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Which Treatment Should I Do First: Laser Hair Removal or Varicose Vein Removal?

woman looking at her bare legs

At Ethos Spa Skin and Laser Center, we often have patients who inquire about the possibility of undergoing both laser hair removal and varicose vein removal. After all, both treatments involve the use of a laser machine, with focus on clearing up the patient’s skin.

This leads to a number of questions, most commonly: which treatment should be done first, laser hair removal or varicose vein removal?

The answer is that, unless dealing with a very unusual case, it doesn’t matter which treatment is done first. Both procedures can be safely performed on the same day, as the treatment and healing processes of laser hair removal and varicose vein removal do not affect one another.

How Laser Hair Removal Works and How Varicose Vein Removal Works

Laser treatment is quite simple to understand – with intensified pulsating light beams (the lasers), doctors treat the body with high levels of heat, while causing little to no pain to the patient when performed properly.

The processes behind laser hair removal and varicose vein removal operate on the same principles: with heat, both the body hair and the varicose veins are treated and cleared.

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal treatments target the hair follicles in the skin. The follicle is the foundation where each strand of hair grows, and healthy hair follicles across the skin lead to thick and long body hair. During a laser hair removal treatment, the doctor directs intensified pulses of light at the skin.

The settings of the laser device are adjusted so that the heat from the lasers is absorbed by the melanin in the hair follicles, which is why it is usually easier to perform laser hair removal on patients with greater pigmentation contrast between their hair and their skin. The laser heat travels down the hair and into the hair follicle, damaging and destroying the hair follicle, preventing future hair growth.

Varicose Vein Removal

While varicose vein removal doesn’t work exactly the same as laser hair removal, it still involves damaging a part of the body beneath the skin safely with laser heat. The laser is adjusted to specifically target the varicose vein.

Varicose veins form when valves inside the veins become weak and can no longer effectively allow blood to travel to the heart. Blood becomes pooled in the vein, causing the swollen and twisted veins to become visible. There are two types of varicose vein removal with laser, and these are:

  • Simple laser treatment: Performed on smaller varicose veins and spider veins, or performed as a second treatment for larger veins. This is performed outside of the skin, and is best done on shallow veins directly beneath the surface of the skin.
  • Endovenous laser treatment: Performed on larger varicose veins that would otherwise require surgery for complete removal.

During varicose vein laser removal, the heat from the laser damages the vein by causing the blood inside of it to coagulate, leading to the vein collapsing and sealing up. While allowing no damage to the surrounding tissue or skin, the repeated laser treatments slowly force the vein to disappear and shrink, until any sign of the varicose veins are gone.

Your Laser Hair Removal and Varicose Vein Removal Quick Guide

 Laser Hair RemovalVaricose Vein Removal
PurposeTo treat unwanted facial and body hairTo treat varicose veins, generally in the leg area
How It WorksHeat from the laser targets the melanin (pigment) of the hair follicle, burning and destroying the follicle, preventing future hair growthHeat from the laser targets the varicose vein, damaging the vein by causing the blood to coagulate with the heat, forcing the vein to collapse and seal off
Common Areas of TreatmentFace (chin, upper lip and cheeks), underarm, bikini area, and legsLegs, along the thighs, down the calves, and around the ankles
Treatment SensationPatients generally experience a slight pinching sensation on the targeted area. In some cases, the light pulses may feel like being snapped by a rubber bandPatients may feel a kind of pulling sensation on their vein during the procedure. Afterwards, there may be some tenderness for a few hours
Average Sessions Required6-10 sessions (depending on the area being treated), each spaced about 4-6 weeks apart, or as recommended by your doctor1-5 sessions (depending on the size and condition of the veins), each spaced 4 weeks apart, or as recommended by your doctor
Possible Side Effects– Numbness, tingling, and tenderness around the treatment site
– Itching and swelling around the hair follicles
– Possible slight skin darkening or lightening
– Numbness, tingling, and tenderness around the treatment side
– Possible slight bruising

Does Laser Hair Removal Affect Varicose Veins?

It is important to note that laser hair removal does not affect varicose veins. While the same type of treatment can be performed as both laser hair removal and varicose vein removal, patients must understand that different wavelengths are used for the two procedures.

This means that if a patient comes in for a laser hair removal session, the heat from the lasers is specifically set to target the melanin of the hair follicles. The penetration is superficial and cannot affect the varicose veins until the proper wavelengths are used.

Is Laser Hair Removal Safe for Varicose Veins?

laser hair removal on legs

As laser hair removal cannot affect varicose veins, there should be absolutely no danger for a patient receiving laser hair removal over skin with varicose veins. 

Remember: there is no level of skin breakdown during a laser hair removal treatment, and the skin is also protected by a cooling gel or spray that will prevent the patient from feeling any heat pain. When handled by a trusted professional, it is impossible for the heat to damage anything beyond the hair follicle during laser hair removal treatment.

Are There Any Side Effects of Doing These at the Same Time?

As laser hair removal and varicose vein removal do not affect each other’s treatment and healing processes, a patient can undergo both procedures on the same day without worrying about any potential side effects beyond the expected possible laser treatment side effects.

As both procedures are noninvasive, patients can undergo both laser hair removal and varicose vein removal within just a few minutes with no extra preparation involved.

If you are planning to have both laser hair removal and varicose vein removal done, it is advisable to combine these two, allowing you to reduce your overall treatment and recovery time.

Consult your doctor on whether you should have both procedures performed on the same day. If you do not want to do both procedures on the same day but would still like to perform them together, then you may opt for the possibility of doing one procedure one week, and the next procedure the following week.

Find Your Ideal Laser Solutions at Ethos Spa

Ethos Spa Skin and Laser Center is New Jersey’s premier provider of modern laser solutions. Laser procedures can be quick and painless when performed by experienced professionals, and at Ethos Spa, our team is filled with only the best.

Whether you are looking for laser hair removal, varicose vein removal, or something more, our team at Ethos Spa is more than ready to help you find the perfect solution. Contact us and book your consultation at Ethos Spa today.