Laser Hair Removal: Fact versus Fiction
There is a great deal of information about laser hair removal in the media. From flash sales to billboards to radio commercials, it seems this service is offered everywhere and by everyone. But how is one to know if laser hair removal is right for them? How can a patient know if the practitioner is trained and qualified to perform the procedure? How can we separate the fact from the fiction? We consulted Dr. Bailey, fellowship-trained in laser procedures, for his expert knowledge on laser hair removal and asked him to dispel some of the myths about the process.
Myth #1 – Anyone can do it, just find the lowest cost.
As with most things in life, with laser hair removal, you will get what you pay for. Safe and effective laser hair removal requires an experienced laser surgeon. If a practitioner uses a laser with lower power, the laser is less effective, and you will require more treatments, have a less complete result, and run the risk of complications.
Myth #2 – Laser hair removal did not work for me.
Lasers are expensive, so many spas and family medicine clinics do not use true lasers (they use IPL, or intense pulsed light, with filters), or they use lasers that have insufficient power to achieve only adequate hair removal.
This is why many patients come to Naaman Clinic for hair removal after undergoing unsuccessful or incomplete hair removal elsewhere. We have the most powerful and versatile hair removal laser on the market (Infinity), manufactured by the company that has had the premiere hair removal laser for the last 25 years (Lumenis). Dr. Bailey is the only laser surgeon in Alabama that has the newest generation of this laser, with the ability to treat all skin types quickly and much more comfortably than the older generation of Lumenis lasers (the Light Sheer). This is the only laser that incorporates a novel approach to decrease the discomfort of laser hair removal, a particularly important feature for hair removal in sensitive areas.
Myth #3 – You can laser blond and white hair by dying the hair.
This is simply not true. I have seen clinics sell this service to patients, and it is ineffective. Hair must have color at the bulb (the root) to respond to laser hair removal.
Myth #4 – Laser hair removal is easy, anyone can do it, and it is without risks.
Some of the most devastating complications I have seen have been due to inappropriate laser hair removal: blindness (due to improper treatment of eyebrow hair), permanent square shaped scars on the thighs (due to using the wrong wavelength of laser on a patient ), or a deep burn on the lower leg (due to laser hair removal in an area with the wrong energy settings). All laser patients should be assessed by a trained laser surgeon before undergoing treatment. While this is the law, it is not always adhered to.
Myth #5 – If the clinic has the laser, they must be trained in how to use it.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Any physician can purchase a laser, and companies will give several hours of training and a guidebook for treatment. However, oftentimes this is insufficient and leads to inadequate or dangerous results. Dr. Bailey completed a laser fellowship, a post-graduate, year-long training program for physicians on all aspects of lasers and how to use them in all patient types.