Laser Hair Removal - Medical Malpractice Lawyers

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Laser Hair Removal - Medical Malpractice

Men and women both have problems with excessive hair growth in one or more parts of their body. In women, it is more common to have excessive hair growth in the face, chin and neck. In men, they often want to remove the hair from their chests or buttocks. Either way, laser hair removal can take care of the problem with a minimum of pain and a short recovery time. There are several laser hair removal techniques you'll want to learn about.

Excessive growth of hair is called hirsuitism or hypertrichosis. In hypertrichosis, hair occurs excessively in a normal pattern or in an abnormal pattern. It is due to genes, hormones, malnutrition, tumours, metabolic problems or medications. In hirsuitism, the hair growth occurs in women exclusively and it grows in a male pattern, such as the face, chest or abdomen.

In office laser hair removal is offered in most dermatologists' offices. The procedure can treat large or small areas of skin and get rid of unwanted hair. The lasers have a cooling device on them that reduces the discomfort of the heat of the laser light and prevents changes in pigmentation from occurring on the skin. Doctors can use a true laser device or an intense pulsed light source to send concentrated light through the skin and into the dark melanotic hair follicle. It works best on hair that is dark in color because the laser is designed to attack that color of hair. Dark skinned people with dark hair have problems with the laser attacking both their skin and their hair, both of which are dark enough to respond to the laser hair therapy. It takes several treatments because hair grows in different cycles and is sensitive particularly to certain cycles and not to other cycles.

There are several types of laser devices including the ruby device, the alexandrite device, the diode and the intense pulsed light system. These were the first laser systems approved by the US FDA to reduce hair. They work best on light skinned people with dark hair, as mentioned above. A newer device, called a Nd:YAG laser device, works better on dark skinned individuals.

You can have laser devices used on you in informal places, such as spas and walk in clinics but you should always have it done using an experienced health care practitioner under the direct supervision of a dermatologist or other doctor who is trained in laser use and the possible complications. Remember that it takes at least three treatments in order to achieve the permanent loss of hair so one treatment at a mall or clinic will do little to take care of the problem. Topical medications applied to lighter hair can make it more susceptible to the treatment by laser. You should avoid sunless tanning solutions and tanning booths before getting laser treatment because the laser won't work as well. You should also use sunscreen after the procedure to keep you skin safe from burning.

Side effects from laser hair removal include mild pain, redness or swelling to the affected area that lasts up to three days. In worse cases, there can be herpes simplex outbreaks, blistering and bacterial infections occurring after the treatment. Skin lightening or darkening can happen on a temporary basis.

About ten to twenty five percent reduction of hair growth is possible after each laser treatment. Doctors repeat the treatment after about 4 to 8 weeks and do this until the treatments are complete. If hair does regrow after the procedure, it tends to be lighter in color and finer in texture. Since the skin can be damaged after getting the procedure, you should avoid sun exposure and wear sunscreen to make sure the skin doesn't get worse.

Believe it or not, there are home treatment devices that use laser treatment. The device is provided by the physician and is used at home. This has been going on since about 2008 and now the devices can be purchased direct from the manufacturer without a prescription. The results tend to be as good as in-office procedures after about six to eight treatments in the home. You have the opportunity to touch up any areas that have regrown without seeing a doctor again. They are safe procedures but problems can develop for people who have skin conditions or who have dark or tanned skin. It is best to see a dermatologist before doing a home procedure to make sure you are a good candidate for the procedure.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here