Laser hair removal
is a surgical procedure and consumers should know the experience and training of anyone they choose to perform that surgery on them, said a dermatologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
"In my opinion, patients should find a doctor who has experience with the skin - preferably a dermatologist or plastic surgeon," said Dr. Ramsey Markus, a dermatologist at Baylor. "It doesn't take that type of experience to fire up the laser, but it does take that type of experience to properly deal with the complications that may arise."
Laser hair removal can cause scarring or skin pigmentation changes.
"There is never a guarantee there won't be complications, but if you're treated by someone who is well-trained, they may be able to minimize the complications and better deal with them if they occur," he said.
Consumers should also ask the person performing the procedure what additional training they have received, he said. Recent fellowships in laser surgery or additional training in cosmetic surgery are always a plus.
Markus recommends avoiding any salon or facility performing the procedure without a trained physician present to supervise. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery also recommends that all non-physician personnel performing laser procedures be both supervised by a trained medical doctor and have appropriate training in the pre- and post- operative care involved.
When done properly, laser hair removal can be performed quickly and comfortably during an outpatient visit. Results are permanent and side effects are minimal. Patients can resume normal activities immediately with minimal care to the treated area.