Frequently Asked Questions About Laser Hair Removal

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For many women (and men), life can feel like a never-ending battle with unwanted body hair. Broken razors, nicks, and cuts are all part of daily life when you’re trying to beat back hair that sometimes seems like it grows faster than the Amazon rainforest. Fortunately, there is an easy and safe way to reduce unwanted hair and put a stop to the never-ending cycle of shaving, tweezing, and waxing.

Laser hair removal, when performed in the safety and comfort of our Merrillville, Indiana-area plastic surgery office, is one of the most gratifying nonsurgical beauty treatments you can get. Imagine no longer having to shave your legs, underarms, or intimate body parts over and over again.

In this blog post, we answer questions we are frequently asked about laser hair removal by women and men who visit us at our Schererville and Valparaiso offices:

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser hair removal has been around since 1997. The laser puts out a pulse of energy that heats up the melanin (pigment) in the hair follicle, damaging the hair follicle so it is unable to produce hair. Surrounding skin and tissue are unharmed.

Is the Process 100% Permanent?

One of the more common questions we get from patients is whether the results will be permanent. With each treatment, the hair growth will reduce significantly because the heat from the laser damages the underlying hair follicles. If you’re looking for permanent hair reduction, we offer the LightSheer® laser, which has been cleared by the FDA and has long been thought of as the “gold standard” in hair removal.

Do the Treatments Hurt?

The newer class of lasers, such as the ones used by Dr. Galante, have built-in pain-reducing technology such as a chill tip and suction. Most people compare the pain factor to a small rubber band being snapped against the skin; they can feel it, but it’s completely bearable.

Why Should I Only Go to a Plastic Surgeon for Hair Removal?

Most of these so-called “day spas” offering hair removal are nothing more than glorified hair salons. The owners and employees have no medical training as such. Laser hair removal is not as simple as “zapping” a body part with a wand—it requires intimate knowledge of the human body to be performed safely and effectively.

This is why having the procedure done in the safe and clean environment of a plastic surgeon’s office is strongly recommended. Only a trained doctor (or his/her assistants) should perform this procedure for optimal safety and results.

How Should I Prepare for My Treatment?

  • Avoid sun exposure: You should avoid sun exposure for 6 weeks before treatment because increased melanin in the skin makes the procedure less effective and the possibility for complications much higher.
  • Stop plucking and waxing: While shaving is acceptable, patients should stop waxing and plucking while undergoing the treatment as well. The laser targets the roots of the hair, so pulling out the hair near the treatment date will leave nothing to treat.

Other considerations are discussed in a separate blog post.

Is There Any Downtime?

Most people can go back to their normal daily activities immediately after the procedure. However, it’s strongly recommended that you limit exposure to the sun for up to 6 weeks after the treatment.

It is normal to experience any of the following minor, temporary side-effects:

  • Tingling or numbness
  • Swelling
  • Redness (up to 3 days)
  • Itching
  • Slight discomfort

What Makes the LightSheer Laser Superior?

Minimal discomfort: The LightSheer laser is designed to cool the skin before and during the treatment process. The powerful diode laser damages hair follicles without destroying the surrounding tissue. This means less pain than similar laser hair removal treatments from 10 to 15 years ago.

Quicker treatments: The laser itself can treat numerous hair follicles at once, thereby speeding up the treatment significantly.  While many patients will find that improvement will be seen soon after beginning the treatments, it can take several sessions for some people to see a significant reduction in hair.

Who Can Get Hair Removal?

Both men and women are good candidates for laser hair removal. In general, the areas treated differ with gender as follows:

  • Women seek to remove hair from the underarms, legs, and private parts
  • Men want hair on the back and neck removed.

When the FDA first approved laser hair removal, it was only effective on individuals with light skin and dark hair. As the technology improved, laser hair removal now may work on patients with all skin types.

Dr. Galante offers a wide range of non-invasive beauty treatments, including laser hair removal, at his Merrillville, Indiana-area practice. If you’re interested in this or other nonsurgical procedures such as spider vein treatment, give us a call at (219) 322-3131 or contact us using our online form.


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