From Hair To Bare

cousin-ittLaser hair removal remains one of the most popular year-round treatments Maine Laser Skin Care offers, even despite the frightful weather we’ve had this winter, and the fact that we cover up most of our body with clothing.  In 2012, more than 1-million patients across the U.S. received laser hair removal procedures, which is actually a 52% increase from over the past decade.

People have different reasons for wanting hair removed from various parts of their body.  Some patients, male or female, gain unwanted facial hair related to hormonal issues and changes, while others want to escape the inconvenience of regularly shaving their underarms or bikini line areas.  Men usually desire to have excess hair removed from their back or chest, which can be uncomfortable or considered unsightly in some settings.

All laser hair removal systems function in a similar manner: using laser energy, they heat the hair to a temperature that damages the growth center near the root. While effective, recent improvements in the systems have been made in recent years, which include:

  1. Adjustable laser settings
  2. Improvements in topical therapies
  3. Built-in cooling systems

underneathThe first advancement, the ability to adjust the setting of the laser, allows for more customized treatment to the individual patient.  The latter two improvements, while not entirely pain-free, have made laser hair treatments a more comfortable process to experience.

Dark course hair is the easiest to eliminate, as the laser beam is attracted to the color  and the thickness of the target hair.  Blonde white or gray hair continues to be a difficult issue due to the lack of melanin-produced color that the laser targets.

When patients have a mixture of white and dark hairs, I generally recommend laser hair removal to speed the removal of the dark hairs. Electrolysis cleans up any whiter or gray hairs that remain.

In terms of side effects of laser hair removal, burning or blistering is the most common one, but is thankfully quite rare. If it does occur, the laser energy settings can be adjusted downward. Fortunately, many of the cooling safety features of our laser system makes this event very rare.

Patients who have an active tan possess the highest risk for burning. Therefore, I recommend no hair removal or other laser therapies to an area which has been recently tanned or is undergoing tanning.

There is no evidence as of yet that laser treatments are harmful to an expectant mother and her unborn baby. However, we at Maine Laser Skin Care do not want to take any unnecessary risk, however small, which is why will not perform laser treatments on pregnant women.

Is is important for patients to realize that permanent laser hair reduction or removal can vary from person-to-person and location to location on the body. Effectiveness of results, and the number of treatments needed, depends on the area of the body, darkness of the hair, and hormonal factors.

During the initial consultation at Maine Laser Skin Care, we try to review with the patient our experience with his or her type of hair growth.  We then give the patient realistic expectations for time frame and results.

Reduction of embarrassing hair has resulted in higher self-esteem and reduction of social stigma for many patients.  Because of this immediate transformation, laser hair removal has truly been one of my most rewarding procedures.

If you or a friend or loved one have hair issues that you would like to have assessed, please do not hesitate to contact my office for a free and confidential consultation concerning your individual situation. My expertly trained staff can also answer general questions over the phone at 207-873-2158.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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