Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

There is a not specific laser that works perfect on every individual. However, there are several lasers that provide successful hair removal depending on your skin type, hair color. Some of the commonly used lasers are ruby lasers, alexandrite lasers, diode laser,Nd:YAG lasers and Intense pulsed light sources. If these hair removal devices are best used according to your skin type, hair color and by an experienced, well qualified professional, you may get a permanent hair removal.

Long pulsed Nd:YAG lasers are best and safest in dark individuals, whereas diode lasers and alexandrite lasers are most effective for light skinned individuals. However, permanent removal of white or blonde hair may still be unsatisfactory with such lasers. Blonde, gray or white hairs are not sensitive to most lasers, as hair must have pigment to be treated effectively, and blonde and white hair have very low melanin pigment in their hair follicles. Being said that, its not that easy and quick to remove hair in dark skinned individuals because of excess melanin interference.

To overcome such problems chromophores are currently being tried that is absorbed selectively by hair follicles and provides temporary target for laser treatment. But, problem still may arise because chromophore may not penetrate into all depths of the hair follicles. That is why it is always wise to seek experienced and well qualified professional for your hair removal, so you may not encounter those problems in expert hands.

There are no any quick hair removal methods; every laser hair removal treatment needs at-least 4-6 treatment session at 6-8 weeks interval, depending on your skin type, hair color and the good hands of the professional performing your hair removal with selective laser for your skin type. Yes, laser hair removal works perfectly if chosen wisely.

Laser Hair Removal Facts

Unwanted hair is a universal cosmetic problem. Many traditional hair removal methods exist, including shaving, tweezing, waxing, bleaching and some chemical depilatories. Although these methods are effective, inexpensive and simple, but are unacceptable to many men and women, as none of them are permanent and it have to be done on daily or weekly basis. Furthermore these methods may be painful and may be complicated by folliculitis, hyperpigmentation and scarring. Only electrolysis can give you the permanent solution, but the method is very impractical for the treatment of large areas and needs highly qualified professional.

Recently several lasers and other light source have bee developed and approved that specifically target and destroy melanin in the hair follicles while avoiding damage to surrounding skin. These lasers are able to treat large areas in relatively short time with permanent removal.

Some lasers that have been used for laser hair removal:

  • Normal mode ruby lasers (694 nm)
  • Normal mode alexandrite lasers (755 nm)
  • Pulsed diode laser (800 nm)
  • Long pulsed Nd:YAG lasers (1064 nm)
  • Intense pulsed light source (590–1200 nm)
  • Q-switched Nd: YAG lasers
  • Carbon suspension–Q-switched Nd: YAG laser
  • Photodynamic therapy
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent ?

Effectiveness of laser hair removal is strongly related with hair color, skin color and laser device used. Research has shown that fair-skinned people with dark hair are most likely to obtain permanent hair removal in relatively few sessions of hair removal depending on the device used. However, people with blond grey or white hair are unlikely to obtain permanent hair removal because of low melanin in their hair follicles. While dark skinned type may not be treated completely because of the melanin interference. To overcome those difficulties chromophores are currently being tried which is absorbed selectively by hair follicles and provides temporary target for laser treatment. But, problem still may arise because chromophore may not penetrate into all depths of the hair follicles. Several treatment sessions may be required to obtain permanent result.

You should always discuss with your doctor if you have the following history:

  • History of herpes simplex
  • History of hypertrophic scarring or keloids
  • Recent medications like accutane or any photosensitizing agents
  • Any previous treatment that you have tried
  • If you are treating hyperhidrosis (excessive abnormal hair) condition causing this should be identified like hormonal, familial, any drugs intake or tumors.
laser hair removal facts

laser hair removal facts

Preparation for your Laser Hair Removal

Things you should remember to obtain effective, permanent laser hair removal and to avoid complications

