Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

The process of laser hair removal has become very common. It is readily practised by dermatologists as the safest and most reliable method of effective hair removal these days. The technology incorporates selective photolysis method for hair removal. It involves throwing certain wavelength of light on a desired skin area to destroy living hair follicles. The light wavelength burns a dark chromosphere pigment called melanin, without heating the skin. But does laser hair removal work?

Earliest laser practices were done back in 1997. However, it was very expensive, plus there was added risk factor of burning, swelling and discolouration due to which people avoided laser technology. With technological advancement to improve laser technology, it has become much safer and reliable. In fact, it is now commonly used by skin specialists all around the world. These days, laser machines for self-treatment have been introduced with which one can get rid of public hair in their homes.

Laser technology has been declared as an effective method for hair ‘reduction’ by Food and Drug Administration in United States of America. A common misconception that prevails among common people is that laser treatment is effective in permanent hair removal. On the contrary, laser beam only ensures less speedy growth of hair.

Number of Sessions

Laser technology is only workable if the process is repeated for seven to eight times over a period of eight to nine months. Many dermatologists offer a course outline, which needs to be followed for effective hair reduction. Human hair grows in three major phases, anagen, telogen and catagen. A single session of laser treatment only kills tissues in early anagen stage. In order to kill follicles in all stages, multiple sessions are needed.

Laser hair removal efficiency is largely dependent on various parameters. It is strongly related to skin tone, hair color and melanin content. Laser hair removal works successfully on tight skin with coarse black hair. Obese people have loose skins which take large time for laser beams to kill hair follicles.

Color Pigment

We all are familiar with color radiation concept. White color reflects heat and black absorbs. Same phenomenon works in laser technology as laser beam uses heat wavelengths which are absorbed by darker skins and hair more effectively than lighter ones. People having naturally blond or red hair are most difficult to treat.

Parameters Affecting Laser Efficiency

One of prime parameters involved is pulse width (or the length of heating). If the pulse width is not enough, heat will not be able to damage germ cells in hair follicle, leading to less hair removal. It should be made sure that the light energy being absorbed by the melanin fully destroys all layers of hair growing tissues. Attaining adequate temperature is highly critical as slightly increasing temperature may lead to skin burns and swelling.

Another important factor to be considered is fluence (energy density). In order to heat up follicles to destroy melanin, high settings for fluence should be checked. For higher fluences, epidermal cooling is readily recommended. It also reduces pain and probabilities of side effects, especially in people with Asian/African tones.

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