Burns secondary to Laser Hair Removal Treatment. Courtesy of Dr. Sandra Lee
When done properly Laser Hair Removal is an amazing procedure for permanent hair removal (no more ingrowns, yeah!). However, when preformed by someone untrained or on the wrong setting the treatment can cause painful burns in sensitive areas. Laser hair removal is an immensely popular procedure. Nearly half a million treatments were preformed by dermatological surgeons in 2011, according to The American Society for Dermatological Surgery. There are an unknown number of procedures preformed by untrained professionals with minimal training. Laws vary from state to state on who can legally preform laser treatments. Only 26 states require on-site medical supervision and 11 states do not have any laws regulating it. The danger of this treatments lies in the hands of the operator. The operator is the one who chooses the settings for the laser which varies patient to patient depending on skin coloring, hair thickness and area of the body being treated. If an untrained provider chooses a setting too high for a particular patient this can lead to painful, permanent scarring.
Here are factors for you to consider for those considering laser hair removal:
Is the facility owned by a medical doctor and are they on-site during the procedure? Physician Assistants are the ones who preform the Laser Hair Removal treatments in my office, however there is always a physician on site.
Interview the person who is doing the treatment. Ask how long they’ve been doing the procedure, how often they perform the procedure and if they have experience with treating your skin color and the desired area.
Have a test spot preformed with the laser. If a small patch is tested with the laser at least 24 hours prior to the treatment we can observe if the skin has any side effects such as burning or blistering prior to treating an entire area.
Stay out of the sun. Having the procedure preformed while the skin is tan increases chances for burning and blistering.
Stay away from bargain Laser Hair Removal. That $99 groupon seems pretty tempting, huh? Bargain laser hair removal is usually too good to be true. Most of these deals are at medspas where there can be a lack of physician supervision. Choosing a board-certified dermatologist office will ensure a greater level of training.
This shouldn’t scare you away from this great treatment, only empower you to make an educated decision on who you choose to preform your treatments.