Dr. Tomova, dermatologist at Skin Line, answers questions giving more clarity on achieving good results from Laser Hair Removal
On the occasion of much and partly contradictory information about the laser hair removal procedure, Dr. Tomova, a dermatologist at Skin Line Clinic, answers questions most often asked by patients who have undergone laser hair removal with different types of laser systems and with unsatisfactory results.
Dr. Tomova has extensive experience in laser and aesthetic dermatology, with many years of practice using Alexandrite, Nd:YAG, Er:YAG, Diode and CO2 lasers to perform both laser hair removal and laser treatments to remove dilated capillaries, skin growths, laser resurfacing and laser rejuvenation as well as treating pigmented lesions and tattoos.
Dr. Tomova, do we need to ask the regular questions about laser hair removal – does it hurt, what intervals are the treatments performed, how should the areas be prepared before the procedure, etc.?
Hardly. These questions were relevant to our patients 6-7+ years ago. Recently, millions of laser hair removal procedures are performed worldwide annually and much has been described and explained in this regard and patients are now well aware of the answers to these questions as well as the specifics of the procedure.
In recent times, we have seen that patients are not just looking for “laser hair removal”, but for the services of a centre with an established and proven track record and a specific type of laser or brand of laser equipment. This means two things: firstly, that interest in the procedure is growing and secondly, that those doing this procedure are looking for a better result.
What are the latest trends in laser hair removal and equipment?
Laser hair removal works on the principle of selective photothermolysis discovered in the USA in the early 1990s. By means of light with a specific wavelength and carefully selected pulse length and strength, maximum damage to the hair follicle, or rather the melanin in it, is aimed at, with minimum damage to the surrounding tissues. Since the first experimental application of the method, American manufacturers of laser equipment have led the way, and this will not change anytime soon, as the scientific and clinical research of dozens of universities and hospitals across the country are behind them. Since the creation of the alexandrite laser for hair removal in 2001, there have been no significant innovations in this field to date. The speed and quality of the devices is growing, but only so much. Recently, there has been a lot of hype about painless, cold and other types of hair removal, where a diode laser is used to gradually build up energy in the hair follicle. In view of the nature of the method, unfortunately the comfortable and painless procedure only temporarily slows hair growth, and eventually we end up going back to traditional medical laser platforms for a truly permanent result.
What are the actual results we can expect after performing the recommended 5-6 laser hair removal treatments?
That is a very nice question! Keep in mind that laser hair removal is not just treating the area with some machine. The result mainly depends on the laser equipment and the possibilities it has. Also of great importance is the competence and experience of the specialist, who assesses the exact settings of the laser and optimally plans the dates of the next treatments – the frequency of the treatments also makes a huge contribution to good results.
The treatment area also makes a difference to the results achieved. For example, in our case, after 3 treatments on the underarm area, the results were amazing – more than 60-70% hair reduction. This is the area with the fastest results.
Factors such as hormonal status, medication intake and last but not least the individuality of each patient also influence the results.
In general, for areas of the body I find that results above 80% after 5-6 treatments are realistically achievable and completely satisfactory.
Dr. Tomova, how do you choose the most suitable laser and centre with such a large offer of laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is the only method that gives a permanent solution to the problem, so the interest in it is increasing, and as the demand grows, so does the supply of this service.
Choosing the right equipment is paramount. More and more patients are undergoing 10 or more procedures without achieving even a 50% reduction in hair. This is not a good result and in this regard if you notice that after a few treatments the result is not satisfactory, consider changing the laser center and system.
As you know, the ideal combination for performing an effective procedure, are light skin and dark and dense hair – under these conditions, you will notice the effect of almost all laser systems, of course, with some of them, the result is better. After a few treatments, the hair not only thins, but the hairs also change their structure – they begin to grow finer and less pigmented, ie lighter and less noticeable.
This is a challenge for almost all laser systems. It is important to know that to effectively treat finer and lighter hair, the laser system needs to emit a large amount of energy in a very short time, and this is unattainable for most lasers.
Only the Alexandrite laser can emit over 30J of energy at an extremely short pulse of 3-5ms, which is quite sufficient to effectively treat even the finest hairs. These are usually the areas of the face, legs and arms – areas that most women have previously treated with an epilator, tweezers or waxing. These are also the areas where clients have most often done many treatments without good results. This in this case is due to the inappropriate choice of laser.
Worldwide, there are not many laser systems that are distinguished by their power, which contributes to a better effect with fewer treatments – the most familiar and proven are the American brands Cynosure and Candela. That is why in our clinics we have chosen to work with one of them – Cynosure and the Cynosure Elite+ laser system.
One last question. What would you advise people who have undergone laser hair removal but are not satisfied with the results?
Laser hair removal is one of the most commonly used aesthetic procedures in the world. It is perfectly safe, without any side effects and gives outstanding results if done by an experienced professional and with good equipment. If the results you have received are unsatisfactory, you have not come to the right place. Trust experienced specialists at a reputable centre with a history and you won’t go wrong again.
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