Laser hair removal is the process of hair removal by means of exposure to pulses of laser light that destroy the hair follicle.
The primary principle behind laser hair removal is selective photothermolysis (SPTL), the matching of a specific wavelength of light and pulse duration to obtain optimal effect on a targeted tissue with minimal effect on surrounding tissue. Lasers can cause localized damage by selectively heating dark target matter, melanin, thereby heating up the basal stem cells in the follicle which causes hair growth, the hair follicle, while not heating the rest of the skin. Light is absorbed by dark objects but reflected by light objects and water, so laser energy can be absorbed by dark material in the hair or skin, with much more speed and intensity than just the skin without any dark adult hair or melanin.
Melanin is considered the primary chromophore for hair removal lasers. Melanin occurs naturally in the skin and gives skin and hair their color. There are two types of melanin in hair. Eumelanin gives hair brown or black color, while pheomelanin gives hair blonde or red color.
Hair grows in several phases (anagen, telogen, catagen) and a laser can only affect the currently active growing hair follicles (early anagen). Hence, several sessions are needed to damage the hair in all phases of growth and force it to revert to a vellus non-colored small hair.
Lasers can selectively target dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.Each pulse of the laser takes a fraction of a second and can treat many hairs at the same time. The laser can treat an area approximately the size of a quarter every second. Small areas such as the upper lip can be treated in less than a minute, and large areas, such as the back or legs, may take up to an hour.
Laser Hair Reduction is suitable for both men and women. It’s a near perfect and permanent solution for hair removal from unwanted body parts.
Laser hair reduction is safe, tried and tested method which can be done at a specific part of the body or full body. Long term hair reduction by LHR is the ultimate solution to avoid waxing, razors, epilation, and their pain and side effects.
The area to be treated is marked and covered with a cool gel. Laser light is given on the surface of the skin which penetrates the hair root and permanently removes the hair root, thus giving long-term freedom from unwanted hair in that area.
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The response depends on the type of skin a person has, the darkness and the thickness of hair. 80-90% reduction is achieved in 6-8 sessions, each at an interval of 6-8 weeks. Hormonal disturbance or thicker hair may require more sessions. It’s necessary to take appropriate medications by a skin doctor for PCOD while one is on laser treatment, where only laser sessions may not provide expected results.
When performed with a good laser machine after assessing the right skin type and operated by a trained person then laser hair reduction is not associated with any side effects.
Risks of side effects vary with skin type, hair color, treatment plan and adherence to pre-treatment and post-treatment care.
Rarely, laser hair removal can cause blistering, crusting, scarring or other changes in skin texture. Other rare side effects include graying of treated hair or excessive hair growth around treated areas, particularly on darker skin.
Fact: Laser hair removal is a comfortable procedure. The patient might feel the sensation of a rubber band snapping on the face or nothing at all, depending on an individual’s tolerance for pain. Also, the laser used these days for hair removal has a cooling mechanism, so the heat generated with the laser is countered with the cooling effect. Thus, the patient does not feel any discomfort. Numbing cream and cooling gel are also applied over the target area for a completely painless experience.
Fact: Thanks to the growing awareness around inclusivity and advances in technology, now laser hair removal has become suitable for darker skin types as well. The ideal candidate for laser hair removal has traditionally been someone with fair skin and dark hair. With the help of advanced lasers, the procedure has become more safe and precise for a wide range of skin tones. Nd:YAG laser has become increasingly popular as the wavelength of this laser goes deeper into the skin, so it can more successfully bypass the pigmentation present in the skin. This makes the procedure the safest and effective option for dark skin color.
Fact: Laser used at appropriate settings only targets the hair follicles present underneath the skin. The laser does not affect the surrounding skin at all. Immediately after the procedure, one may experience slight color pigmentary changes on the skin of the target area, but these changes fade over time, and the skin retains its original color.
Fact: Every individual has their own hair growth patterns. Therefore some people require a few sessions while others require more. But with each session of laser hair removal, the hair starts to become thinner and ultimately stops growing. So, the laser does not cause new hair growth, as it prevents new hair follicles from growing.
Fact: It is impossible to get permanent results in a single session. The hair grows take place in several phases. The laser can destroy the hair follicles when it is in the anagen phase (growing phase). Therefore, the dermatologist recommends the patients take multiple sessions to destroy hair follicles from the target area completely. The number of sessions depends upon the type of skin and hair. Thus, the number of sessions may vary from person to person.
Day care procedure
Any service with the word “laser” in its name might seem intimidating, but it’s actually very simple. Energy from the laser is picked up by the pigment in the hair follicle, causing destruction to the root. Once the root is destroyed, it can’t produce more hair.
While laser hair removal can work on any body part you wish to remove hair from, it is especially effective on the bikini, lip, chin, and underarm areas.
If you have dark hair and have ever been annoyed with how stubborn it can be when it comes to regrowth and removal, rejoice. The laser is attracted to pigment, or color, in the hair follicle.
That said, it can take a little longer to fully work on thicker hair. Some hair is just very resistant, and sometimes new ones come out due to hormonal changes or other hair bulbs becoming active during the treatment period.
Just as with waxing, this skincare treatment is incompatible with certain meds. Any medications that are photosensitive need to be stopped at least one week prior to treatment. It is noted that most antibiotics can be photosensitive, so if you have an infection, it could be a good idea to push your treatment back a few weeks.
Patients should not be using skincare with strong actives such as retinoids and alfa hydroxyl acids. These ingredients can increase skin cell turnover, making skin more vulnerable to the sun and irritation during the treatment period. If you’re not sure whether your medication could negatively affect your laser hair removal treatment, consult with your doctor beforehand.
Everybody is different, so the amount of sessions it takes varies per individual. Laser hair removal works when the hair is in its active growth rate. Different parts of the body have different growth rates, and therefore could take longer or shorter depending on which spot you’re treating. Majority of people need an average of six to eight treatments for full hair removal.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not completing the necessary amount of sessions. Once the hair growth slows down, patients don’t follow through. If you really want your treatment to be effective, please attend every session regularly as planned..
With numbing, it should be comfortable. Typically, it feels like a rubber band snapping the skin. Most of patients describe it as a light, warm pinch.
After your session, avoidance to sun exposure is advisable and the use of a sunscreen is highly recommended.