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Working With Clients Considering Hair Removal: With Exclusive Advice from Eric Bernstein, MD, Spokesperson of the ASDS

Posted: September 14, 2011

Following this news item, Eric Bernstein, MD, spokesperson of the ASDS, provides exclusive commentary to SkinInc.com about details to consider from a medical spa professional standpoint when working with laser hair removal clients.

"Laser hair removal can be a life-changing procedure for many men and women, saving time and energy that would have been spent shaving," said Eric Bernstein, MD, spokesperson for the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS). "Many people benefit because their skin takes on a smoother appearance since the laser shrinks the hair follicles."

The procedure uses beams of light to penetrate the skin and target the pigment in the hair shaft and induce a mild inflammatory response to the hair follicle that signals the hair to rest for a very long period of time. Although initially laser hair removal worked best for people with light skin and dark hair, different lasers can now be used to perform the procedure on people with skin of color to obtain outstanding results. Unfortunately, treatment is next to impossible for people with blonde or white hair because the laser targets the pigment in the hair shaft. If there isn't any pigment, or very little, there's nothing for the laser to 'see.'

Laser hair removal can be performed almost anywhere on the body, but many women undergo the procedure to remove hair on their underarms, face, bikini area and legs, while most men opt for the back, face and neck, where irritating bumps from shaving can form. Typically, patients require four to six treatments at six to eight week intervals to remove all the hair. For larger areas, like the legs or back, treatments are done at slightly longer intervals and less frequently to completely eliminate hair.

Shaving bumps respond extremely well to laser hair removal, and the bumps usually go away even before all the hair is gone.