Laser Hair Removal: A Consumer's Guide To Finding Effective, Comfortable, Safe and Affordable Laser Hair Removal

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Raleigh Laser Hair Removal expert and board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Law Provides guidelines to consumers for choosing the appropriate Laser Hair Removal system and clinic.

Laser Hair Removal: A Consumers Guide to finding effective, safe fast and affordable treatments. Raleigh Laser Hair Removal expert and board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Law Provides guidelines to consumers for choosing the appropriate Laser Hair Removal system and clinic.

Laser hair removal has come a long way since the first laser for hair removal received FDA clearance in the mid 1990’s. Older generation lasers were very slow, very painful and worked only on individuals with very dark hair and very light skin. Today, lasers can work on all skin colors and some lasers are even safe for treating tanned skinned.

Which laser to choose?

-Spot size

The spot size of a laser determines how much skin area can be covered per laser pulse. Lasers with larger spot sizes (18 mm)can cover more area much more quickly. For example, a laser hair removal treatment of the back or full legs could take as long as 2 hours with older lasers. Today, these areas can be completely treated in less than 20 minutes. The spot size not only determines the speed and comfort of the treatment, but the efficacy as well. In the April 2004 issue of Derm Surgery, a peer reviewed medical study showed that lasers with an 18 mm spot size (exclusive to the Candela GentleLase) was more effective at removing hair than lasers with smaller spot sizes.

-Cooling systems

Each laser has a different way of cooling the skin. Some lasers use a topical cooling gel, others use a chilled tip. The most consistent, comfortable and safest way to cool the skin is with a Dynamic Cooling Device or DCD


Many different lasers are effective in hair removal. Light skin can be safely treated with most laser hair removal systems. Dark skin can be safely treated with Alexandrite lasers, Diode lasers or long pulsed nd:yag lasers. In dark skinned individuals, the energy level may need to be reduced to ensure safety, which may result in more treatments with the laser in order to obtain complete clearance of the hair. Tanned skin can be safely treated only with a long pulsed nd:yag laser.

-Light Sources

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Systems are not lasers. They can remove hair, but recent peer reviewed medical studies show that most lasers are much more effective in treating unwanted hair than IPL systems

Choosing a Laser Hair Removal Center

Board Certified Physician

Many laser hair removal centers today operate without a physician. It is important to be certain that a board certified physician is on the premises or available in case of a concern. To determine whether or not a physician is board certified, go to Board certified plastic surgeons can be found at

Possible complications:

Complications with newer laser hair removal systems (built in 2002 or later) is not common, particularly if the laser is equipped with a Dynamic Cooling Device. It is important, however to determine how the laser clinic handles potential complications. Is there a physician available to examine the problem and prescribe medications if necessary?

Packages of treatments

Laser Hair Removal works on hair while it is in the growth phase only. At any given time, between 20% to 40% of the hair on any face or body area may be in a growth phase. Multiple treatments are required for complete clearance of the hair. However, each person may respond slightly differently. Laser hair removal centers should charge for just one treatment at a time. A reputable medical office or medical spa offering laser hair removal will offer individual treatments and not insist on payment of multiple treatments up front.


Because lasers for hair removal are much faster today than ever before, prices should be lower as well. An office offering laser hair removal can charge less for a laser hair removal treatment of the legs taking just 20 minutes vs. a 2 hour treatment with an older generation laser. Avoid centers offering “specials” on treatment packages, particularly if there is pressure to buy because a "special" is set to expire.


A complimentary consultation should be available for you to visit the facility, meet the laser technician and experience a spot test with the laser.

Knowledge of staff:

Staff members at a laser hair removal center should be able to answer questions not just about the laser they use, but about all lasers available for hair removal.


An experienced laser hair removal facility should have many satisfied clients who are happy to speak to you about their results.

Preparing for Laser Hair Removal

In order for the laser to effectively target the hair follicle, the root of the hair must be in tact, which means hair removal in the weeks prior to laser treatment needs to be limited to cutting or shaving. Tweezing, waxing or other methods of hair elimination by removing the root of the hair will result in a less effective treatment. The hair does not need a 'grow out' phase however, and the hair area to be treated can be clean shaven prior to treatment.


Tanned skin can safely be treated ONLY with a long pulsed nd:yag laser, any other laser could cause a burn to the surface of the skin. For treatment with all other lasers, keep the area to be lasered out of the sun for a minimum of two weeks before and two weeks after treatment. Spray tan or bronzers should be avoided prior to treatment as the dark color on the surface of the skin may prevent a laser hair removal treatment from being as effective as possible.

Repeat treatments

Every person’s hair grows at a slightly different rate. If multiple treatments are desired, simply wait until you see new hair growth, typically 4 to 6 weeks, then schedule your next appointment.

Blue Water Spa is a plastic Surgery Medical Spa owned and operated by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Law. Blue Water Spa offers laser hair removal, facials, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, massage, Botox, Restylane and the full spectrum of aesthetic surgery procedures performed by nationally known board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Law. Dr. Law has returned to his hometown of Raleigh North Carolina to raise his family after practicing aesthetic surgery in Beverly Hills. Dr. Law is the only solo practice plastic surgeon voted among the best in North Carolina 2003 and 2004. He has been featured in many national magazines and interviewed for news programs, but he has declined invitations to participate in plastic surgery reality television programs. Blue Water Spa has been voted best day spa in the region by Citysearch and has received the Metro Bravo Award for best day spa 2003 and 2004.

Kile Law, president of Blue Water Spa was recently appointed to the 2005 board of directors for the National Day Spa Association She is one of ten individuals nationwide chosen for this prestigious position. Blue Water Spa has been featured in cover articles of many national magazines and spa publications such as the Medical Spa Report An interview with Kile as part of a panel of recognized experts in skin care and anti-aging, is featured in the November / December Issue Of Luxury Spa Finder Magazine. Luxury Spa Finder is the largest consumer spa magazine in the country. It is available by subscription or at newsstands and bookstores nationwide.

For more information, go to or Kile can answer your questions via e-mail at

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