As with any medical procedure, this treatment should be performed by qualified personnel, such as a physician or physician’s assistant. Be wary of spas, salons or other facilities that allow non-medical personnel to perform this treatment.
Hair color and skin type influence the success of laser hair removal.
For example, this is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair because the laser beam targets the pigment (melanin) in the hair. However, advances in technology have made laser hair removal safe and effective for patients with darker skin and individuals of color.
Before laser hair removal, schedule a consultation with the doctor. The doctor will use this visit to:
- Review your medical history, including medication use.
- Discuss risks, benefits and expectations, including what laser hair removal can and can’t do for you.
- Discuss options and answer your questions about laser hair removal.
- Take photos to be used for before-and-after assessments and long term reviews.
- At the consultation, be sure to discuss a treatment plan and related costs. Laser hair removal is typically an out-of-pocket expense.
- The doctor will also offer specific guidelines to help you prepare for laser hair removal. For example:
- Stay out of the sun. Some doctors recommend staying out of the sun for up to six weeks before laser hair removal. A tan increases the risk of side effects, such as skin lightening. If you have a tan either from sun exposure or sunless tanning products wait until the tan fades completely before undergoing laser hair removal. Sun exposure decreases the effectiveness of laser hair removal and may increase the risk of complications following treatment.
- Avoid plucking, waxing and electrolysis. If you’re planning to undergo laser hair removal, you should avoid other hair removal methods such as plucking, waxing, and electrolysis which disturb the hair follicle and interfere with laser hair removal. Shaving is OK, since it preserves the hair shaft and follicle. Some studies suggest that shaving before laser hair removal may improve results.