4 Biggest Laser Safety Tips
If you've had enough of irritating razor bumps, messy and painful waxing and endless tweezing and have been considering Laser Hair Removal as an option, you're not alone. Laser Hair Removal has become a highly popular medical procedure and with that being said, there are some very important "dos and don'ts" that you should be aware of before you begin your journey to being 'hair-free'.
#1 DO NOT seek out the lowest prices around when shopping for Laser treatments.
Like the saying goes, "you get what you pay for" and putting a laser to your skin should not be taken lightly. Several companies providing laser treatments are closing their doors due to their inability to maintain the costs of operating a laser business. The cost of obtaining and maintaining a laser, license renewal and mandatory continuing education is extremely expensive since a Laser is a medical device. Salons and so-called medical spas may use cheap prices to get you in, but what is their equipment like? Is it a real laser device (Alexandrite, Diode or Nd: YAG) or is it an IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)? Has the equipment been serviced or kept up to date? Does the facility boast good reviews? Does the technician seem well versed, provide you with detailed information and show attention to detail to avoid a nasty burn? This brings me to a second, very important laser safety tip...
#2 DO check for proper credentials and a Medical Director (physician) on-site.
Currently, Florida law states you must have obtained the credential, CERTIFIED MEDICAL ELECTROLOGIST (CME), to perform Laser Hair Removal treatments. This certification is obtained by first becoming a licensed Electrologist and Certified Clinical Electrologist (CCE). If someone tells you they are an Aesthetician, Electrologist or a "CCE" they may remove hair, but they are absolutely NOT permitted by law to perform Laser Hair Removal treatments.
#3 DO know the difference between IPL and a true Laser.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is not a laser. An IPL machine penetrates the epidermis using multiple wavelengths and is scattered light. This means it is not a focused, columnated beam of light consisting of one specific wavelength ideal for a specific treatment. Also, the long term effects of IPL are not yet determined.
Laser on the other hand is very specific and is an acronym for "Light Amplification Stimulated by Emissions of Radiation". ...Radiation? Don't worry, it is non-ionized meaning it is safe, but can cause damage to the eyes or skin depending on the amount of exposure. This is why protective eyewear must be worn with Class 4 lasers (Alexandrite, Diode, Nd: YAG) and knowing the proper settings are key to avoid causing a laser burn to the patient's skin. A laser burn heals over time and can be avoided if the professional asks the proper questions and knows the proper settings for each individual's skin type.
#4 DON'T tell the professional what settings to use.
If you have to tell a licensed, trained and certified medical professional what settings to use, it should raise a giant red flag as to whether this person knows what they are doing. Most of the time, patients do not understand what 'settings' mean. Laser settings are determined by the CME through analysis of the patient's skin type to protect the patient's skin from resulting in a burn. If you are going in for your laser hair removal treatment expecting immediate results and tell the CME to use high settings, you should read "Higher Laser Settings Does Not Mean Better Results". Since an Alexandrite laser (755nm) chromophore is "melanin", the laser picks up anything with pigment and does not know the difference between dark hair, dark skin or a scribble of black sharpie marker on a white piece of paper; The laser focuses on anything dark in color. This is mainly why the Alexandrite Laser is ideal for effective results in permanent hair reduction.