1. For those tired of shaving daily or using other products to keep the hair at bay, laser hair removal seems to be a good answer. Laser hair removal is the process of using heat from a laser, or intense beam of light to damage the hair follicle thus inhibiting future hair growth, according to the Mayo Clinic. The better question is not weather hair removal works, but if it is permanent.

    Is it Permanent

    Laser hair removal works best on those with dark hair and light skin, according to the Mayo Clinic, as the laser targets the melanin in the hair and skin. The FDA approves lasers for the use of many cosmetic procedures including hair removal. Despite the FDA giving approval to many different manufacturers of lasers, the FDA prohibits any company from claiming “permanent removal” or “painless” with their product. The only acceptable statement is, “permanent reduction” as the process of using the laser will cause a reduction of hair growth. While lasers do not completely remove hair from the treatment area they do reduce the number of hair follicles in the area. Several treatments are needed for a permanent reduction in hair growth but maintenance may be needed from time to time, according to the Mayo Clinic.

    Where to Go

    The Mayo Clinic recommends finding a board certified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon. Be aware of non-medical personnel running the machines. At the first appointment total costs, number of treatments, and side effects should be discussed in addition to personal and medical history. If you have the manufacture or device name of the laser, the FDA can be e-mailed at DSMICA@crdh.fda.gov to determine if the laser has received approval.

    Side Effects

    Those with darker skin may experience a temporary lightening of skin in addition to changes to the hair follicle. Anyone undergoing treatment for hair removal should stay out of the sun to decrease the likelihood of side effects which include; blistering, swelling, redness and skin discoloration. Working with a licensed medical professional will help to decrease these side effects.

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