Laser hair removal uses a beam of highly concentrated light to permanently reduce unwanted hair. It’s an impressive technology, practically on par with jetpacks and other futuristic inventions. But with great power comes great responsibility, and laser hair removal is not without risks. In fact, treatments can cause harm if entrusted to the wrong hands.
Laser hair removal continues to grow in popularity, which is good news for the many men and women seeking a long-term solution to unwanted hair. However, the demand for LHR has resulted in a flood of practitioners who are simply not competent, having undergone only minimal training that can lead to disastrous results. These operators could just about be considered armed and dangerous.
Those unfortunates who’ve found themselves on the receiving end of poorly performed laser hair removal administered by the inexperienced can suffer a range of injuries, including severe burns and skin discoloration. And, since it’s often the more sensitive regions of the body where people seek treatment, such as the bikini area or face, damage or injury can cause embarrassment as well as physical pain and other challenges.
opens in a new windowLaser hair removal works by targeting the hair follicle during its growth phase. Because hair grows in stages, not all hair can be treated simultaneously. Seeing treatment through to its final stage is a commitment of not only time, but also trust. You want to ensure that the technician who performs the treatment is certified, trained and experienced. Without those prerequisites, cancel your appointment and find a professional with proven results.
In the United States, laser hair removal is an unregulated procedure, without any federal oversight outside of opens in a new windowFDA approval for the technology used. While some states regard LHR as a medical procedure, other states do not. Depending on where and with whom you seek treatment, medical supervision may not be guaranteed, putting you at higher risk for injury.
A common misconception is that it’s the laser doing the work, when it’s actually the person operating the laser who determines the details of the treatment. The laser technician evaluates a patient’s skin to gauge the intensity of the laser and offer advice on time between treatments.
If you’re seeking laser hair removal, take the following steps to ensure you’re in good hands:
- Check that a medical doctor owns the facility, and that he or she can be made available during the treatment if needed.
- Ask specifically who will perform the treatment, and inquire about his or her licensing and/or certification, training and experience.
- Ask your technician how often he or she has performed laser hair removal overall as well as how often on the specific body part you want treated.
- Ask prospective operators if your skin type, complexion, hair type and body area are safe for laser hair removal. Not everyone is a good candidate.
- Inquire if you can have a patch of skin tested before undergoing a complete treatment. People with diabetes and those prone to developing keloid scars are vulnerable to complications from laser hair removal and should seek their physician’s guidance before receiving treatment.
- Review the facility’s emergency protocol.
You’re considering whether or not to subject your body to pulsing beams of laser energy in the hands of a stranger, so take time to do your homework first.
Once you’ve found a trusted provider who is certified and experienced, make sure to follow these opens in a new windowtips between LHR treatments for an optimal outcome. In the right hands, you’ll be on your way to enjoying long-lasting results.
Caroll Delo is a board certified laser technician at Simply Smooth Laser Center in Tampa, a niche practice that focuses specifically on laser treatments. Simply Smooth Laser Center offers the most advanced options in laser hair removal, laser skin rejuvenation and laser tattoo removal.