Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses an intense, pulsating beam of light, to remove unwanted hair. During laser hair removal, a laser beam passes through the skin to an individual hair follicle. The intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth.
Professional laser hair removal treatments can be expensive. Even one treatment is expensive, and most people require three or more. A less expensive option that has similar benefits is a light-based system you can use in the comfort of your home. Always check with your dermatologist.
A number of people suffer with the problem of unwanted hair. It's a cosmetic problem that can be frustrating to deal with, especially if it involves the face or other areas that people see. Excessive hair growth has a variety of causes. Genetics and hormones play a role, and some people have it as a result of a medical condition such as an overactive thyroid. Some medications and nutritional deficiencies also cause hair growth on the face or body. Regardless of the cause, most people want to get rid of it.
Some of the methods people use to deal with excessive hair growth is to physically remove it by shaving or plucking. Others try bleaching or waxing. These methods are more or less effective, but it's not a permanent solution to the problem. One method that permanently reduces hair growth is laser hair removal. Some dermatologists offer this procedure in their office.
A special device is used to send concentrated light waves through the skin where the light is absorbed by melanin pigment that lines the hair follicle. This damages the follicle and prevents further hair growth. A special cooling device is attached to the laser to cool the surrounding skin during the procedure. This protects the melanin-containing skin cells from damage. Usually, three or more treatments are needed to get the full benefits. Hair may regrow in some areas after treatment, but it's usually lighter in color and has a finer texture.
People with dark hair and fair skin respond best to laser hair removal. Dark hair has more pigment, so it absorbs the light from the laser better. People with dark skin have more melanin in their skin, which can compete for light from the laser, and their skin cells can be damaged in the process. Sun exposure and tanning can also interfere with the procedure by making it more difficult for the laser light to reach the hair follicle.
The most common problems people report after this procedure are tenderness, redness and swelling. Some products contain soothing ingredients that help repair the natural skin barrier after laser treatment and reduce redness and irritation. Other possible complications of laser hair removal are infection, blistering and changes in skin color. Light from the laser can also activate the herpes simplex virus that lies dormant in some people's skin. People who have some skin problems like psoriasis or cystic acne may not be good candidates for this procedure.
One of the major drawbacks of hair removal using a laser is cost. Even one treatment is expensive, and most people require three or more. A less expensive option that has similar benefits is a light-based system you can use in the comfort of your home. This special technology offers the benefits of a laser treatment by harnessing the power of pulsed light. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, at-home devices like this give benefits similar to professional laser treatments. As with laser hair removal, a series of four to eight treatments may be needed.
There are a variety of ways to remove unwanted hair, but the most permanent is laser hair removal. Fortunately, you can get similar benefits using a less expensive at home hair removal treatment device that also uses the power of light to correct problems with unwanted hair growth.