  • Strict sun avoidance and used of broad spectrum sunscreen is advised at-least 5-6 weeks before laser, if you are planning to remove on sun exposed parts.
  • You should not wax or pluck your hair at-least 6 weeks before treatment.
  • If you skin is dark or suntan, bleaching cream may be used with doctor consultation 6-8 weeks prior to treatment to obtain effective result.
  • Shaving and depilatory creams may be used 1-2 days before the treatment.
  • If you have herpes, you may start prophylactic antiviral with doctor consultation.
  • You may also start oral antibiotics if required, especially if laser treatment includes perianal and nasal areas.
Laser Hair Removal Treatment Day

You should be free of any makeup and cosmetics and the area to be treated should be clean. Before the procedure begins topical anesthetic cream are applied and covered with plastic wrap for around an hour or so, to make sure you won’t have any pain or discomfort. Your treatment time may depend on the size of the area to be treated.

After Treatment Care
  • Ice packs may be applied to reduce pain and minimize swelling
  • Although pain medications are not required, you may take if it’s hurting you.
  • If you were on prophylactic course of antiviral or antibiotics it should be completed.
  • If there is any epidermal injury, you doctor may advice topical antibiotics ointments twice daily.
  • If redness or swelling persists your doctor may prescribe mild steroid cream
  • You should strictly avoid scratching the area
  • Strictly avoid sun and use sunscreen of atleast SPF 30
  • Makeup may be applied the next day if you don’t have blisters or crusts.
  • You make notice shedding of hair casts during first week after treatment, this is absolutely normal and not a sign of hair re-growth. The hair follicles damages during the treatment process continue shedding for a week.
Laser Hair Removal Side Effects

Swelling and redness is common in all individual and usually lasts a day or two.

  • If you have history of herpes, herpes simplex outbreak may occur if you had not taken prophylactics already before treatment.
  • Long term side effects like permanent scarring and skin change are rare.
  • Temporary skin darkening or lightening may occur which will be back to normal gradually.

Laser hair removal is a million dollar business, so many online and offline services are available claiming for a permanent solution. Be warned not to follow any fake advertisements or testimonials and promise that give. Always go with a reputed and well experienced dermatologist or a cosmetic surgeon. It is your complexion; don’t ruin it for some cheap laser hair removal or fake services.

Top Three Hair Removal Methods

It is a desire of every men and women to remove dark hairs from the skin and this desire continues till we die. The effort to remove hairs from skin can be seen from adolescents to old age people. There are several people who always wondering in search of effective hair removal methods and here one can acquire detailed information on the subject. Most men and women are suffering from extra hair growth at face, legs, armpits, bikini line and other common parts of body. Basically, there are several methods to remove hair and some of them include trimming, waxing, shaving, using epilator, electrolysis, depilatory creams and through laser technology.

Shaving Hair Removal
Shaving is considered as the most common and easy way to remove hairs. It does not make hair shaft thicker, darker or grow faster. It is better to apply some sort of moisturizer before shaving as it can prevent any type of scrape or cut. Moisturizer also allows the razor to glide over the skin easily. Some of the common moisturizers which are easily obtainable include water, hair conditioner, body wash or shaving cream.

Wax Hair Removal
Wax Hair Removal is another effective way to remove huge amount of hairs in one time. In this, the wax is applied on the skin by warming the wax. After applying the hairs become embedded in wax and keep the hair weak to be easily scratched from the skin. It is always recommended to perform this procedure in experienced supervision as the warm wax can hurt badly.

Electrolysis Hair Removal
Electrolysis Hair Removal is performed to remove the hairs permanently and most people opt for this method in order to get rid from extra hairs in the body. Electrolysis is one of the permanent hair removal methods considered in worldwide for its effectiveness and one should acquire this treatment from a licensed professional in order to achieve best results.

Laser Hair Removal
Laser Hair Removal provide you with the option to treat the large number area in relatively more effectiveness and within a short duration of time then previous methods of permanent hair removal. It is somewhat expensive then other methods and single session may not permanently remove your hair.

