How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
October 23, 2015
Ever thought about how nice it would be to never shave (or wax) again? You’d be surprised at how simple reaching that goal can be—all thanks to the amazing laser technology that’s been developed over the last few decades. Today, almost any of the area of the body can be treated to stop hair growth indefinitely, through just a few sessions with a special laser. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It is! But if you’re like most people, you may be curious to learn just how laser hair removal works before you take the next steps.
Laser Hair Removal: Targeting the Hair Follicles
So how does laser hair removal keep the hair from returning? It all has to do with the hair follicles. During a treatment, the laser is used to destroy the hair at the root—which also damages the hair follicle in the process. The damage caused to the follicle will keep hair from growing in the future indefinitely. However, hair grows in three distinct cycles, and not all the follicles will be active at once. This is why more than one treatment, spaced to allow for different active follicles, is necessary to achieve good results.
Pigment: The Secret to Effective Removal
But wait—how does the laser only target the follicles? The great thing about laser hair removal, as opposed to some other laser treatments, is that it’s typically safe for all skin types, simply because it does not target the skin—it targets the hair. The laser finds the pigment in the hair, then destroys that hair at the root. For this reason, laser hair removal is most effective on patients with lighter skin and darker hair, because the contrast makes it easier for the laser to target the pigment.
Each treatment is customized to the patient’s skin color, ethnicity, and the thickness of the hair. The length of a treatment depends entirely on the size of the area to be treated, and can last anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour. The treatment is considered uncomfortable, but tolerable (it is often described as similar to a series of snaps from a rubber band). Each patient’s needs are different, but typically 3-6 treatments are necessary for good results, spaced several weeks apart.
After Each Treatment
After each session, there is no downtime. The only common side effect from treatments is some redness that should only last a few hours. However, patients need to be careful about sun protection and sun exposure, as the skin will be vulnerable to hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) from the laser. Tanning is an absolute no during the hair removal process, and patients should use strong sunscreens during this time to protect the skin.
Limitations of Laser Hair Removal
Because of the way the laser latches onto pigment in the hair, there are a few limitations to the hair removal process. People with very light hair (white, gray, or red) are not good candidates for the procedure, because the laser cannot target the pigment in the hair.
Laser hair removal is considered permanent, but a few touch-up procedures may be necessary along the way to achieve lasting results. Most patients are extremely happy with their results, however, and find that just a few treatments are adequate to their needs.
Choosing the Right Provider
One of the main keys to success in laser hair removal is choosing an experienced, board certified physician to perform your treatment. By choosing an expert, you’ll minimize your chances for complications and improve your results.
At Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, we’re committed to helping each patient reach their individual goals. Dr. Haitham Masri is board certified, skilled, and experienced, with over 25 years of experience. If you would like to discuss the possibility for laser hair removal treatments at our clinics in Birmingham, or Dearborn, Michigan, call 866-487-3223 today to schedule your complimentary consultation.