Laser Hair Removal

At Buckhead Plastic Surgery, Atlanta

Perhaps you have heard national laser hair removal commercials, visited a local mini-spa offering laser services, or heard your friends talk about hair removal. By the time you viewed Buckhead Plastic Surgery's Web site on laser hair removal you've been considering laser hair removal for some time.

Not all laser hair removal clinics are the same. Many of the medical spas use an administrative doctor and LPN's or aestheticians who have had little or no experience with lasers prior to their one-day training session.

At Buckhead Plastic Surgery, Dr. Alan N. Larsen is present and often assists and supervises your treatment. Our laser specialist has been performing laser hair removal for more than four years at our center. Special techniques allowing for fewer treatments give reduced results. We have found that reducing hair removal is best accomplished with more sessions and the latest laser technology.

Deciding if Laser Hair Removal is Right For You

We have performed laser hair removal on all hair and skin colors at Buckhead Plastic Surgery. In Buckhead Plastic Surgery we understand the problem areas and are qualified to treat your unique needs.

While you may have heard that the best combination for hair removal is dark hair and light skin, our experience has shown that we can achieve great results in patients without this combination. If you are not a good candidate for laser hair removal, we will tell you so you don't waste your time or money on a procedure that won't work for you.

Laser hair removal for African-Americans was once a risky procedure. The elos system has revolutionized laser hair removal by allowing lesser energies to combine at the hair follicle to remove it. These lasers are uniquely designed to protect the skin while achieving hair removal results.

Laser Hair Removal with Syneron ELOS Technology

We currently use the Syneron ELOS technology, which uses two different energy sources to remove unwanted hair. Elos stands for electro-optical-synergy and it is the combination of bi-polar radiofrequency current with optical pulsed light energy. By combining both light and radiofrequency energy, the elos system thermally damages the hair follicle, making this technology the safest hair removal system on the market.

Safe and successful laser hair treatment is the result of experience and the in-depth understanding of laser physics and educating our patients about the hair removal process. Hair grows in three stages and only those hairs in the growth stage will respond to the laser treatment.

The hair pigment (color) absorbs the laser and radiofrequency energies, converting these energies into heat that permanently destroys or injures the hair follicle, making it unable to grow hair. Hair removal is really the permanent reduction in the number of follicles that are producing hair.

Since at any one time there are only a fraction of hairs in the growth stage, laser treatments are repeated every four to six weeks. As a result, we can treat more hairs as they enter the growth stage. It usually takes around 6-8 sessions to achieve the desired smooth results. Some patients will achieve these results after as little as four treatments while others such as blondes and redheads may require eight to 10 treatments.

What to Expect on Your First Visit

On your first visit you will fill out the usual medical history. This is extremely important as certain medications and medical conditions can affect your treatment and lead to complications. Your history will be reviewed by our laser hair removal expert aesthetician.

Most of our patients start their first laser hair removal treatment the same day as their consultation. If you think you will be one of these patients, please let our receptionist know at the time you schedule your appointment so we can reserve extra time for your treatment.

Prior to your consultation, refrain from shaving for one to two days to help us determine exactly the borders around the areas that you would like treated. We prefer to see the problem areas first, after which we can give you a razor, if necessary, in our treatment room before we began your laser hair removal. Avoid tanning and especially sun burning the areas to be treated.

For the most effective treatment, ensure that the areas to be treated have not been waxed, tweezed or bleached. For the bikini hairline please shave the area as you would like it to look when the treatment is finished. There are many variations in the shape and cut of the hair in this area and we believe it is important that you shave to your preference so that laser hair removal doesn't change this appearance.

A typical laser hair removal session lasts less than an hour. Facial hair is treated in about 10-15 minutes. The bikini area and the arms can be treated in 20-25 minutes. Legs and backs may take longer than an hour. Between 10-15 percent of our patients use numbing cream on the skin. We offer this cream at a nominal charge after your first session. Many patients describe the laser hair removal sensation as a warm electrical shock with a slight snap.

