Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I need to have a dermatologic consultation before laser hair removal surgery?"
I would like to have the hair on my back surgically removed. Do I need to see a dermatologist? I'm 38 and embarrassed by the situation.
It might be best to see a dermatologist if you are interested in laser hair removal. Although laser hair removal is becoming more and more popular for hair removal, and it is generally safe and well tolerated, there can be side effects. A dermatologist will help you determine if laser hair removal is the best option for you. In particular, laser hair removal works best for people with light skin and dark colored hair, as the contrast in color between the hair and the skin is what allows for the selective destruction of the hair follicles. It is harder to remove hair with laser from dark skin. Furthermore, dark skin is more prone to some of the complications of laser hair removal, especially post inflammatory hypopigmentation, where the skin reacts to the laser treatment by becoming essentially permanently lighter in color. This can be quite disfiguring, and is one of the major reasons for seeing a dermatologist prior to laser treatment to make sure the type of laser and the laser settings used are suitable for your hair and skin type. Other options for hair removal that are less complex do exist. For example, electrolysis has been in use for many, many years and does not have the same risks as laser hair removal.
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