Laser Hair Removal

What exactly does Laser Hair Removal mean?

Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a laser an intense, pulsating beam of light to remove unwanted hair. During laser hair removal, a laser beam passes through the skin to an individual hair follicle. The intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth. Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair.

The Method?

Laser hair removal is done with an equipment that emits laser beams which are also known as invisible lights. These lights penetrate the skin and then enter the hair follicle. By doing so, the laser light succeeds in damaging the hair follicle, thus making it impossible to grow hair again. Though the laser light is transformed into heat when it reaches the follicle, it does not cause any harm to the skin. Moreover, the biggest advantage of laser hair removal is that it is customized according to the type of skin that has to be treated. One question that many people ask is whether laser treatment is suitable for all types of skin. The answer to this question is quite vague. This is because the laser hair removal is effective in removing dark hair on fair skin, however, the same thing cannot be said for people who have dark skin, though the laser used for this is different from the former. On the other hand, till now, there is no laser found to remove body hair that is light or white.

An important thing that people have to know about laser hair removal is, the time frame. Unlike other temporary hair removal methods, laser method cannot be completed in just one session. Rather, several sessions would be required to achieve the best results. However, the time required to complete each session would depend on the area that is being treated. Small areas like chin, lip, etc. may take only a few minutes, when areas like hands, legs, underarms, etc. will take half an hour to one hour. The cost of laser hair removal is quite high and would vary according to the area that is treated. Also, it is not covered by insurance and hence, it is important to discuss the cost with the doctor before beginning the treatment procedure.

The Procedure?

The principle behind laser hair removal is that the lasers used for this purpose selectively target only dark matter (hair follicles) in the area and generally do not affect the skin. Almost all hair removal lasers identify melanin as the dark target matter. Melanin is the coloring pigment in the skin and the hair. It can be of two types – eumelanin, which is responsible for the black or brown color and pheomelanin, which gives the red or blonde color. As the lasers can detect only the dark matter, removal of red or blonde-colored hair is not done through this method. Lasers are best capable of removing black or brown hair and the best suited combination for this method is light skin with dark hair. However, this created problems for dark-skinned people, whose skin also got affected with the laser, but this problem has now been solved by the new lasers introduced for this purpose.

Is it Safe?

Yep, it is…,  because the laser rays are passive and leave no residual rays in the body to become harmful (as opposed to x-rays). However if you are darker complected, it does tend to cause unsightly scarring (again refer to the section above as the laser uses variations in color to find the hair follicle. I definitely recommend having the doctor do a “test patch” in an area that can’t be seen and then determining if your skin reacts well.

Side Effect?Dangers?

A number of people question whether laser hair removal is safe. It is safe and does not cause life-threatening diseases like cancer, because the laser light that is used, travels only till the dermis layer of the skin. The laser light heats the melanin present in the hair shaft, though it is advisable to use sunglasses while you use the laser hair remover machine, as there can be a possibility of the laser light harming the eyes.

Too much exposure to the laser light can cause white patches on the skin. These patches can take a fairly large amount of time to fade away. It has been observed that people with dark skin have blotches due to over exposure to laser light. The intensity of the laser light if not adjusted can cause burning and unwanted scars, especially seen in darker skinned people and people who have themselves tanned.

Usually people with sensitive or dark skin or thick hair can sometimes feel the pain while using the laser hair remover. People who have just undergone treatment for acne should not use laser hair removal treatments. Similarly people who have sensitive skin, which is responsive to concentrated light should stay away from this treatment.

Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?

Laser methodologies have now been proven by the Food and Drug Administration to offer permanent hair reduction. This means that the number of hairs will be reduced but ALL hair is not permanently removed. Some areas are more effectively treated and some colors of hair are more responsive to laser treatment.

When you are considering laser hair removal, be sure to consult a dermatologist. They can help you prepare for the procedure and recommend any precautionary steps that are specific to your skin. This will help you get the best results possible from your laser hair removal. Particularly if you have sensitive skin, you may need to use a slightly different after-process treatment than most people to help prevent inflammation and infection.

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