To be Tan or Hairy? That Is The Question

by | August 17, 2010 @ 09:00AM

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To be tan or hairy? That is the question. A new laser is the answer.

There is nothing better than donning a new teeny bikini and sporting a perfect tan-that is, unless you're too concerned about unsightly body hair to enjoy yourself. "In Florida, people are very body conscious and want to look their best all the time," says Dr. Jason Pozner, a Boca Raton, Florida plastic surgeon. "People wear very little clothing, and spend a good deal of time at the beach. Even those who wear sunblock find themselves with tan skin due to constant exposure. And the people who wear less clothing want less hair." Ideally, we would all like to remove hair on our backs and around our bikini lines forever. But previously, for those of us with tanned bods, which includes most of Florida, permanent hair removal was not an option. With the development of the new 1064 laser, even the perpetually tanned can have unsightly hair permanently reduced without getting burned by a laser.

Prior to the 1064 laser, plastic surgeons and dermatologists had to turn away tan patients seeking laser hair removal. Most patients do not want to hear that they have to give up a bronzed body in order to achieve a hairless one. Most women feel that darker legs will compensate for the appearance of cellulite or make spider veins less noticeable. As Dr. Pozner points out, "It used to be a case of having to give up one thing to have another. Previous lasers designed to remove hair, if used on people with tans, would burn the patient's skin. The bottom line here is that no matter what laser hair removal device was used, there was always an interference with the suntan that intervened with the effectiveness of the laser." Even a few years ago, surgeons were only able to treat people with light skin and dark hair, and even up to two years ago, darker skin could be treated, but the problem was that there is a difference between someone who is darker skinned and someone who is tanned. When a patient is tan, the tan (or melanin) in the skin interferes with the laser beam.

To solve this problem, various companies, including the Stiton Corporation, produced the 1064 laser, which emits light at a different wavelength than previous lasers. The results of this new laser, according to Dr. Pozner, are faster care and better design. "The main attribute is that the laser can be used on tanned patients without burning the skin," he asserts. In the last few years, there have been a proliferation of new lasers for hair removal, but Dr. Pozner points out that the 1064 laser is the only one that can effectively treat skin that has been tanned.

The best news is that the laser can be used on the face, under-arms, bikini lines, and backs, virtually anywhere that unwanted hair grows. After only a few short treatments, the hair is significantly and permanently reduced.

"Laser hair removal is a wonderful modality," says Dr. Pozner. Women are at a point where they no longer want to shave and endure razor stubble. Waxing can be troublesome and painful. Such disadvantages make permanent hair removal a very attractive alternative. And now everyone, regardless of his or her complexion, can enjoy the full benefits of permanent hair reduction without having to forego a tan body for a hairless one.

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