Lasers have improved greatly in the last decade, becoming ever more accurate and efficacious. One of the most popular laser procedures is removing unwanted hair, known as Laser Hair Removal. Although it may seem that laser services are offered on every street corner, let’s review some laser facts.
Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The very intense bursts of light target hair follicles and destroy their ability to produce hair while leaving the surrounding skin intact.
First, there are many types of lasers. There are different colors of light, wavelengths, different cooling methods, and complex energy settings in each laser system. In fact, laser medicine is a very complex practice that should be left to Board Certified Dermatologists who have had the proper training.
Now that we have determined that laser hair removal should be done in the proper setting, let’s answer the burning question. Is it permanent? We can never say “permanent”, but, depending on the area, it’s pretty darn close. For instance, the legs and underarms respond very well. But, hormonally challenged areas like the face and abdomen necessitate maintenance therapy.
Generally, hair growth is decreased by 60-90% on average. Results depend on location, as well as the pigment of the hair follicle and maximum results are seen with a minimum of 7 treatments spaced 6 weeks apart.
Hair grows in three distinct phases. The anagen phase of the hair cycle is when the growth of hair takes place. This is the active growth phase in which the hair bulb is intact. Catagen is a brief intermediate phase during which the body absorbs the lower third of the follicle. Telogen is the resting phase. Only hair in the anagen phase is affected by the laser which is why it takes multiple treatments to reach all the hair.
Yes! The laser light is attracted to pigment, so, unfortunately, it will not affect white or gray hair.
Seek a Board Certified Dermatologist with extensive experience and don’t be lured by someone promising to get rid of your hair in a few sessions. It’s a bit of a commitment, but, it sure is worth it!