Laser Hair Removal

laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is one of the most popular forms of cosmetic surgery. It is the use of laser power to produce permanent hair removal.

This is accomplished by producing high temperature in the hair, which is transferred to the hair follicle, which in-turn produces inflammation, and this inflammation sends a gesture to the hair follicle to go into the telogen phase.

Although laser hair removal meets with the FDA definition of "permanent," many patients do experience some hair regrowth in the years following the procedure. So while laser hair removal is effective in reducing hair in target areas permanently, it may not permanently prevent hair from growing in that area altogether.

How Laser Hair Removal Works

A laser is a piece of equipment that produces light of a solitary color or wavelength. In dermatology, these lasers produce pulses of high-energy light emitted into the target area. In the case of hair removal, the target area is the melanin pigment restricted within the hair shaft. The difficult aspect of laser hair removal is targeting the hair shaft without destructing the melanin pigment in the surface of the skin. Then the laser light has to be on long enough to heat the hair, but not so long as to allow that heat to extend to the nearby skin, causing damage.

In addition, the darker a patient's skin, the more tricky it is to keep from injuring the surface of the skin while treating the hair. For this reason, there are three main types of hair removal lasers that are used during the procedures and depending on the thickness of the hair and the tint of the skin, one laser may be chosen over another.

Keep in mind that, in addition to lasers, strong pulsed light sources are also used for hair removal. These light sources do not release a single color or wavelength of light, but emit light that contains a variety of colors. It may be more complicated to avoid complications when using light sources that contain many wavelengths of light. However, the results with any piece of equipment depend upon the expertise of the surgeon.

How Many Treatments Will You Need?

laser hair removal

Normally, a sequence of three to five treatments is administered at four to eight week intervals depending on where the hair is located. Following the first series of treatments, further treatments are administered, usually at longer intervals. A number of maintenance treatments may be needed to keep all the hair away in a specific area. After a single treatment, the hair in this specific area is usually reduced in volume and thickness for a great length of time.

To keep an area completely free of hair, maintenance treatments are always required. These maintenance treatments may eventually be required at yearly or an even longer time frame. This again depends on the area being treated as well as the individual. This procedure varies from person-to-person.

How Does Laser Treatment Feel?

Because the laser energy is engrossed in the hair follicle producing warmth, there is some sensation when getting laser hair removal. There will be pain in certain areas of the body more than other parts. In addition, patients with very thick hair may experience more discomfort than those with thin hair. This is because the thicker, darker hair will soak up more of the laser light during any treatment. Normally, the hair becomes thinner and less dense after each treatment. The most discomfort is usually experienced during the first treatment.

The uneasiness associated with laser hair removal varies considerably between individuals, and varies based on a variety of factors, including:

  • Patient skin type

  • Laser used for treatment

  • Thickness and density of the hair

  • Area where the hair is being treated

  • Patient's pain tolerance

laser hair removal

Discomfort is one of the many factors the person administering the laser action will use to settle on the appropriate setting for the laser. Although prescription numbing creams are generally safe, putting them on large areas of the body can result in adverse side effects.

Applying the numbing creams while actually in the doctor's office is the best approach as the physician can monitor the amount that is applied as well as observe your skin for any adverse reactions. There are cases when patients are unable to have the treatment due to low-pain tolerance.

While the number of treatment varies from person to person, most people will require at least three treatments for the best result. This is characteristic because while all hair is momentarily disabled during each treatment, all of the hair follicles are removed. This is why a number of treatments may be performed. Keep in mind that most patients only require around six treatments. Individuals who have hormonal imbalances or people who normally wax or pluck a lot may require more sessions.