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.
Edited by: Dr. Saiyan Amatya