Dermatologists Debunk Common Misconceptions About Laser Hair Removal

Laser Hair Removal  At The Bay & On Unley have always considered laser hair removal to be a medical procedure to be performed by qualified medical professionals and not beauticians.  Great care must be given and we do our utmost to deliver the best results possible.  We are also very proud to have clients referred to us by Specialist GP’s, Dermatologists, General and Plastic surgeons  in Adelaide.
We came across a great article published by the American Academy of Dermatology and published on on 26/11/2018 discussing the importance of seeking out medical professionals. 
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow:  Dermatologists Debunk Common Misconceptions About Laser Hair Removal; American Academy of Dermatology.
When performed by a doctor, laser hair removal is a safe, effective and permanent solution for removing unwanted face and body hair.  This clinically tested, FDA-approved treatment has been around since the mid-1990’s and is a very common procedure among young adults ages 20 to 45.  However, the results don’t occur overnight, say dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology, and in inexperienced hands, laser hair removal can be dangerous. Performed improperly, the treatment can result in burns, permanent skin colour changes and even scars.  To reduce the risk of possible side effects and ensure an effective treatment, the AAD recommends that consumers only seek laser hair removal from a medical doctor who is extremely skilled in using lasers and  has in-depth knowledge of the skin.
“Because  of its popularity, laser hair removal might seem like a procedure that anyone can do , but in the wrong hands, it can cause serious skin damage,’ says board-certified dermatologist Carolyn I. Jacob, MD, FASD, an associate clinical instructor of dermatology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.  “Since it’s not without risks, it’s important for people seeking laser hair removal to make sure that the person treating them is a physician.  It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the procedure, as a lot of misconceptions exist about what laser hair removal is and what it can and can’t do.”
To help separate fact from fiction, Dr Jacob addresses the most common misconceptions about laser hair removal, as identified below:
1. “it’s effective on blond, white, gray or red hair.”  Although laser hair removal has come a long way since the mid-1990’s, unfortunately , it won’t work on blonde, white, grey or red hair, as lasers that can effectively target light-coloured hair haven’t been developed yet.  If you have blonde, white, grey or red hair, be suspicious of any business that says it can perform laser hair removal on you.
2. “If you have dark skin, you can’t have laser hair removal.”  Today, laser hair removal can be performed on all skin types, as long as there is a contrast between your skin and your hair colour.  However, since people with darker skin are more prone to burns and hyper pigmentation (dark marks), make sure the doctor treating you has experience performing laser hair removal on darker skin tones.   In addition, ask what type of laser will be used, as there are specific lasers for people with darker skin tones, such as the Nd: “YAG laser, which has 1,064-nm wavelength.
3. “Anyone can perform laser hair removal.” When performed by a board certified dermatologist, laser hair removal is safe and effective, and potential side effects are rare.  However, a common misconception is that anyone can perform laser hair removal, even those without a medical degree.  As a result dermatologists are seeing more and more patients visit them with complications, including burns, blisters, infections and skin lightening or darkening, after having their laser hair removal performed by an unexperienced provider.   Unfortunately, these complications are sometimes permanent and result in scarring.  To prevent complications, make sure your laser hair removal is performed by a board-certified dermatologist, who has the education, training and experience needed to provide the best cosmetic treatment available.
4. “It’s not permanent’.  To most people’s surprise, laser hair removal is permanent on most areas of the body, except for the face in women, due to hormones.  This is because laser hair removal destroys the hair follicles for actively growing hair, and these follicles don’t regenerate in most body parts, like the underarms, bikini or lower legs.  However, it can take six sessions or more to target all of the hair follicles while they’re in growing stage.  If the hair follicle isn’t in the growing stage or isn’t completely destroyed, the hair will continue to grow.
5. “It’s for women only.” On the contrary, more men than ever before are seeking laser hair removal as a way to permanently eliminate unwanted hair, as well as issues like razor burn and ingrown hairs.  Men receive treatment primarily on their face, necks and backs, and many men turn to laser hair removal to help sculpt their beards and sideburns.
6. “It hurts.” When performed by a board-certified dermatologist, laser hair removal should result in little to no discomfort and is much less painful than tweezing, waxing or getting a tattoo.  However, the amount of pain a person feels is dependent on the area of the boy they’re treating, as well as their pain tolerance.  Patients are given the option of using a topical anaesthetic before the treatment, and when this is used, laser hair removal feels like a light rubber band snapping against the skin.
“Although laser hair removal is very common, it’s important to remember that it’s a serious procedure that involves aiming a powerful laser beam at your hair follicle.” Says Dr. Jacob. “To prevent complications, make sure your treatment is performed by a medical doctor who is extremely skilled in using lasers and has in-depth knowledge of the skin.  If you experience any paid or discolouration after receiving laser hair removal, see a board-certified dermatologist right away.”
In recognition of National Healthy Skin Month, the AAD is reminding the public about how to find trustworthy sources of information on medical and cosmetic procedures, including laser hair removal.   A  board-certified dermatologist has the education,  training and e3xperience to provide the best possible medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment to patients.  After earning a bachelor’s degree and medical degree, board-certified dermatologist must complete four additional years of education ,including a one year  internship0 and three years of dermatology residency. Before seeking dermatologic care, the AAD recommends that everyone make sure their dermatologist is board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology, the Amer5ican Osteopathic  Association, or he Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.