You may have heard laser hair removal is painful, or that it’s painless. You’ve probably seen it described as permanent, or not permanent. It works miracles, or it doesn’t work. These are a few examples of the misinformation and conflicting information that New Orleans patients are exposed to. What is the truth?
Claims that laser hair removal is unsafe for dark or sensitive skin originate from outdated information, or refer to outdated devices. Modern laser technology can be used safely on any skin type or skin tone. However, it is a precision treatment requiring good judgement. Like any laser, the device can cause burns if used improperly, so the safety is largely dependent on the quality of the provider.
Laser energy only works on hair follicles in the active growth phase. At any given time, a certain percentage of follicles are in the resting phase. With multiple treatments at optimal time intervals, we can treat nearly all follicles, but it is technically impossible to eliminate 100 percent of follicles.
Think of it as a math equation. If you remove half, and then remove half of what is left, and keep repeating, you will eventually have almost nothing, but never reach zero. In legal terms, the result is usually described by the FDA as permanent reduction rather that permanent removal. In practical terms, it means that most patients can remain hair-free with a touch-up once a year at most.
Coarse, dark colored hairs readily absorb energy, and usually respond quickly to laser treatment. Light colored, fine hairs may be less responsive. Laser hair removal can still be effective unless the hairs are completely devoid of pigment. However, more treatment sessions are needed to achieve desired results. Your dermatologist will explain the expected results and number of treatments during your consultation.