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Laser Hair Reduction

Laser Hair Reduction

Are you ready to put an end to your painful and time-consuming waxing and shaving routines? You may be surprised to learn that both men and women alike visit the Vein Care Center to make unwanted facial and body hair a thing of the past. If you live in Lima, Celina or anywhere in the surrounding Auglaize County, Ohio, area and are ready to toss your razors in the trash, contact us to book your free screening. Board-certified and aesthetic-laser-certified family physician Dr. Manu B. Aggarwal, MHSA, MD, and her professional, courteous staff look forward to meeting — and exceeding — your expectations.

What is laser hair reduction?

We use the Cutera® excel HR laser, which has both Nd:YAG 1064nm and Alexandrite 755nm capabilities, to perform our laser hair reduction treatments. The laser emits an intense, focused beam of light that targets the melanin in the hair follicle and damages it. The Nd:YAG setting works well in most areas and on all skin types; the 755nm is ideal for lighter skin tones. Often, we can use the Alexandrite setting to treat darker skin types when trying to address the fine hair on the face or other body parts, or electrolysis as another alternative. We can also use the Nd:YAG setting on lighter skin types if the hair appears to be very dense and coarse.

Laser hair reduction is the most popular laser treatment in the world. Why? Because it is very effective at permanently reducing unwanted hair. Laser hair reduction targets the melanin in the hair follicle; therefore, it must differentiate the melanin in the skin from the melanin in the hair. There have been reported cases of hair reduction where the hair was black on the surface of the skin, but within the shaft, it was white. Thus, laser hair reduction was ineffective. Which brings us to the next point: laser hair reduction is less effective and can be completely ineffective on blonde, grey and white hair. In these cases, a test patch can be performed to assess the effectiveness of laser treatment on these hair types.

At the Vein Care Center, we follow the laws of the Ohio State Medical Board. In our state, hair reduction can be delegated to a Physician Assistant, Certified Nurse Practitioner or a Registered Nurse. Dr. Aggarwal is on site when staff with these degrees perform laser hair reduction. This treatment can also be delegated to a Licensed Cosmetic Therapist (LCT). Amy Morrisey is board certified by the Ohio State Medical Board as an LCT and, by law, can perform laser hair reduction without Dr. Aggarwal on the premises.

Are the results of laser hair reduction permanent?

The reality is that no treatment exists that will permanently remove all unwanted hair (except electrolysis). The FDA, however, considers laser hair reduction a “permanent” procedure, which it defines as a treatment that results in a greater than 50 percent reduction in hair growth. Laser hair reduction is highly effective and results are typically greater than a 50 percent reduction in hair.

Facial hair is typically the most challenging part of the body to treat unwanted and excessive hair growth. When treating the face, patients can have paradoxical hair growth. This means that the heat from the laser can actually activate “sleeping hair” to start growing and become more noticeable. Unwanted stimulation of hair growth is typically seen in darker skin types or those who have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. These risks can be assessed at your screening. Please note that this does not happen to everyone.

How many laser hair reduction treatments will I need?

Our Laser Hair Reduction packages include five or ten sessions as they are designed to work around the fact that the unwanted hair may be at different stages of the hair growth cycle. The best stage in which to destroy hair follicles is during the Anagen phase, which is why treatments are spaced spaced out according to the hair growth cycle. Single sessions may be purchased and are helpful to patients who need to pay per treatment. Five to ten treatments per area, on average, are necessary to achieve optimal results. Different areas of the body may require additional sessions if dense or coarse hair is present.

Since there may be some light regrowth, you will want to return to the Vein Care Center every three, six or twelve months for touch-ups. The time between touch-ups varies by patient, location on the body, amount of regrowth and the results achieved during the first treatment cycle. While the need for touch-ups is common, some patients may need them more frequently, while others may need retreatment yearly or never.

What areas of the body can be treated with laser hair reduction?

The most commonly treated areas are:

  • Face, including the chin, beard and neck
  • Legs
  • Arms and underarms
  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Chest and nipples
  • Bikini line and inner thighs
  • Toes
  • Hands
  • Buttocks

Does the Vein Care Center offer any other methods of hair reduction?

We sure do! We also offer electrolysis, which is more appropriate for areas that have only a few hairs (like the face, hands or toes). Electrolysis is performed in our office by Amy Morrisey, LCT. Using a direct current (DC), radiofrequency current (RF) or a blend of both, through a tiny needle, the hair follicle is destroyed. Electrolysis treats each hair individually and therefore is more tedious than laser hair reduction.

