Interview With Dr. Alex Kaplan

February 18, 2011 in Laser hair removal

Dr. Alex Kaplan has been the Medical Director of Celebrity Laser Spa in Los Angeles ( since it opened in 2005.  The clinic has remained at the forefront of laser procedure usage since that time.

Dr. Kaplan graduated from medical school in 1996 from the University of Michigan and attended residency training at University of Chicago in Plastic and General Surgery.  He is also a member of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery.  Dr. Kaplan is currently on staff at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center.

What are the benefits of laser hair removal over other hair removal methods?

Laser hair removal has many advantages over preceding methods.  The greatest advantage is speed.  If you are getting an upper lip or chin electrolysis, then it doesn’t take that long, but who can imagine getting electrolysis for the legs or a full back?  It would take far too long.  A pair of legs can be treated with laser in under an hour while a bikini line takes 10 minutes or less.  Aside from electrolysis, all other older methods of hair removal, such as waxing, plucking, or epilation creams are non-permanent.

How has laser hair removal changed in the last few years?

Most technology available for hair removal has been around for 10 years or more.  The greatest recent change in the marketplace is the proliferation of businesses offering laser hair removal.  This increase in supply, coupled with the recent economic downturn has made laser hair removal more affordable than before.  Laser hair removal has also become so commonplace, that most women have had it done or know someone who has.

Can people with darker skin use laser hair removal?

Darker skinned people can also get laser hair removal, but it requires greater caution. The principle behind laser hair removal is selective photothermolysis.  This relies on the target element, such as the unwanted hair, absorbing more laser energy than the surrounding skin.  In darker skin, the hair has to be darker than the surrounding skin.

Also, lower settings have to be used so that not too much energy is absorbed by the skin.  Therefore, the darker the skin, the less effective laser hair removal is.  Some laser systems are better suited for treating darker skinned individuals, such as Nd:YAG lasers.  Alexandrite, on the other hand, is best for the lightest skin tones.  Intense Pulsed Light Devices and Diodes are somewhere in between.

Where is laser hair removal most effective?

The areas of the body with coarse, dark hair, such as the underarms, respond better while fine, fuzzy hair, such as on the cheek, is harder to treat.

What situations won’t it help?

Blonde and white hair responds very poorly to laser treatment. Electrolysis may be the only solution in such cases.

Are there any side effects or risks to laser hair removal? Is there anyone ineligible for it?

Burns are the main risk associated with laser hair removal. Preventing burns requires selecting the right treatment settings according to the hair color and skin type. Treatment should be avoided for people who are poor candidates, such as individuals with tanned skin and blonde hair.

What should someone look for when selecting a laser hair removal clinic?

When looking for a laser hair removal clinic, it is important to select one with a long track record of satisfied customers and medical supervision.  Fly-by-night operators may offer some great deals, only for it to become apparent that they do not have the equipment or skills sufficient to provide quality service.  Medical supervision ensures that laser operators are properly trained and can bring a physician’s attention to any unusual cases or side-effects.

What is special about your clinic and service?

Celebrity Laser Spa is unique in offering a full menu of laser and esthetic treatments, as well as expert laser tattoo removal.  All treatment is provided only by advanced practitioners, such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, or doctors.  Celebrity Laser Spa is also proud to be one of the first in Los Angeles to offer Tickle Lipo(tm) minimally-invasive liposuction.

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