Laser hair removal is a more lasting method of hair removal. This is essentially a completely harmless beam of light, which is converted into thermal energy and is selectively absorbed by the melanin of the hair follicle, resulting in the destruction of regenerative cells that produce hair growth.
While traditional hair removal methods have many side effects such as scar formation, allergic reactions and bursitis (hairs trapped in the skin), these are not present with laser hair removal. In addition, the aesthetic effect with laser hair removal is better, while the cost can now be said to be almost the same as that of waxing.
The action is done exclusively on the target, leaving the surrounding area intact. During the treatment, the skin is protected by a dynamic cooling mechanism, where cryogenic liquid (cryogen) sprays the skin, cooling its upper layers. Usually a local anaesthetic is applied to the area as well.
The life cycle of hair has 3 phases; the anagen, the catagen and the telogen phase. The reason more than one laser hair removal session is needed is that the laser light is only absorbed by the hairs in the anagen phase.
Hair removal laser can be used at any age, in any gender, as well as on any area of the body where there is unwanted hair growth, such as:
- Face (upper lip, cheeks, chin, side-burns, eyebrows)
- Legs (calves and thighs)
- Abdominal line
The feeling of discomfort or pain depends mainly on how sensitive the area to be depilated is, the number of hairs in the area, the colour and thickness of the hair as well as the power (energy) of the laser machine.
Most areas need 3-7 sessions, but the number of hair removal sessions that will be required to achieve long-term radical results depends on skin type, hair stiffness, body area and hair growth cycle. A few days after the session, some may notice what looks like hair regrowth. In fact, most of these hairs are damaged hair follicles, which have already been neutralized by the laser, which will fall out and not grow back.
Each time a new session is held, the pain decreases due to a decrease in the number of hair follicles.
- Avoid long-term sun exposure for at least two weeks before treatment.
If sun exposure is necessary, always wear sunscreen with a high protection index and tell your doctor before treatment.
- Avoid mechanical hair removal methods (wax, electrolysis) for at least 4-6 weeks before treatment.
- Avoid using sunscreen immediately before treatment.
- The area to be treated should be depilated two (2) days in advance
Laser hair removal produces permanent results, although due to hair growth being a dynamic phenomenon, this may mean that new hairs will keep growing, especially in younger ages.
Laser Hair Removal Machines
Since 1995, when LASER was officially approved for the first time by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration), machines have evolved, and nowadays there are several types of LASER machines to treat unwanted hair growth.
The most common laser hair removal machines are the following:
ND: YAG LASER
Due to its weaker melanin absorption rate, this type of laser is best when used on dark skin. It is not very effective on fine or white hair due to the laser seeking higher concentrations of melanin, consequently targeting the melanin in the hair.
Common brand names: Cynosure Elite, Candela GentleYAG, CuteraCoolGlide
The Alexandrite Laser has a long wave-length, making it suitable for use on a wide range of skin tones.
Common brand names: Candela GentleLase, EpiTouch Plus
TheDiode laser machine has good melanin absorption as it emits both shorter and longer wavelengths. The diode is one of the newest machines today, and was designed for fair to olive skin types.
Common brand names: LightSheer, SLP 1000, LaserLite, ALmaSopranoXL (sometimes marketed as Super Hair Removal, a mode of the SopranoXL device)
This type of laser is the oldest of the hair-removal laser machines. It uses a shorter wavelength and a higher melanin absorption rate that makes it ideal for removing light and thin hair
Common brand names: Palomar E2000, RubyStar
IPL Hair Removal
IPL systems are approved for a wider range of skin types than other laser systems and work best with dark hair on light skin. Instead of a true laser, IPL systems use intense pulsed light, which has the advantage of a customizable wavelength, pulse duration and energy level.
Common brand names: Aculight, Quantum, Vasculight, Epilight, PhotoDerm
P-MIX Hair Removal
Incorporating the advantages of three technologies (Alexandrite, Diode and Nd: Yag lasers), the P-Mix is clinically proven to make the treatment of unwanted hair safe, comfortable and suitable for all skin types throughout the year. The P-MIX is a unique laser hair removal that combines the benefits of all 3 wavelengths 755nm, 808nm, and 1064nm, designed with the latest modern techniques and specifications, which make it a laser with special features.