How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser hair removal is the use of laser energy to produce long-term hair reduction. The heat from the light of the laser is absorbed by the pigment, or melanin, in the hair. That heat then triggers inflammation in the hair follicle, which causes the follicle to go into its resting (telogen) phase. While resting, the follicle produces no hair.
What Is a Laser, Really?
A laser is a device that produces light of a single color, or wavelength. Lasers used in dermatology emit pulses of high-energy light that are taken up, or absorbed, by the desired target. Different wavelengths are used for different targets. In the case of hair removal, the target is the melanin pigment contained within the hair shaft.
A Delicate Balance
The tricky part of laser hair removal is targeting the hair shaft without damaging the melanin pigment in the skin itself. Thus, the laser light has to be on long enough to heat the hair, but not too long to allow that heat to spread to the surrounding skin, where it could cause damage. The darker a patient’s skin, the more difficult it is to avoid this kind of injury to the surface of the skin. For this reason, three different types of lasers have been developed for hair removal. Which type your physician will recommend for you will depend on the both the thickness of your hair and the color of your skin.
How Many Treatments?