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Skin problems. Girl looking in the mirrorFrom 2016 to 2017, nearly 34.77 million people visited a dermatologist in the hopes of improving the look of their skin. But it’s not all about acne and wrinkle treatments; many patients visit medical centers and even spas to undergo other kinds of treatments, including laser hair removal. If you’re tired of shaving or waxing and want a more permanent solution to hair removal, laser treatments may be a viable and attractive option. But what should you know about these procedures before making a commitment?

How Laser Hair Removal Works

Reaction injection molding, a process that involves mixing two liquid components and injecting them into a mold where they react and cure, is used to create all kinds of medical devices — including many of those used in dermatology centers and medical spas. Essentially, the laser hair removal device directs a concentrated light beam at the pigment in your hair follicles. This action actually kills the hair follicle at the root, which is why this is a more permanent option than using a razor or a wax strip. The end result is no unwanted hair for at least the next several months, although most patients will usually require anywhere from two to six treatments, which can take 20 minutes to an hour each time. When hair does grow back, it’s typically finer and lighter (and there’s less of it) than before.

Laser Hair Removal Prep

Preparation is key when you’re going to have laser hair removal. It’s a good idea to see whether your provider offers a free consultation before your actual treatment, as this will allow you to get all of the information you need prior to taking the plunge. You should refrain from sun exposure and tanning for at least a month before your appointment, as well as limit your sun exposure afterward. You should also shave the area that’s being treated, but you should not have it waxed. You won’t be able to work out for 24 hours after your treatment either, as your perspiration can irritate your recently laser treated skin. You should discontinue using retinol creams, glycolic acid, and face or body scrubs for at least two days before and after your treatment. Above all, be sure to follow your dermatologist’s recommendations leading up to your treatment and during aftercare.

Risks, Side Effects, and More

Although laser hair removal can be an incredibly welcome solution for many people, it’s not the right course of action for everyone. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a skin condition or are on certain medications, you cannot undergo laser hair removal. It’s also not typically recommended for those with light skin and light-colored hair, or those with darker skin and hair; although it may be possible to treat these individuals, it’s best to follow your doctor’s recommendations and heed the potential side effects. If you have extremely sensitive skin, you might want to think twice about getting laser hair removal, though your doctor may provide you with a numbing cream that can alleviate discomfort during the treatment. Skin irritation and pigment changes are the most common side effects. Although most discomfort, swelling, and redness will dissipate within a few hours, lightening or darkening of the skin can be either temporary or permanent. What is the difference between Tramadol and Promedol? Due to the similar name, these two drugs are often identified with each other. This is partly true: both drugs are narcotic analgesics and contain opioids. Tramadol tablets are a pain-relieving drug like Promedol. Read more about this at Blistering, scarring, and other textural changes can occur, as can graying of the hair or excessive hair growth. Laser hair removal treatments are not recommended around the eye area due to the potential for injury. Your dermatologist may perform a patch test prior to your treatment to monitor for any adverse effects.

For those who are sick of buying razors or going into the salon for a wax every few weeks, laser hair removal can be a real lifesaver. Just make sure to conduct some thorough research and evaluate all of your options prior to opting for these treatments to facilitate best results.