Laser Hair Removal Questions and Answers Archive

Jan
2002

Q&A: I have pigment and indentation scar damage from hair removal products/processes. What can I do to correct this?

Question:

I have about a dozen scars on my shins due to chemical burns (from Nair Hair removal cream) and electrical burns due to bad electrolysis. All of the scars are small (about pea sized) and shallow rather than raised, and are very discolored--brownish purple while I am very fair skinned. I've tried silicone sheets to reduce the scarring, but it hasn't worked at all. I REALLY want to get rid of the discoloration, and would love to get rid of the shallowness, also, but it's the discoloration that bothers me more. What type of surgery (dermabrasion?) could help with with these scars, and what's a rough estimate of the cost? I hope you can help me. I can't go another summer in pants every day, but I can't bear to wear shorts with all of these ugly scars. Thanks for any help you can give me. Carla

Answer:

 Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon - LocateADoc.com

Dear Carla, The pigmentation can be readily removed with lasers although that will do little for the textural skin changes. You may wish to have the larger ones surgically removed to leave a fine scar that is level. The former should not cost too much - I charge $20 per spot per treatment with about 3 or 4 treatments required to lighten the pigmentation. The surgery costs about $200 per scar.

-- Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon
Honolulu, Hawaii



Jan
2002

Q&A: Would you recommend Laser eye surgery, RK or PRK to correct myopia. And which is more cost effective(cheap).

Question:

What would you recommend Laser eye surgrey, RK or PRK to correct myopia. And which is more cost effective(cheap). Thanx

- Russ

Answer:

Richard W Lomas, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

Dear Russ, PRK is generally considered an outdated procedure, and seldom performed except when certain medical conditions warrant it. LASIK is quicker healing, less painful, more predictable, and does not require the use of strong steroids, making it the procedure of choice. I urge you to make your choice of surgeon based on experience and reputation, rather than cost! There were a lot of discount LASIK centers in our state, and B.C. until last year. Most of them suddenly went out of business amid a flurry of lawsuits and bankruptcies. In many cases people who paid in advance got no surgery, but lost their money. Worse, many others, including a significant number who had complications, were left without the follow-up care and enhancements they were promised. They had to scramble to find other doctors willing to care for them...and pay hefty fees for the service! There are only a few discounters left, and I expect they are likely to go the way of their predecessors. The problem is, when you cut prices so drastically, you have to cut corners. These are your eyes. LASIK is NOT like a haircut; if it is done badly, it won't grow back! You get only one chance to do it right; a low price is no bargain if you have to live with a bad result. In Washington State the average price of LASIK is currently around $1400 per eye (and rising), the price at most reputable clinics falls within about $200 of that mark. A clinic that charges a great deal less than this may be compromising on the quality of care, equipment, and staff-putting you at greater risk than necessary. Better to save up a little longer, or use financing options, and choose a well established clinic has a reputation for excellence. For more detailed LASIK information, you may wish to view our website.

--Richard W Lomas, M.D.
Renton, Washington



Jan
2002

Q&A: What procedures will remove the discolored skin and hair on the chest and breast?

Question:

I am a young female with a hair growth problem on my chest area and on my breasts. I would like to get rid of the hair, and get rid of the discoloration on the skin in this area. I know this may require two different procedures to correct. I have already done electrolosis but it caused more dark spots in the area and the hair grew back. I would like to know what procedures I should consider to possibly correct this problem if it can be corrected at all.

- Candace

Answer:

Amy Forman Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

I would get laser hair removal if I were you. The only way this wouldn't work would be if the hair were very light or very fine. As long as the hair is darker than your skin one it will work. In addition, it should improve your pigmentation problems. The main drawback of laser treatments are that you need multiple treatments and they can get expensive. Make sure that you go to a reputable DOCTOR and not some salon to have this done.

--Amy Forman Taub, M.D.
Lincolnshire, Illinois



Jan
2002

Q&A: What should I do if I have tried everything to remove my facial hair and I do not think I can afford laser hair removal?

Question:

Hello I am a 23 year old White Female and i have facial hair it is not dark, but it is semi-think. Every thing I try makes my face break out. Vaniqa, shaving with an electic razor, and Nair. Please help me I would love to have lazer hair removal but i just can not afford it.

- Jessica

Answer:

Amy Forman Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

There aren't any quick fixes to this problem. Ideally, if the hair is darker than the skin you would have laser. In many places the prices for laser hair removal have dropped due to increased competition. Have you considered electrolysis? This might be effective but will also probably leave you with breakouts. I would consider seeing your doctor or an endocrinologist. Sometimes facial hair is either due to a hormonal imbalance, or, even if the hormone blood tests are normal, hair follicles that are overly sensitive to hormonal stimulation. In this case, a combination of treatment with birth control pills and a medication called spironolactone (which decreases androgenic-male type hormones) can not only decrease hair growth but also reduce acne.

