Until recently, the chief methods of hair removal included shaving, waxing or tweezing, but in the 19902, the first reports of how laser can be used to damage and disable hair follicles was first published, and about a decade later, laser hair removal has become the norm.
Using a technique called selective photothermolysis, laser hair removal is performed by exposing a beam of laser light to a few hair follicles. With the power of the light, the hair follicles can either disable or destroy the hair right from the root, without damaging or destroying the skin in that area. In fact, your doctor will take care to keep the surrounding skin cool with a gel, spray or cooling tip.
The laser beam can locate hair follicles by targeting their substance that gives them skin and dark color or melanin. Since the beam targets only the hair and not the skin, it is termed selective, while photothermolysis refers to the ability of this technique to destroy the hair with heat. From this you can infer that you need to have dark hair and light skin to be eligible for this procedure. So, if you have red, white or gray hair, this procedure will not work on you.
Types of lasers:
The four most commonly used laser procedures are:
This laser produces a red light at the limit of visibility at 755nm. It is the fastest hair removal laser, and suitable for quick treatment of large body areas in patients of up to olive complexion. It can take hair away from an entire back in just 30 minutes.
This is the original hair removal laser whose deep red color at 694nm is completely absorbed by the hair”s pigment, melanin, making it an ideal choice for fine and light hair. But since melanin is also present in our skin, this laser cannot be used on dark-skinned or tanned skin patients. Due to this, and high power consumption, slow repetition rate, and a smaller spot size, Ruby lasers are now less popular than before.
This is the simplest laser, comprising a high power laser diode that emits infrared (invisible) light at ~800-808nm. The longer wavelength is good for deep penetration into the skin and is also safe for darker complexions, but not so for finer and lighter hair.
ND, and LP ND Yag:
This long pulse laser is not well absorbed by the skin and pigment and can therefore be safely used on all skin types, including tanned complexions. But the disadvantages are that you are very uncomfortable during the sessions and it is less effective in clearing away fine and light hair than other hair removal lasers techniques.
Before going in for a treatment, you will need three or four treatments, each with a gap of six to eight weeks. Next, wait for a year to see the full effect of the treatment. For a few days after the treatment, the area under treatment will be very sensitive, so wear protective clothing and use sun block when you”re out in the sun.
Now that you know just how this technique works, decide if it is really for you and then be very careful to follow all the instructions given to you.