So, it can be said that there are so many methods of hair removal but the above are the experimented and most effective treatments.

Laser Hair Removal

Removal of unwanted hair is a universal problem . There are some traditional hair removal methods like shaving, waxing, plucking, bleaching. But these are no permanent hair removal for those wanting permanent removal, so these techniques are being replaced by some new techniques like the use of chemical depilatories and electrolysis for permanent removal of hair. As a matter of fact electrolysis is only the method which provides permanent removal of hair. But these technique may not be favourite to all populations due to pain, inconvenience, tiring, highly qualified specialist dependent, risk of scarring, and its difficulty in treating large area.

To overcome such difficulties Lasers were finally developed. Lasers provide you with the option to treat the large number area in relatively more effectiveness and within a short duration of time then previous methods of permanent hair removal. These lasers and light sources specifically targets your hair follicle (the area where hair growth occur) with a beam of light passing through the skin. The laser heats the dark target matter called melanin within a hair follicle and destroy it without affecting other area of skin. Most often used lasers for hair removal are those with wavelengths in the red and infrared portion of electromagnetic spectrum as they can effectively penetrate to certain required depth of your skin and target melanin within the hair follicle. Some commonly used lasers for hair removal are Nd:YAG, diode, ruby, alexandrite lasers and an intense pulsed light source.

Even though Laser hair removal is the most effective methods, single treatment session may not give the permanent result so the treating sessions need to be repeated depending upon the type and area of treatment. As hair growth cycle has three phases: active growth phase, transition phase and rest phase. It is said that during the active phase the hair is most sensitive to lasers and light source. As all hair are not at the same phase of active growth at a given time, thats why multiple session of lasers are required at different time interval to complete removal of hair.

Not all laser works on all type of skin. Different types of lasers are being used on light and dark skinned individuals. For a light skinned person lasers like diode, alexandrite, ruby and a light treatment like Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) are better in reducing the hair. As for darked skinned persons Lasers with a longer wavelength like Nd:YAG lasers are the better options.

So if you are planning for a laser hair removal you should first consult a dermatologist. Based on your hair type, skin color,tanning, tattoos if there are any in treating areas, previous medical history like abnormal scarring, any thyroid problems or history of medications like isotretinoin your dermatologist will suggest the best possible lasers and treatment conditions. Be sure to tell your past medical history if you have any.

So how Laser Hair Removal is done:

Before the treatment begins you are suggested to avoid any tanning sessions, plucking and waxing atleast for few weeks. Chemical hair removal products may be used 1 week prior to laser treatment and shaving can be done 1-2 days pior to laser treatment. On the treatment day you should keep the area to be treat clean and free of all cosmetics. Before the procedure begins topical anesthetic cream are applied to make sure you won’t have any pain or discomfort. Most of the lasers used have cooling device so you won’t have any discomfort. Single treatment might not give the permanent result as discussed above so three or more sessions may be required for better result. Laser treatments may be repeated every five to eight weeks.

Are There Any Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal?

You may notice mild swelling and redness around the area being treated. So ice pack or mild topical steroids may be used after the treatment to reduce redness and swelling. You should avoid sun exposure and must use some sunscreen with atleast SPF 30 after the treatment session.

Long term side effects like permanent scarring and skin change are rare. Few immediate side effects like mild swelling and redness may occur which will subside with in 2-3 days. For some people infection or blistering or (for people with herpes simplex) herpes simplex outbreaks may occur. Sometimes there may be temporary skin darkening or lightening but will go gradually.

Finally, There are many online and offline services claiming for the permanent hair removal. Laser hair removal is a million dollar business and everyone is after it. So don’t just follow the cheap services, fake advertisement, testimonials and promises that they make, rather go with a reputed and well experienced dermatologist. Money doesn’t matter as long as you care about your personality and complexion.

If you have any doubt in mind or anything you would like to ask please ask us at Hair Disease and Condition on DermaTalk Skin Care Advice Forums.

Edited by: Dr. Saiyan Amatya