Our Program

We offer 6-8 sessions in a laser package because through our experience we have found that several extra treatments greatly improve the results. Packages vary in pricing by the number of areas the patient chooses. After treating hundreds of patients we have designed discounted laser hair removal packages to meet the needs of our patients with common hair removal patterns.

What Can I Expect? Does Laser Hair Removal Really Work?

You can expect to have a lot less hair and do a lot less shaving. It is a misconception that you will never have to shave again. You should see an 80-90 percent reduction in the number of growing hairs. Usually the follicles that remain have been somewhat damaged and produce a finer hair than prior to laser treatments.

You can expect to shave much less after your treatments. About 2-3 weeks after your first session you will begin to notice a lot less hair, hair that is beginning to fall out, and hair that is growing slower. This same scenario continues after each additional treatment until you've reached your maximum reduction in the area of 80-90 percent.

After each treatment, you should avoid exercise and exertion for the first 24 hours. Perspiration from exertion may increase irritation caused by the laser. You should avoid sun exposure as well after and in between each treatment. You should not wax or pluck hairs between treatments as this decreases the results.  Don't rub or scrub the treated areas immediately after treatment. You may gently wash the area with soap and water.

Laser Hair Removal Risks

  • Darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation). This is usually a temporary condition, but in rare instances it can be long-lasting or permanent.
  • Lightening of the skin (hyperpigmentation). This is a special concern for those who have darker skin. Laser hair treatment is more successful over fair skin, however, darker skin can also be treated.
  • Blistering and scarring. These rarely occur.
  • Changes in skin texture. These rarely occur.
  • Crusting, course scabbing. If this occurs it is usually temporary.
  • Hair changes. New hair growth may be finer and lighter in color. In some cases, new hair may grow in areas adjacent to the treated areas. This can usually be successfully treated with additional laser treatments to the new area.

Talk to Dr. Larsen or his staff about how these risks apply to you. Understanding what's involved in your laser hair removal and weighing the benefits and risks will help you decide if this procedure is best for you.

What About My Facial Hair?

We have performed laser hair removal on men and women with severe bumps on their faces and next with excellent results. It is important to know that you are not alone and that laser hair removal may give you exactly what you are looking for in smoother lighter skin without hair.

How Soon Should Expect Results?

You will begin to see results 2-3 weeks after your first session. You will have patchy hair growth and you will notice that many of the hairs began to fall out. Many of our patients see great results after the first session, but it still takes the entire 6-8 sessions in your package to obtain the results you desire. Don't be misled if after your initial treatment you see great hair reduction.

Will Hair Bumps and Razor Bumps Be Gone?

This is one of the great beneficial side effects of laser hair removal. Reduction of hair bumps and ingrown hairs will be markedly improved even after your first session. We see this on all body parts including the face, neck, bikini line, legs and arms.

Can Blonde Hair be Removed?

Even blonde hair may have enough pigment for the laser to work. We prefer to see these patients with consultation. Blonde hair usually takes more treatments. Blonde hair with darker skin types is the hardest to treat. Spray-on tans and sun tanning is absolutely not recommended with laser treatments for blonde hair.

Can I Use a Tanning Bed or Spray-on Tan During My Laser Hair Removal Treatment?

We prefer that you do not use any self-tanner or tanning beds while having your treatments. The lighter your skin in comparison to the color of your hair, the greater the efficiency of the laser at targeting the pigment in your hair and removing it. Introducing tanning to the skin can cause problems such as burns and blisters.

In Between Treatments, Can I Continue Waxing?

For the laser to be most effective you should avoid waxing, threading and plucking. These treatments change the way the laser interacts with the hair follicle, making it less effective.

Can My Eyebrows Be Treated?

Eyebrows usually cannot be treated. Depending on the extent of hair between the eyebrows this may or may not be a small option. Treating the eyebrow itself should be left to manual hair removal.

Learn More About Laser Hair Removal

Would you like to learn more about laser hair removal in Atlanta? Contact the office of double board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alan N. Larsen. Our cosmetic surgery office is located in the Buckhead area of North Atlanta. Call (404) 367‐9005 to inquire about an appointment for laser hair removal.