A laser consultation should take around an hour to complete if it is done properly. It never ceases to amaze us here at Laser Skin Solutions that some clinics only allow 20 or 30 minutes maximum for a consultation. When considering any form of cosmetic procedure, there should be ample time for your clinician to thoroughly explain your treatment options and to go through the procedure itself. Cost should be discussed in the early part of the consultation so that the patient can decide whether they would prefer to go home and have a think about it at this point. Once treatment options and price have been discussed if the patient at this point would like to take things further, then a full medical questionnaire should be undertaken. This should cover all aspects of your general health and wellbeing. As laser consultants, what we are interested in, is whether the patient has either any medical conditions, or on any medication that could cause problems with a light-based treatment. For instance, some medical conditions like lupus, are contraindicated to treatment. As are certain medications which we know to be problematic with exposure to light eg Roaccutane or St. John’s Wort to name a couple.
Once a thorough medical assessment has been carried out and there is no reason as to why a patient shouldn’t have laser treatment, then a patch test is carried out on a small area of skin. A small amount of gel is applied to the skin and a few shots of light are fired at the skin’s surface. This is a final test to check for any skin reactions before launching in to a full treatment (a bit like when a small amount of hair dye is placed behind the ear before having your hair coloured at a salon). It is also used to set effective treatment parameters, meaning that a patient will be treated with the correct settings from the word go. Most patients can’t even remember where the patch test was carried out. Normal side effects however can include slightly pink skin, some swelling around the hair follicles (a bit like the appearance of ‘chicken skin’ which you can get after waxing. Unwanted side effects can include blistering or mild burns, but these are rare. All expected and rare side effects should be discussed at the consultation.
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