SKINS Derma Care SKIN 101
Is Laser Hair Removal Right for You?
Getting Rid of Pesky Hair—And Keeping it Gone!
You’ve tried shaving, waxing, hair removal cream, and even painstakingly removing hairs with a tweezer, but no matter what you do the hair always comes back worse than before. This constant repetition can seem like absolute torture, but thanks to the wonders of technology it doesn’t have to ever be a problem again.
Modern laser hair removal has been around since 1998 and since its inception, it’s been the most effective method for hair removal, when compared to other methods of hair removal. The process is both non-invasive and is ideal for those with delicate skin as it does not harm the outer layer of skin in the area.
Before you consider laser hair removal it is important to understand how it works and how to treat your skin after the process. While we can provide some information in this article, the best idea is to consult with your local hair removal clinic.
How It Works
The primary principle behind laser hair removal is a process known as selective photothermolysis (SPTL). The laser is a concentrated beam of light that is aimed at the hair follicle, damaging it enough to slow down future growth. The process is almost entirely painless and for many feels like a small pinch or static shock.
Is Laser Hair Removal Right For You?
Laser hair removal has provided the best results for patients with dark hair and light skin. That said, Cutera’s Nd:YAG laser technology offers exceptional results to patients with all skin and hair types.
Advances in laser hair removal have allowed for modern lasers to better ignore the melanin in people’s skin allowing the treatment to work for every skin tone. Those with darker skin tones should keep in mind that their treatments will often require more sessions, however.
Laser hair removal works best on coarse hair. Fine or fuzzy hairs are often untreatable or may not get the results you want. The same can be said for white or grey hair, as little pigment remains, making the laser less efficient.
For those that are committed to maintaining a hairless body, laser hair removal may be one of the best options. But before you decide to book a session, it’s important to understand everything involved.
For those constantly shaving, waxing, or using expensive hair removal creams, it may be time to finally stop and consider laser hair removal. You can expect longer-term results (if not outright permanent) compared to traditional hair removal options. Laser treatment can also exponentially slow down the growth of future hair.
How it All Started
Research in laser hair removal began in the 1960s as laser technology began to develop. The pioneers of laser hair removal saw an opportunity in the emerging technology and began experimenting with lasers as a safe and effective way to remove hair. This eventually grew into an industry that produced lasers specifically for hair removal, led specifically by clinical researchers.
The lack of regulation really hurt the first researchers, however. Initial beams were impractical and risky, and this created a stigma about laser hair removal that persisted for years to come. As the industry pushed forward, created regulations, and technology improved, laser hair removal became a viable option for hair removal and was finally accepted by the late 1990s.
How It Works
Put simply, laser hair removal involves a concentrated beam of light being aimed and fired at hair. The light emitted from the laser is absorbed by the pigment in the hair, which damages the follicle enough to drastically slow future growth. By destroying the follicle, it can remove hair for anywhere from several months to years, though results may differ from person to person.
There are several lasers used in removal treatments, each with their own specific uses and strengths. Here are a few popular laser systems and what they’re capable of:
- Nd, and LP Nd:YAG – Effective on darker skin type, though works very well for all skin types.
- Alexandrite – Effective on patients of all skin types.
- Ruby – Effective on patients with light, or pale skin.
- Pulsed Diode Array – Effective on pale to medium skin.
Is Laser Hair Removal Right For You?
Before we can answer this question for you, you need to ask yourself whether or not you really need to remove that stubborn body hair. Are you spending an exorbitant amount of time and money constantly removing body hair? Are you frustrated with existing methods? Do you have realistic expectations about your treatment options? Once you’ve taken the time to consider all these questions then you’re ready to consider laser hair removal.
It is also important to take into consideration the thickness of the individual hair as well as the location it is in. Finer hair is often non-receptive to laser hair removal and cannot be fully removed. While hair can be removed from almost any port of the body, most clinics will refuse to remove eyebrows, or any other hair near the eye, because of the proximity of the laser to a patient’s eyes.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Considered safe when performed properly and by an experienced and skilled provider
- Potential hair growth is lighter and finer in texture
- Can be done on almost any part of the body
- Prevents hair growth for long periods of time, if not permanently
- Quite useful in removing hair from large areas of the body
- Greater investment depending on the amount of hair removed
- Some do not respond well to the treatment
- Greater need for protection of treated skin
- Some recovery time
When looking for a laser hair removal clinic, take some time and do your research. Finding a professional clinic with a clean, immaculate treatment space is a must. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and ask your laser technician for a walkthrough of the equipment and process. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to get rid of frustrating hair—and keep it gone!
Thanks to Karolina at Epilator Home for the image! Image courtesy Epilatorhome.com