--Amy Forman Taub, M.D.
Lincolnshire, Illinois



Nov
2001

Q&A: Should I continue topical treatments or consider laser hair removal to deal with chronic razor bumps from shaving?

Question:

I am a 23 y/o african american male with a problem with razorbumps.What should I do? Should I continue use of topical treatments or should I go ahead with the laser hair removal treatment? If so, What are the various costs for such a procedure? I do not want the chance of any reoccurence so I guess the laser treatment is the best option to go with.What do you think? I have been currently been using benzamycin, but the problem still reoccurs.

- conrad

Answer:

Amy Forman Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

I would go with laser treatment. It is the easiest and fastest. BUT make sure the folks you go to are very experienced with african american skin, or seek out someone with a 1064 laser, as these are less likely to cause problems. Nothing is forever, so you may need occasional maintenance treatments to keep it away, but it works wonderfully for what you have. Find a doctor who does laser at www.aslms.org. Costs vary widely, but I recommend you go to a physician with a good reputation, even if he/she is not the one actually doing the procedure. You may pay a little more for it, but you are much less likely to have problems than if you go to a laser hair removal salon that says they have a doctor but one is never there!

--Amy Forman Taub, M.D.
Lincolnshire, Illinois



Oct
2001

Q&A: What is the best way to get rid of acne scars and now hair on my face?

Question:

I have a couple of questions wrapped into one. When I was younger, I had pretty severe acne which left me with many scars on my face. Some of them are purplish, and others are what look like little "pits". Although they've faded quite a bit, I still find them hard to look at in the mirror each morning. What is my best bet to get rid of them? Also, I've noticed that I've been developing more facial hair (which I find disgusting) and it's to the point that I can't handle plucking and waxing anymore. I've heard of laser hair removal-what is this exactly? Is it painful? Is there any kind of miracle treatment that will cure me of my scars AND hair? If not, which should I try to clear up first? Approximately how expensive are the treatments? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

- Stephanie

Answer:

Amy Forman Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

3 of the best choices for the acne scars would be laser resurfacing with either a carbon dioxide or an erbium yag laser, surgically removing the scars and then having a more superficial laser such as photorejuvenation, mild peels or microdermabrasion, or having treatments with the Cool Touch Laser. You need to find a laser specialist and aesthetic dermatologist. I would go to the American Society for Laser Surgery and Medicine website www.aslms.com and they have listing of their members in all geographic locations. Your hair, if dark, would best be removed by a laser as well (unfortunately a different one than we use for scars). The most expensive option is laser resuracing which would probably run more than $2500 for a full face. Most of these solutions for scarring will probably run into the $1000 range. But it would be better to consult with an experienced aesthetic dermatologist and laser surgeon to determine what it best for you. Good luck!

--Amy Forman Taub, M.D.
Lincolnshire, Illinois



Oct
2001

Q&A: Can a laser hair removal treatment provide a permanent removal solution to dark hair on my chin and upper lip?

Question:

There is a woman in my area that offers treatment of facial hair by laser. She is not a doctor. I have tried many treatments. I would like a permanent treatment. Would this fall under plastic surgery, if there is a Permanent treatment? I have very heavy hair under my chin and a mustache.

- Martha

Answer:

Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon - LocateADoc.com

Dear Martha, Laser hair removal is permanent when done correctly. I would suggest that you look into a physician supervised hair removal program in your area (they all are supposed to be but many are so in name only). I have found that the best laser for really tough hair removal problems is a long-pulsed YAG laser as opposed to many of the diode or alexandrite predecessors.

--Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon
Honolulu, Hawaii



Nov
2001

Q&A: How do I remove body hair from my back and shoulders, what will it cost, and where do I get it done?

Question:

I have unwanted body hair, especially on my back and shoulders. How do i get rid of it permanently and how much would it cost? Where would i go?

- Brian

Answer:

Amy Forman Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

By far the easiest and most effective way is via laser hair removal. There are many different laser systems that can achieve this. I would go to the website for the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery at www.aslms.org and try to find a practitioner in your area. Fees vary widely, so I would suggest having a consultation with an experienced laser surgeon or their laser specialist and find out what is involved and how much it costs. These consultations are often free.

--Amy Forman Taub, M.D.
Lincolnshire, Illinois



Sep
2001

Q&A: Do I have Male Pattern Baldness or something else if I am losing my hair but my hair line is not receding?

