FDA approved since 1995, Laser Hair Removal has improved the quality of life of thousands, especially female with male pattern hair growth. Removal of unwanted hair by laser is a major advance over treatment such as electrolysis.It has brought hope to several individuals with hair growth in areas where they cause embarrassment. There are certain things you should know about this form of treatment. Some are listed below.
1. What is Laser Hair Removal? It is a laser beam targeted at the hair follicle. The high intensity ray of light gives off heat energy. The laser tracts along the hair shaft, heating it and leading to thermal damage to the follicle while leaving the surrounding tissue unharmed. The effectiveness of this treatment depends on the concentration of melanin in the hair. It is more effective in dark hair, less effective in brown or ginger hair and will not work on white, grey or platinum blonde hair. As the laser travels along the hair shaft, there must be hair present. It is, therefore, not recommended to pluck unwanted hair before treatment. Similarly since laser hair removal works on the melanin level, dark skin or tanned skin need special treatment.
2. Cost depends on the size of the area that needs treatment. The larger the area, the greater the cost. In the USA, the average cost per session is $450 and in the UK, the cost may vary from £45 to £450. Treatment may be for several sessions in a year because hair will re-grow. The re-growth, however, will be slower and the hair thinner. Mr. David Gault, Plastic Surgeon, reported 80% reduction of upper lip hair growth after 6 months.
3. What you should find out: Make sure you know as much as you can about Laser Hair Removal. Choose a clinic that offers free consultation so that you can assess suitability and what is on offer. Find out before hand how much it will cost you. Make sure you know whether a medical practitioner will be on the premises during your treatment. Check that your assigned therapist is suitably qualified and experienced.
4. How safe: Laser is a pure high beam light. It does not cause cancer. It only penetrates up to the dermis of the skin. It is dangerous to the eyesight. You will probably use goggles to protect your eyes during treatment. The skin can be darkened by laser because of the melanin concentration. Too much exposure can leave the skin with paler patches that slowly fades away. Over heating can cause blistering and rarely scarring especially in darker skin and people with recent tans. The paler you are before treatment the safer and better the treatment.
You should not have laser hair removal if you are sensitive to light or have any infection on the area to be treated. You should not have treatment if you had isotretinoin as acne treatment in the last year.
5. Is Hair removal permanent? Laser hair removal and electrolysis are considered the only permanent hair removal treatment. Although laser hair treatment is promoted as permanent by the industry, this is not strictly the case. It cannot stop the unwanted hair from re-growing. It will, however, slow the re-growth so that it can take several months or years. The re-growth will consist of thinner hair.
6. What happens during treatment? Depending on the types of laser beam system and the area to be treated, you may be required to wear goggles. Laser hair removal treatment can cause stinging or the area may tingle. The time taken for a session depends on the size of the area and can last between 15 and 45 minutes. The area concerned will be treated approximately once a month for between two and eight months. Not all lasers are the same and results may vary with different systems. Before you embark on Laser hair removal, make sure you do your homework.
7. What types of Laser Hair Removal are available? There are various types available. The Ruby Laser is the oldest. It is not suitable for dark skinned or tanned people and only covers a small area. The Alexandrite Laser is the fastest laser available. It is used on light to olive complexion. It is the most popular type because it can cover large areas of the body. The Diode Laser works better for dark skin and is not as effective in lighter skin. It is fast and covers large areas during treatment. The Long Pulse Nd:Yag Laser can be used on all skin types. It is fast and covers large areas. Patients, however, tend to experience more discomfort during treatment. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is not really Laser but will have the same effect as laser on the hair follicles. It is more difficult to use and needs greater skill.