All About Laser Hair Removal – Part I
There has been a lot of comment lately in magazines, and online about laser hair removal.
While many will tell you that this procedure is the most effective method for permanent removal of body hair, this is not absolutely true.
In fact, one of the interesting facts about laser hair removal is that its results cannot be generalized.
Each person, assuming first that the person is a good candidate in the first place, and some are not, will respond differently to the laser hair removal process.
So what exactly makes someone a "good" candidate for laser hair removal?
Many people assume, and quite incorrectly so, that a person need only be financially capable of paying for the multiple laser hair removal treatments
that are going to be required. On the average, laser hair removal sessions cost approximately $500 each and typically, up to four treatments are required.
While financial ability is obviously an important consideration, what is even more important is going to be a person's pigment.
Pigment is what gives color to skin and also to hair. To be effective as a hair removal process, the color of a person's hair must be darker than the
skin that surrounds it. That is why people with dark, coarse body hair and light skin have more success with laser hair removal treatments
than light-haired or red-haired individuals or individuals with dark or highly tanned skin.
Melanin is the pigment that gives hair its color.
For a laser hair removal treatment to be effective, the melanin must be able to absorb the energy that is produced by the laser, which is going to
generate a considerable amount of heat. Inside the hair follicle, the melanin surrounds the structure that is responsible for germinating hair.
Once the absorbed laser energy destroys the melanin, this structure is no longer protected. The excessive amount of heat that is generated will damage
the hair germination structure which is what actually ceases future hair growth in that follicle.
Because dark or tanned skin contains a significant amount of melanin, this sort of skin can actually absorb a greater portion of the laser energy
making less available to penetrate the hair follicle. Skin absorption must be kept at a minimum for laser hair removal to be effective.
One other important factor in inhibiting the skin's absorption of laser energy is keeping the skin cool during the laser hair removal process by
applying a cold compress to the affected area. This will allow the laser to bypass the colder skin so it can reach the melanin within the hair follicle.
Another way of keeping the skin cool during laser hair removal is to use the latest "multi pulsing" laser technology. As the name implies, laser energy is pulsed or interrupted,
rather than streamed. Because of this pulsing, less heat is delivered at once which helps to cool and at the same time, protect the skin.
Other laser removal devices include: Alexandrite, a long pulse laser; Diode, which generally is used on darker skin; Q-Switched Nd:YAG,
which delivers two wavelengths that work on both deep and near-surface follicles; and Ruby, which, as the name implies,
consists of red laser beams capable of targeting melanin.
Now that you know the basics of laser hair removal, read Part II for more information about its advantages and disadvantages and what's important to know before you decide on this hair removal technique.