What you should know about laser hair removal

By Warren B. Seiler III MD

Laser hair removal is the most common non-invasive cosmetic laser procedure performed in the US. However, not all devices are the same and providing a safe and effective procedure is not as simple and guaranteed as you might think!

Here are some things you need to know about laser hair removal:

Not all Laser Hair Removal devices are created equal. 
There are a ton of devices on the market ranging from cheap “at home” devices to physician grade devices that cost over 100K (like mine, the LightSheer Duet Laser). And . . . you get what you pay for. After extensive and continued research of available devices, I believe LightSheer Duet Laser from Lumenis Lasers is the best on the market.

A laser specifically made for laser hair removal.
An advanced device like the LightSheer Duet will have the ability to specifically target the pigment in the hair shaft and follicle so that the follicle will die and not regenerate.  This will lead to permanent hair removal.  If the wrong device (or just a device that isn’t the best) is used, one might kill the hairs but not the follicles and after some time, the hairs will come right back.

If you have had laser hair removal at a place that doesn’t use a good laser, you might have thought that it worked and then all the hair grew back.  That’s because the device wasn’t strong enough to kill the follicle.

Safely treat all skin color types
Another important feature of a good device is the ability to treat all skin colors and types.  Many devices are not safe on darker skin.   The LightSheer Duet can treat safely and effectively all 6 skin types from light skin through dark African American skin.

Trained provider and responsible physician
It is also extremely important that the person performing the procedure be very highly trained.  You have to know the theory and physics of laser hair removal and how to use the settings on your device to maximize result and safety.
One must be aware of the issues discussed in this writing and know that laser hair removal needs to be performed at a practice with proper physician experience and involvement.

State Medical Laws
Most state medical laws require some level of physician involvement in seeing patients for Laser Hair Removal.  Practitioners using lasers must follow state medical laws.

I see it all too often that a patient has a laser hair removal treatment at a place with little to no physician involvement, or even a physician without proper training. This is against the law in Alabama and in most states.

If the procedure is to be performed by a non-physician, the physician still must be properly involved in treating and consulting with the patient, in giving informed consent, and in protocols for safe and effective treatment and before/aftercare.  Know these laws!

Unfortunately, the media leads you as a patient or a practitioner to believe that laser hair removal is simple without possible complication. Having personally performed over 2000 laser hair removal treatments (over 10,000 total laser treatments) at the time of writing this, I can tell you that Laser Hair Removal can be very effective and safe if the proper device is used by a properly trained practitioner. If not, you may see no result or even burns/scars.

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