A discussion with Kierstin McClanahan, RN, of Belcara Health by Kierstin McClanahan

Yes! There is no need to suffer through another waxing appointment or contend with ingrown hairs and bumpy, irritated skin. Laser hair removal is a fantastic way to get rid of unwanted hair and enjoy silky-smooth skin.

We all have hair we don’t want. In fact, men and women have been striving to remove unwanted body hair for centuries. Traditional solutions – like razors, tweezers, depilatory creams, and wax – work well enough, but they must be repeated frequently, making them inconvenient, time-consuming, and relatively expensive when added up over time. They can also irritate the skin, lead to ingrown hairs, and be quite painful. Electrolysis – a treatment that damages hair follicles with an electric shock – offers a more permanent result. However, because each hair follicle must be treated individually, electrolysis can also be highly time-consuming and costly.

Laser hair removal is the fastest growing non-surgical cosmetic treatment in the nation – popular among both women and men. It can be performed on all skin types and almost every part of the body. The most common areas treated are the underarms, genitals, lip, beard, sideburns, neck, legs, chest, abdomen, and back. The only area that cannot be treated is the eyebrows, due to the risk it poses to the eyes.

Laser hair removal works by targeting hair at its roots to prevent further growth. It uses heat energy to target the melanin pigment located in the base of the hair follicle, vaporizing the follicle to dramatically disable future hair growth. Unfortunately, this treatment does not work on white, red, or gray hair because they don’t contain any melanin to absorb the laser’s heat energy.

Although laser hair removal works best for those with darker hair and lighter skin, today’s advanced laser technology makes it possible to safely treat people with darker skin tones. It is very important to find a qualified, experienced laser hair removal professional using the right kind of laser, especially if you have darker skin. If you don’t, you risk wasting your time and money for poor results and possibly ending up with burns or hyperpigmentation.

During the treatment, a topical numbing cream is applied to minimize discomfort. A hand-held device, wide enough to treat large areas in one session, is placed directly on the skin to deliver the laser’s heat energy. Most patients report feeling a series of short, quick zaps – like the snap of a rubber band – and minor redness, which goes away quickly. Following treatment, normal activities can be resumed immediately, but excessive heat (like a hot shower) should be avoided for 24 hours.

Because hair grows in cycles, most people require at least six treatments (depending upon the density and condition of the hair being treated). Laser hair removal does not eliminate hair completely; instead, it reduces the hair’s growth to a rate that negates the need to wax or shave any time soon. Follow up appointments are usually needed every now and then to maintain long-term results.

Laser hair removal treatments may seem relatively expensive at first, but if you consider the pain and cost of regular waxing appointments over decades, as well as the continuous discomfort and unsightliness of razor burn, ingrown hairs, and stubble, this treatment is truly a no-brainer. t

Kierstin McClanahan is a registered nurse specializing in medical aesthetic treatments. At Belcara Health, Kierstin offers a wide range of cosmetic treatments, including laser therapies, injectables (Botox, Juvederm), and CoolSculpting. Learn more about Kierstin and Belcara Health at Belcarahealth.com or call 410-296-0414.

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Belcara Health
Belcara Health
Where health and beauty blend.

Belcara Health is a unique, multidisciplinary practice offering Plastic Surgery, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Wellness and Skincare services - all under one roof. The practice’s renowned specialists collaborate to provide a continuum of care with integrated, personalized services and procedures designed to help patients live happier, healthier, more vibrant lives – now, and for the years ahead.

Dr. Michael Cohen, Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Gary Vela, Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Bradley Robertson, Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Nadia Mostovich, Facial Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Ciro Martins, Dermatologist
Dr. Richard Adler, Ophthalmologist
Dr. Eric Nager, Integrative Medicine
Dr. Andrew London, OBGYN

Belcara Health / 1427 Clarkview Road / Suite 300 / Baltimore, MD 21209 /
BelcaraHealth.com / 410.296.0414