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Laser Hair Removal & Possibility of Skin Cancer
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Laser Hair Removal & Possibility of Skin Cancer

Hi Doctor,

I am a 27 year old caucasian male, and I am very close to scheduling a 4-session laser hair removal appointment to get the hair taken off my back and shoulders.  I am a good candidate, as I have light skin and dark, coarse hair.  The only thing really concerning me at this point is the potential long-term side effects - in particular, the possibility of the treatment causing skin cancer down the road.  I have done a good deal of research on the matter and, from what I can see, there haven't been any proven instances of the treatment causing skin cancer.  However, this method of hair removal has only been around for roughly 15-20 years (although its widespread use has only recently come into being), so perhaps the verdict isn't in yet on any long-term dangers of the procedure.  To your knowledge, could there be any possibility of the laser causing skin cancer?  I am aware that there aren't any documented cases of this, but really I am hoping to get a more scientific answer as to why or why not laser hair removal would trigger cancer down the road.  I have heard that the lasers use 'non-ionizing' radiation which is supposedly a 'lite' form of radiation, but this doesn't completely allay my fears.  The doctor that I am leaning towards uses the Soprano laser, which is new to the market and supposedly really good - it uses a technology called continuous wave diode.  Have you heard of this?  

Also, as an aside, I was just wondering how much you know about the treatment itself...in particular, do you know how permanent it is?  I'm worried that I'll spend all this money getting it done, and be very satisfied, only to have the hair start growing back several years later.  Is this typically the case or is the treatment pretty successful in permanent hair removal?  

Any answers to these questions would be so very much appreciated..

Thank you,
Dan
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242489_tn?1210500813
Non-ionizing radiation means energy that doesn't break DNA bonds.  Cancer is not an issue, period.

Laser hair removal is usually not permanent, as any ethical practitioner will tell you.  You may well grow hair down the line, which may reach the point where you'll want to touch it up from time to time.  Still, most patients are quite happy with the results.

Take care.

Dr. Rockoff
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