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What is Laser Hair Reduction?
Laser Hair Reduction is a safe and reliable procedure to remove unwanted hair from the skin. It is one of the most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures. The laser can be safely used over the most sensitive parts of the body such as the face, bikini line, neck, chest, etc. as it is an FDA-approved treatment. The most common technologies used for laser hair reduction are the Diode and Alexandrite laser.
The Diode laser has a wavelength of 800-810 nm. The longer wavelength allows for deeper penetration into the skin. This laser works well for all skin types because it does not target the melanin in the skin but the hair follicles directly. This way, the risk of skin damage and pigmentation is less with Diode laser. This laser is effective for dark, coarse hair making it a good choice to remove hair from back and bikini lines.
This laser has a shorter wavelength of about 755 nm. Therefore, it is best for people who have a fair complexion and dark hair. Due to its larger spot size, this laser can cover large areas quite easily like the hair on the chest or back.
How does laser work?
The hair that we see on the surface have their roots in the hair follicles. These hair follicles contain a pigment known as melanin. The melanin is responsible for providing color to the hair. The laser does not work on the surface hair. The laser emits a concentrated beam of light that penetrates the skin, targets the melanin in the hair follicle and damages it. This damage stops the hair growth at the target area. However, one should not expect immediate results in a single session. Multiple sessions are recommended for delayed growth. To understand why an individual requires multiple sessions of hair reduction, one must understand the four stages of hair growth cycle i.e Anagen, Catagen, Telogen and Exogen phase.
The hair grows during the anagen phase where it keeps growing up to six years.
During the catagen or transition phase, the hair follicles shrink and detach from the dermal papilla.
The next phase, which is the Telogen phase lasts around 3 months. In this phase, hair follicles go into the resting phase.
After 3 months, in the exogen phase, old hair sheds and the new hair continues to grow. One can experience excess shedding and noticeable thinning during this phase.
The laser is effective for hair reduction when the hair is in the anagen phase. Not all hair is in the growth phase at the same time. This is the reason multiple sessions are required to remove hair completely from a target area. This is also the reason that laser does not give permanent results as the hair starts to grow back after 6-7 years.
A laser is a quick treatment, therefore, many people assume that it is a simple procedure and can be performed anywhere or by anyone. But one needs to understand that it is a medical procedure and people need to consult a dermatologist or a cosmetic surgeon who has experience with laser hair removal procedure. The dermatologist would examine the medical history to check whether one is physically fit for the procedure or not. One should also discuss the risk and benefits of laser hair reduction to know about the expectations of the procedure.
One must follow some precautionary measures before getting the treatment.
Avoid tanning before opting for laser. The more the color difference between hair and skin color, the better are the results.
Do not apply bleach over the target area. Because the laser targets the melanin present in the hair follicles. If there is no melanin, then there is no point in using a laser as it has no target. The treatment would be ineffective.
Do not pluck, thread or wax hair from the target area as it removes the hair follicles. Thus, the laser has again no target.
However, one can shave because the laser does not have any effect on the surface hair or skin.
Besides its multiple advantages, many people still feel reluctant to opt for the procedure as they consider laser hair reduction an expensive procedure. But if we consider the amount of money that one spends on salon sessions, razors, epilators, hair removal creams, etc. the total cost sums up to be much lesser than all the laser sessions combined. However, the cost depends on the target area, the number of sessions, the laser technology used, etc. thus it may vary from person to person.
Now, let’s talk about the common myths about Laser Hair Reduction.
Myth: Laser causes cancer.
Fact: Laser Hair Reduction does not cause cancer as the radiation emitted by the laser is very minimal. It is a safe and FDA-approved treatment.
Myth: Laser Hair Reduction does not benefit people of dark complexion
Fact: Lasers have been used for hair reduction for ages. Earlier, the lasers used for the hair reduction used to emit a shorter wavelength of light which was effective for people with fair skin and dark hair. Now, advanced lasers are used in special settings so that it can also work for people who have a slightly darker skin tone. One should always consult a dermatologist to know whether they are suitable for the procedure or not.
These are only a few myths, but if you want to know about the actual facts behind more such myths, check out our IGTV where we’ll be soon uploading a video about Myths & Facts related to Laser Hair Reduction.