A laser produces a beam of highly concentrated light. The light emitted is well absorbed by the pigment located in hair follicles. The laser pulses for a fraction of a second, just long enough to vaporize the pigment, disabling numerous follicles at a time to eliminate or significantly impede the hair’s growth.
The laser treatment itself can cause a slight tingling sensation. Most patients tolerate the procedure well. Because some areas of the body are more sensitive than others, topical anesthesia can be an option.
The treatment time can vary considerably depending on the size of the area treated, and the particular technique used. A small area such as the upper lip may take only five minutes, while a larger area like the back or legs may take up to one hour. Since the laser affects only those hairs in the growing stage, and not all hairs will be in this stage at the same time, several treatments will most likely be needed to effectively remove all the hair from one area. Subsequent sessions will be scheduled at least a month apart. By this time you will probably begin to notice the re-growth of hairs that were previously in the resting stage.
Although the FDA has approved several types of laser for permanent hair reduction, results can vary. An individual’s metabolism, hormonal level, hair quality and number of hair follicles can all affect the outcome.
Moreover, normal hair goes through a growth cycle in three stages: the anagen, or growing phase; the telogen, or resting phase; and the catagen, or transitional phase. During the anagen phase, hair is susceptible to the lasers energy, but during the telogen and catagen phases, it is resistant.
At any one time, various percentages of body hair will be in each of these phases, making complete removal unlikely without multiple sessions.Typically five treatments are necessary to achieve the desired result.
Consumer Alert: Hair removal is the cosmetic procedure with the greatest incidence of burning, blistering, and scarring. It is a procedure to be performed by a medical professional in a medical clinic with the most advanced technology and thorough training and understanding of all six skin types and the laser appropriate for each skin type. There are many facilities advertising hair removal that utilize technology that works poorly or not at all and have staff that is inadequately trained. Also, many facilities do not possess the correct technology to safely treat ethnic skin types.