"Laser hair removal was first reported 15 years ago by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School,” says Omar A. Ibrahimi, MD, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology and director of cutaneous laser and cosmetic surgery at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Connecticut, and visiting scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Since then, many advances have been made which make laser hair removal highly effective, long-lasting and safe when performed by a properly trained professional.”
The most commonly reported side effects of laser hair removal are “blistering and scarring or changes in skin pigmentation—hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation,” says Bruce Katz, MD, clinical professor of dermatology, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and director of Juva Skin & Laser Center, New York. “Occasionally, reticulate erythema—the inflammation and reddening of the skin in a net-like pattern—has been reported in patients who have a history of chilblains. These events are certainly decreasing with improved devices and better protocols.” While previous technologies removed hair effectively, they also damaged the surrounding skin, notes Dr. Katz. “Newer lasers penetrate the deep dermis instead, decreasing the damage to surrounding
skin,” he says.
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