Laser Hair Reduction

Clinical Center for Cosmetic Laser Treatment utilizes the most advanced hair reduction lasers available today. New technology allows physicians to treat all different hair-bearing skin types, from the very fair to the deeply pigmented, both safely and effectively. These lasers are also very effective in treating pseudofolliculitis barbae, a bacterial infection commonly seen in darker hair-bearing skin.

How does laser hair reduction work?

The laser works by Selective Photothermolysis. The laser is pulsed (turned on) for a millisecond emitting a beam of light on to the skin. The light energy passes harmlessly through the skin, but is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicles and hair shafts that are in the active growth phase. By absorbing this laser energy, the hair follicles are disabled, impairing their ability to grow. This damage causes delayed re-growth of the hair, and in some cases permanent destruction of many of the hair follicles. Unlike electrolysis, which kills one hair follicle at a time, the laser reaches and treats hundreds of follicles at a time.

Am I a good candidate for the treatment?

The ideal candidate for most hair reduction lasers has dark hair and light skin. Darker hairs will absorb more of the laser light, and lighter skin allows more transmission of the laser light into the hair follicle. Age, ethnicity, medication, hormone levels, and body site influence the length, coarseness and color of body hair. How much hair you have depends on how many hairs are in the active growth phase, and how long that phase lasts.

Why do I need a consultation?

A consultation is necessary so we may have the time to better assess your needs. During your consultation you will be asked to provide a detailed medical and hormonal history. When indicated, we will obtain blood tests in order to uncover any hormone-related causes that may be associated with the excess production of body hair.

How are the treatments performed and how many will I need?

Your hair reduction treatment will be performed at the Outpatient Building on the campus of UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Prior to your treatment, you will be asked not to wax or pluck your hair for several weeks although shaving is permitted. You should allow your hair to grow at least five days prior to your appointmentso our aesthetician can assess the area. After meeting with your doctor and his aesthetician, the areas to be treated are photographed, the hair is shaved, the areas are marked and if necessary, a topical anesthetic is placed on the area. After 45 minutes, the anesthetic is removed and the laser energy is applied with a cooling hand piece.

The treatment times can vary based on the area. The upper lip takes only a few minutes while the back or legs can take up to an hour. Post-treatment care is minimal and you may apply make-up and/or return to your regular activites. There may be minor skin irritation or redness that will subside within a few hours after treatment.

Multiple treatments are required to achieve permanent hair reduction. The actual number of treatments depends on the color of your hair and skin, as well as factors such as hormone levels and hair follicle size. Your physician will develop a treatment program that best fulfills your individual needs.

Hairs are not all actively growing at the same time. They actually go through three distinct phases: growth, regression, and resting. After the resting stage, the hair falls out and the hair follicle begins the cycle again.

The laser works by disabling the hair that is principally in the active growth phase at the time of treatment. Since other hairs will enter this active growth phase at different times, additional treatments may be necessary to disable all hair follicles in a given area. You may find that around 3 to 10 days after treatment hairs will begin to surface. Most of these hairs were treated and are falling out and will not regrow.

The hair follicles need to purge the hairs that remained under the skin. Treatments are usually given at intervals of 4 to 6 weeks.

The lasers at The Clinical Center for Cosmetic Laser Treatment offer permanent hair reduction and/or delayed re-growth of the treated hair follicles. Re-growth of hair is shown to be thinner and lighter than the hair grown before treatment. Because the laser treats hair follicles that are in an active growth phase, more than one treatment will be required to disable all of the hair follicles that enter this growth phase later. However, one treatment may result in a significant enough improvement that it may be all you desire or require.

What is the recovery like?

Within several minutes after treatment, the area may become slightly red and puffy and feel somewhat like a sunburn. This reaction usually subsides quickly and returns to normal within a couple of hours. Depending on the area treated, you should plan work or social engagements accordingly. Around 3 to 7 days after treatment, you may experience what seems to be re-growth of hair. These hairs are not re-growth but rather the shedding of hair that is now being purged.

Because the laser does not break the skin, no bandages are necessary. The treated areas should be handled with care after treatment. Avoid using any Retin-A, and hydroxy acid products. You may clean the area using mild cleanser and water. You should avoid tanning and use a sunscreen on any treated areas exposed to the sun. In darker complexion individuals, temporary pigmentation changes may be noted. Please refrain from waxing, plucking, or bleaching between treatments (shaving is okay).

What do the laser hair reduction treatments cost?

Laser hair removal involves the use of sophisticated expensive laser equipment in order to deliver precise and effective energy pulses. During your initial consultation the areas to be treated will be determined and a fee quote per treatment session will be given to you. This fee involves the cost of the procedure, topical anesthetic, postoperative visits and an invitation for a free skin care consultation with our aesthetician. The fee for re-treatment sessions at one to two month intervals may be the same or less than the initial treatment depending on the extent of follow-up treatment needed. We offer a 6 session package at a reduced rate. Our aim is to provide safe, effective and affordable laser treatments for patients.