While electrolysis is FDA-approved for permanent hair removal, the sheer amount of time needed to treat larger patches of hair makes electrolysis a less attractive option for those looking to reduce their underarm or leg hair. However, it is more appropriate for eyebrows and small “hard to reach” areas on the face or areas that are not safe to treat with the laser. Depending on patient needs, we may recommend a combination of both treatments.

How should I prepare for laser hair reduction?

For the best results, follow our guidelines. Dr. Aggarwal or a member of her staff will make sure you know exactly what to do – and what not to do – in preparation for your laser hair reduction treatment.

Before treatment:

  • Hair in the treatment area(s) should be cleanly shaven 24 to 48 hours before treatment
  • Do not wear makeup on the day of your treatment
  • Do not tan or use self-tanning products for four weeks prior to treatment Avoid treatments that may irritate the skin for one to two weeks before treatment (waxing, hair removal creams or exfoliants)
  • Notify us of any changes to your health history or medications since your last appointment
  • A history of herpes or cold sores may require an antiviral prescription before treatment

What can I expect after laser hair reduction treatment?

You’ll be able to resume your normal routine immediately after your procedure. The treated area will be red and slightly raised, but the redness should disappear within a day. The raised area(s) may take two days to resolve. You may feel a sensation of the laser for a few days on the area(s) treated. If you become itchy and the swelling around the hair follicle persists for more than a few days, call our office. Here are a few other things to keep in mind following your laser hair reduction procedure:

  • Avoid sun exposure and use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen to prevent further sun damage
  • Bruising, redness, and swelling are common and resolve with time
  • Avoid excessive heat, such as hot tubs or saunas for two days
  • Avoid skin irritants in the days following your procedure. These include products containing tretinoin, retinol, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic/salicylic acids and astringents
  • Notify us of any concerns, such as blistering, excessive redness or swelling
  • Understand that you may require multiple treatments to achieve the desired outcome
  • Do not wax or pluck between treatments. Shaving is the preferable option because it minimizes the potential of ingrown hairs

Is laser hair reduction covered by insurance?

Laser hair reduction is usually considered an elective procedure, and therefore is not covered by insurance. However, there are instances where laser hair reduction is classified as medically necessary and may be covered, in part or in full, by insurance. Excessive hair growth conditions that may be covered by insurance include:

  • Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles. These bumpy, red patches are not dangerous to your health but can be painful, itchy and embarrassing. Severe cases of folliculitis can permanently damage hair follicles or cause scarring or dark spots on the skin.
  • Cushing’s Syndrome may develop after taking a corticosteroid or glucocorticoid medication for an extended period of time. These medications increase cortisol levels in the body and can cause a host of side effects, including excessive hair growth on the face and body.
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition where women over-produce male hormones. The hormonal imbalance can negatively impact reproductivity and can cause unwanted hair growth on the face, chest, abdomen and arms.
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia encompasses a variety of hereditary disorders that occur when the adrenal glands over-produce aldosterone, cortisol and male sex hormones, which can cause excessive facial hair.
  • Cancer can disrupt the normal production of many different hormones. A hormonal imbalance with higher levels of male hormones can cause masculine characteristics in women that may include excessive facial, underarm or pubic hair growth.

Contact your insurance carrier to investigate whether your plan covers laser hair reduction. To increase your chances that laser hair removal will be covered by insurance, seek treatment through a medical office, such as the Vein Care Center. Esthetician offices and spas may offer laser hair removal, but insurance will not cover treatment at these non-medical facilities. Further, Dr. Aggarwal has the experience and knowledge to advocate on your behalf and will present a compelling case to your insurance company if your laser hair reduction treatment is medically necessary and should be covered.

Is laser hair reduction worth it?

The value of laser hair reduction is based on your personal experience with unwanted or excessive hair growth. Consider how unwanted hair impacts your lifestyle, confidence and physical comfort. If stubborn hair is infringing on your life in any way, laser hair reduction may be worth it to you.

If you want to weigh your options with a trained professional, we are here to help. Complete this form or call the Vein Care Center today at (419) 227-4472 to schedule a consultation. Meeting with our experienced staff is the best way to determine if laser treatment is right for your hair growth condition, or if another treatment may be more effective. In addition, we can discuss the likelihood of insurance covering your treatment and tell you about our payment plan options if insurance does not pay for your hair removal.

The information about laser hair reduction was reviewed by Dr. Manu B. Aggarwal. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form below.

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