Question:

I am wondering if Male Pattern Baldness always follows that same pattern defined by Dr. Hamilton in 1951. I am losing my hair but I have no receding hairline... could it be something else then?

- Iqbal

Answer:

Amy Forman Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

Most experts agree that "strawberry marks" otherwise known as hemangiomas, resolve spontaneously by ages 5-7. However, they can also grow considerably before they start to regress (go away). In your son's case, the proximity to the eye is the most worrisome aspect, because if it grew large enough, it could obstruct his vision. If it were to start growing, I would seek out a pediatric dermatologist. If it doesn't grow and you just wait, it will go away. Often you can tell if they are starting to go away because portions of the area turns a light greyish color. Laser treatments have been shown to hasten their reabsorption. Be sure if you want to look into this possiblity that you deal only with someone who is experienced with hemangiomas in the pediatric age group.

--Amy Forman Taub, M.D.
Lincolnshire, Illinois



Sep
2001

Q&A: Should I consider laser skin resurfacing to remove pitted scars from plucking ingrown hairs on my chin?

Question:

I have pitted scars from plucking ingrown hairs on my chin area, not knowing that plucking was making them worse. I have been having laser treatments for the ingrown hairs which has made a big difference and has helped me alot. Although I am still left with these small (not red) scars that are not deep, but bothersome to me and have heard alot of bad things about chemical peels which I do not think I want to have done. I have looked into laser treatment for resurfacing and was wondering if that is the way I should go, although these scars only on the chin area are not deep nor are they red, so I am stuck as far as where to turn, where to go, as the laser place has suggested the peels giving me all the side affects. I am ivory skin colored with dark hair, facial hair all over, which most is blode and not bothersome, aside from the dark ones that started appearing on the chin area, had hormones tested and that was not the case, was told that this was and is hereditary. Can you please give me some guideline as to where to start, if laser resurfacing would be the best route to go, so forth?

- Nadine

Answer:

Amy Forman Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

Laser resurfacing is a really intensive treatment which I would use only as a last resort. Chemical peels vary by the strength and the chemicals that are used. Mild chemical peels- salicycilic acid 20-30% (Beta-LIft Peel) or glycolic peels 30-40% virtually have no risks and in a series may help you. Another option would be microdermabrasion, which I favor as a treatment for this type of problem, but you will also need multiple treatments, at least 5-6. Finally, you could try to find someone who has a Cool Touch II Laser. These are known to improve acne scars without much risk. Go to the web site www.aslms.org to find a laser practitioner in your area.

--Amy Forman Taub, M.D.
Lincolnshire, Illinois



Aug
2001

Q&A: Can the Estratest I am taking for hot flashes and mood swings cause facial hair growth and what can I do about it?

Question:

Thank you for the quick answer. The hair growth is dark hair but light in density. What kind of doctor would prescribe Vaniqa? I am, also, on Estratest, for estrogen replacement and I have seen an increase in hair growth since I began taking it a year ago. My doctor has tried several kinds of hormone replacements but this is the only one I have had any relief from hot flashes and mood swings with. Thanks again!

- Marian

Answer:

Amy Forman Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

If your hair is darker than your skin it can be removed with a laser. But facial hair is the most resistant to permanent removal. The Estratest has some testosterone in it, which may be mood stabilizing for you but may contribute to the hair growth. Any doctor can prescribe Vaniqa, which is a pretty harmless cream- perhaps the doctor that put you on Estratest would do this for you? Another consideration would be Spironolactone, an oral medication that blocks hormone action at the level of the hairs. If your gyne is not interested in discussing these things with you, see a dermatologist or an endocrinologist. Good luck!

--Amy Forman Taub, M.D.
Lincolnshire, Illinois



Aug
2001

Q&A: What can I consider beyond electrolysis and using tweezers to remove light facial hair that keeps coming back?

Question:

I have had light facial hair for many years and have spent a great deal of time and money on electrolysis. Most of it has been very successful but I still continue to have facial hair on my jawbone, chin and throat. I tweeze daily but it still looks terrible. Would laser surgery permanently remove this and is there swelling or redness and for how long? Please help me.

- Marian

Answer:

Amy Forman Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

By light do you mean light colored or light in density? Light colored hair does poorly with lasers, not that it is impossible but it isn't ideal. If the hair is darker than your skin tone than it will be possible. The thinner and lighter colored the hairs, the more difficult a good result from laser will be. Laser hair removal when performed properly results in minimal redness of a few hours, if that. You should be able to apply makeup immediately after. I would recommend you also look into Vaniqa, a new prescription cream which retards hair growth.

--Amy Forman Taub, M.D.
Lincolnshire, Illinois