair removal methods can disturb the hair follicle
and interfere with laser hair removal. Shaving is OK, however, since it preserves the hair shaft and
follicle. In fact, shaving may even be recommended. Some studies suggest that shaving before laser hair
removal improves results.
What you can expect
Before laser hair removal, you’ll be fitted with special goggles to protect your eyes from the laser beam.
During the procedure
Dr. Saluja will utilize the state of art Elite MPX laser to treat your skin. Cold air will blow from the laser to
protect the epithelium of the skin and to minimize any discomfort.
When the doctor activates the laser, the laser beam will pass through your skin to the tiny follicles where
hair growth originates. The intense heat from the laser beam damages the hair follicles, which inhibits hair
growth. You may feel a stinging sensation.
Treating a small area, such as the upper lip, may take only a few minutes. Treating a larger area, such as
the back, may take an hour.
After the procedure
You may notice redness and swelling for the first few hours after laser hair removal. A stinging sensation
may linger for a day or two. The affected skin may also become slightly crusty.
While you’re healing from laser hair removal, wash your skin gently with soap and water. Avoid picking
at or vigorously scrubbing the affected skin. It’s also important to avoid sun exposure — both natural
sunlight and tanning beds — for at least one week after treatment. After this period, use sunscreen
whenever you’re in the sun.
Results of laser hair removal vary greatly from person to person. Multiple treatments can prolong
the duration of hair loss, but hair regrowth is still possible. For best results, you may need four to six
treatments spaced a number of weeks apart. Additional periodic maintenance treatments — perhaps
once every six to 12 months — may be needed as well.