Is It Safe to Have Laser Treatment for Both Hair Removal and Varicose Veins at the Same Time?
You may wonder if you’re a candidate for both laser hair removal and laser varicose vein treatment. Since laser procedures to remove leg hair and treat varicose veins differ in their outcomes, getting both procedures done is usually safe. But asking the appropriate questions about the treatments can help you make an informed decision.
Read on to learn about these procedures and to form your own questions when you schedule these procedures.
How Do the Two Procedures Work?
While either procedure involves the use of a laser, the actual treatment methods differ—one treatment does not generally affect the other.
The laser used to remove hair sends intense pulses of light through the skin at targeted areas. Melanin in the hair follicles absorbs the light energy, converting it to heat. The heat destroys the hair follicles, which then shed off and slow hair regrowth.
Conversely, the heat from the laser used for leg vein treatment damages the vein. As a result, scar tissue forms, sealing off the vein. Without a blood supply, the vein shrinks within a period of several weeks and eventually disappears as it is reabsorbed by the body.
Which Procedure Should You Schedule First?
It’s up to you which treatment you want to undergo first: laser hair removal or laser treatment for varicose veins. Some individuals choose to have both procedures performed on the same day, especially if vein treatment involves only tiny superficial veins, or the veins just under the skin’s surface, in the lower legs.
Other individuals prefer to schedule laser hair removal and then get vein treatment at another time. In some cases, the doctor performing the procedures may recommend which procedure he or she wants to perform first.
How Many Laser Treatments Do You Need?
Although the number of sessions for laser hair removal varies by individual, generally, the process requires multiple sessions to get the desired results. Laser treatment does not permanently remove all hair, but several treatments can permanently reduce the number of hair follicles in the treatment area.
Although the outcome of treatment can be long lasting, hair growth may eventually occur again. A greater number of treatments helps ensure less hair growth for longer. Usually, you need maintenance sessions to treat hair that was in the dormant stage during previous treatment but that starts growing again after your initial procedure.
On the other hand, laser treatment for spider veins and small varicose veins usually requires multiple sessions of laser therapy with treatments spaced several weeks apart. This range of time and additional treatments allows for healing and for the vessels to close. Sometimes, new spider veins appear and require additional treatment. In this case, schedule additional appointments as needed.
What Are the Possible Side Effects?
Laser hair removal and laser treatment of small varicose veins share many of the same side effects following treatment. While neither treatment causes the skin to break down, tingling and numbness around the treated areas are common side effects.
Laser treatments on your skin also make it more sensitive to the sun. Therefore, it’s important to avoid sun exposure following treatment. If redness occurs at the treated site after treatment, the skin can turn brown if exposed to the sun.
Itching can be a side effect, especially during and after laser hair removal. Swelling around the hair follicle also may occur.
Since laser treatment stimulates melanin production, darkening of the skin may occur following hair removal or vein treatment. However, in some cases, the laser light can suppress melanin production, causing lightening of the skin from the loss of pigment.
Mild laser burns can also occur, especially if you have darker skin. That’s because skin with darker pigments absorbs the laser light energy more easily.
What Are the Benefits?
Because it’s a noninvasive procedure, laser hair removal treatment involves little pain. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates laser devices manufactured for medical and cosmetic purposes for safety, be sure to ask if the laser the doctor will use for your treatment is approved for your skin type.
Treatment takes only minutes, as the professional doing the procedure can target multiple hairs at the same time. The treatment effectively removes unwanted hair on most skin types.
Similarly, since the doctor doesn’t need to make no incisions for simple laser surgery, recovery following laser treatment of small spider veins or tiny varicose veins is short. Typically, you can return to your normal daily activities immediately following treatment. Some people experience a prickling sensation or minimal pain following the procedure, but you can take an over-the-counter pain relievers as needed.
If you still aren’t certain whether both treatments are right for you, the experienced physicians at the Sheen Vein Institute can answer any additional questions you may have about the treatment methods, possible risks, and advantages.