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Laser Hair Reduction - Know Procedure Of It!

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, DNB - Dermatology & Venereology
Dermatologist, Mumbai  •  16 years experience
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Hello everyone! My name is Dr. Mansi Sanghvi. I am a Dermatologist. In our clinic, we have been providing solutions to our patients pertaining to dermatology & cosmetology and also trichology. Today I will be talking to you about a topic which interests not only women but also men. It is Laser Hair Reduction. So we have been hearing about this from everyone around us- our friends and family. What is Laser Hair Reduction? It’s a treatment to help you get rid of unwanted body hair wherever you have them. So how does the laser work? So laser works on the active growth phase of the hair follicle which is the root of the hair. It works only on the growth phase that means the hair has to be actively dividing when the laser is given to that part. So at a given time, we have only 50% of the hair in the active growth phase and that’s why only those hair would be dying when we give them the laser dose. That’s why you need to take multiple sessions to help all of the hair become much finer or die completely. We always talk about this Laser Hair Reduction & not removal. So what is the difference? When we do laser we are working on 4 parameters of hair.

So, first is that with laser about 85 to 90% of the strand should die & they should not regrow. Second, the remaining strand should become lighter & finer so that is not a hassle for you to manage them. Third, it also has to work upon the rate of regrowth of the hair. It means that let's say the way you shave your hair and it usually is out and it is growing back in 2 or 3 days. When you have done a couple of sessions of laser, the hair does not regrow like for a couple of weeks or maybe up to one and a half or 2 months as well. The laser also lightens the colour of the hair so the hair almost becomes translucent and is hardly visible. These are the 4 parameters- number of hair, the colour of hair, the thickness of the hair & rate of regrowth which always reduces pretty well with a laser. And hence we call it Laser Hair Reduction. So who all can do it? Anyone who is over the age of 18 years, anyone who is healthy and anyone who has no sensitivity issue of the skin. For those who have sensitivity issue we always do a patch test for the laser so that at least we can do out any harmful effect if at all that’s happening to the patient. Now let's talk about how to manage life around the laser. We usually say that you need about 6 to 10 sessions of laser depending upon how is your growth and what body parts we are talking about. The interval between 2 session would be somewhere between one to one and a half months.

I always tell my patients to come back by the time they start seeing 50 to 55% of the strands which are growing back. In between the laser session what all you can do if your hair is growing back? You can shave you can trim with a pair of scissors but what you cannot do is waxing threading bleaching or plucking. Those things destroy the hair follicles hence the laser will not work on them. So the only thing you can do is to shave or to trim with a pair of scissors. Now what to expect while you are undergoing laser? Once we start the laser what we do is that first of all we need to shave the area so that we are giving entire energy to the roots itself, then we give the laser to you what happens when we give laser you might feel a little bit of warmth, little bit of prickly heat inside in certain area which is perfectly comfortable to bear. Post that, all of our lasers have inbuilt cooling technologies so that the cooling is instant and you don’t have any long-standing redness or little soreness if at all. We always give you a cream to apply on that part for the next 2 days so that the sensitivity of the skin goes down and it recovers pretty well. You need to use the sunscreen at least 2 or 3 times a day for next 3 days very well because that will help you prevent damage induced by the sun. These are the few things you need to be careful about. I practice in the area where a lot of people are migrants. Let's say they are working somewhere else, they are coming in & out of Mumbai or they are studying somewhere else. So to those patients, I give a couple of sessions. A couple of treatments are done when they are little better, I would say 40 to 50% and if they travel I give them certain cream which helps to reduce the regrowth of the hair and it gives them a good amount of time to manage the regrowth pretty well. It doesn’t grow out so fast so they don’t have to shave too often. Once they come back we resume from where we had left. If you are continuing the treatment at the regular interval it is going to give you much better results. It's okay if you can't manage the regular interval, it cannot compromise on the result too badly. It is alright. So now comes one question. You may have heard about a few things from your friends or family that laser hasn’t worked for them. So why do you think it won't work? The laser works on everyone but if you have underlying hormonal conditions let's say polycystic ovaries or hypothyroid then the efficiency of the laser goes down by 10 to 15%. It doesn’t mean it won't work but of course, it will be less efficient. How do we help such patients?

We start with the treatment, if the treatment is going well we continue with it. But if we see that we are not getting the result that we expect in 3 or 4 sessions then we start them on certain tablets, certain antihormones or hormones tablets, of course after consulting with them. These tablets help the hair to get released from the hormonal influence and that’s when the laser starts working on them and we can achieve a better result for those patients. Next question would be efficiency & safety. As discussed there could be a little downtime but not too bad. Hardly there would be a downtime of 15 minutes to 2 hours at the most which would be little redness or soreness of that area. That’s it. Nowadays with better laser, better-trained doctors or technicians, the downtime is almost close to zero minutes. So here is the information that I wanted to share with you today. I hope you found it useful and if you have any questions on this or if you want to consult with me you can book an appointment with me through Lybrate.com. Thank you very much.

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