Laser hair removal is a now common procedure which removes hair from a persons body using a laser. This type of treatment is administered by training laser hair removal specialists or doctors and the practice has been increasing in popularity since its initial inception during the 1990s.
The laser technology is able to break the hair growth cycle by targeting and killing the hair follicle by matching of a specific wavelength of light and rate of pulsation to produce the optimal effect on the targeted tissue (the hair follicle) whilst minimizing the effect on the surrounding tissues. By using lasers the practitioner is able to target the darker parts of the skin (the hair follicle) without burning the surrounding skin surface. This is due to the fact that light is absorbed more readily by the darker elements than it does in the surrounding skin tissue.
Laser hair removal is a technology, which is also known as SPTL or selective photothermolysis. It is the process of matching specific light wavelengths and pulse direction and obtaining an optimum effect on a targeted tissue and minimal effects on the area surrounding it. This allows the laser to destroy the hair follicle and stops the hair cycle giving you hair free skin.
The surface of the skin along with the hair is colored by melanin which occurs naturally in the skin and is the primary target for almost all of the hair removal lasers in use today. The specific lasers used by laser hair removal clinics use various pulse lights and target the melanin. The melanin is the dark pigment in the hair. As the pulse lights targets the melanin it also destroys it, preventing it from producing thicker or more hair.
There are different lasers available that target different hair/skin combinations. It is important to find a clinic that uses the specific type of laser that works best for your hair and skin combination.
The phase of the hair growth has 3 stages:
The Growing Stage
The Resting Stage
The Shedding Stage
In laser hair removal, the pulse lights target it on the growing stage. The results of the treatment can usually be noticeable within 10-14 days from the date of the administration. The process needs to be repeated a number of times to achieve what is defined as “permanent hair reduction” various locations on the body require a different number of treatments at particular intervals that suit the hair cycle of that specific type of hair.
Where Can You Get Laser Hair Removal Done?
Laser hair removal procedures are also being offered in informal settings or areas such as malls, spas and walk-in dermatological clinics. It is best for patients to choose a trusted, guaranteed and experienced skin care professional or healthcare providers to conduct this treatment, as it is sensitive and if not properly administer may result to injuries like minor burns and such. In addition, this treatment must be done under the supervision of a licensed dermatologist or certified physicians who have license and proper training for conducting these treatments.
This kind of treatment needs your careful planning, consideration and decision-making. Take time to choose a clinic or specialist who will administer the treatment. Try to research more about the technology that the clinics are planning to use. Make sure that all safety precautions such as licenses and regulatory requirements are available at the clinic of your choosing. Lastly, make sure that the cost will not compromise your health. Hair laser removal is a beneficial and advantageous treatment, given that the specialist administering it is well and properly trained for the job.
Laser hair removal treatments are verified to achieve “permanent” hair reduction. But what does this mean exactly?
The truth is that the term “permanent hair reduction” has been approved to be used in the United States by an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services called the Food and Drug Administration (FDA or USFDA). According to the definition provided by the FDA, “permanent” hair reduction is the ” long-term, stable reduction in the number of hairs regrowing after a treatment regime”.
So what this means in reality is that although the treatment will permanently reduce the number of hairs regrowing in the treated area it may not be one hundred percent perfect. In some cases patients may need a ‘touch up’ treatment 6 to 12 months after the original course of 3 to 8 treatments has been completed. In rare cases the treatment may not be effective which can sometimes occur if the incorrect technology is being used, the equipment settings are lower than they should be or the patient’s hair and skin type are simply not suitable for this type of treatment.
In any case, your chosen practitioner will be able to determine whether or not your skin and hair type is suitable for laser hair removal treatment.
Human hair contains two types of melanin which determine the color of the hair.
Dark or black hair contains eumelanin, while blonde or red hair contains pheomelanin. For laser hair removal to be effective the hair must contain eumelanin meaning it has to be either black or brown hair for the laser treatment to be effective. It works best when targeting hair that is course and dark.
The optimal combination that achieves the best results is when a person has really dark hair and very light skin as this difference in contrast allows the laser intensity to be absorbed by the hair and hair follicle at the maximum rate. However new advancements in the laser technology is allowing the treatment to see success when treating patients with dark skin and dark black hair.
There are however a range of different types of lasers that combat the most common hair and skin type combinations. In order to achieve optimum results you should choose a laser technology that is most suitable for your hair/skin combination. Here are some of the more common laser hair removal technologies available.
Ruby laser – This technology generates best results for lighter skin.
Alexandrite laser – This method of laser hair removal works for light-to-olive complexion and larger body parts.
Long-Pulse Nd:Yag laser – This method is usually opted by individuals who have coarse hair and dark or tanned skin.
Diode laser – This is a more advance method that works great for dark and light skin and for black and brown hair.
Intense Pulsed Light Devices (IPL) – This technology is best for all skin colors and hair types except for light hair.
While laser hair removal is a very efficient method for long term reduction of unwanted body hair it is not known to result in the permanent results with just one session. In almost all cases at least three treatments will be required to get permanent results.
There are several factors that play a role in determining the number of laser hair treatments needed by a person. Basically, it is during your consultation with a laser practitioner that the area to be treated will be assessed, which can help ascertain how many sessions you will need. The area to be treated, the coarseness and the density of the hair are among the main factors to consider.
For significant facial hair reduction, at most three treatments are needed. Those who want to get rid of excess hair in the bikini area, around three to six sessions will give great results. For leg hair, between three and five treatments will do. In all these cases, going back to your laser practitioner for maintenance treatments at least once a year is required in order to deal with hair regrowth.
Laser hair removal used to be available only for certain parts of the body and specific hair types. And so, not all people dealing with unsightly hair on their bodies could take advantage of this laser treatment. But today, with the arrival of some newer and much more advanced laser devices, it has become possible and easier to deal with excessive hair on different parts of the body.
For females, the most common parts treated with laser hair removal include: the face (particularly above the lip area, between the eye brows, and the hairline), the underarms, the torso (around the navel), legs, arms, the pubic are, thighs, the feet and the buttocks.
Laser hair removal treatments have grown really popular among men as well. Some of the areas most frequently subjected to laser treatment for hair removal are: the neck, the chest area, in and around the ears, the face (hairline and between eyebrows), the hands and feet, the back area, as well as the buttocks.
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