Laser hair removal has been around since the latter part of the 1990s. People are constantly searching for convenient hair removal methods and devices. Inventors come up with ideas and implement them through trial and error.
Nowadays, it is possible to do some form of laser hair removal at home. This has now become quite popular, more cost effective, and very convenient.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved laser hair removal for permanent hair reduction. This means that the number of hairs in a treated area are reduced, but all hairs are not permanently removed.
What is Laser Hair Removal? How Does It Work?
In this article, The History of Laser Hair Removal, you will get answers to some frequently asked questions.
Pulses of light are used to destroy the hair follicle by way of a laser.
Laser hair removal targets dark pigments in the hair follicle. With earlier inventions, melanin in the skin was also being targeted; hence, this method was not performed on people with dark skin. Improvements have been made with newer inventions.
Now skin color is not an issue; however, the laser light is unable to detect gray, white, or red hairs. These cannot be treated unless by more advanced lasers.
Hair that is in the first of the three cycles, anagen, catagen, and telogen, is what will be affected by this treatment method. The hairs will not fall out immediately. It will take approximately five days and up to a few weeks. They should be left to fall out on their own; otherwise, there may be consequences.
Also, the hair forced out would be considered tweezed instead. This would be counterproductive to the whole laser experience.
Best results are achieved by a knowledgeable laser hair removal specialist. A thorough consultation needs to be done to determine ethnicity, medical conditions, causes of excessive hair growth where applicable, nutrition, and many other factors.
Some important tips are …
- Avoid sun exposure and tanning machines 24 to 48 hours prior to treatment.
- Avoid caffeine 24 hours prior to treatment.
- Shave the area to be treated a day before your appointment.
- Be honest about ethnicity and medical conditions.
There may be some level of discomfort during treatment. Topical creams may be applied; however, this has to be done in a small area at a time. It is dangerous to apply in large areas of the skin.
Goggles are worn while the laser is turned on and during treatment. The laser beam can penetrate the eyes causing permanent damage.
Did you know that there is a difference between permanent hair reduction and permanent hair removal?
Are There Different Types of Lasers?
Some lasers are …
- Ruby: This was the first one used in 1960 for pale skin only.
- Alexandrite: This later development can be used on all skin types.
- Diode: This is used for pale to medium skin.
- Nd:Yag: Finally, dark skin can be effectively treated with this laser’s invention.
These all used different wavelengths and light sources. The ruby has the shortest wavelength and the Nd:Yag the longest. Light sources are red, near-infrared, and infrared.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), which is generally associated with and mistaken for laser, is not a laser. Its wavelength is shorter than the ruby, and it also uses infrared light. It treats pale to medium skin.
Did you know that Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is not a laser?
How Does Laser Hair Removal Compare to Other Methods?
Let’s look at the most popular methods of hair removal …
- Electrolysis: Laser is a newer and faster invention than electrolysis. It is best compared to the blend method, which is the most effective of the three (galvanic, thermolysis, and blend). While electrolysis uses electricity to destroy hair follicles, laser uses light pulses.
- Waxing: The results are more long term than waxing. Waxing does not destroy hair follicles.
- Tweezing (Plucking): The results are more long term than tweezing, which does not destroy hair follicles.
- Shaving: Laser is definitely more long term than shaving. However, shaving is recommended above waxing and tweezing. It is the least stimulating to the production of hair. When hair is pulled up by the root, a nourishing supply of blood is rushed to the injured site.
Did you know that sugaring is an effective method of hair removal similar to waxing?
Pros and Cons
There are things to take into consideration before making a decision if laser hair removal is right for you …
- Treatment is relatively fast.
- The number of hairs in a treated area will be reduced after follow-up treatments.
- It is cost-effective over time.
- There may be side effects such as itching, redness, crust, hypo- or hyper pigmentation.
- Several treatments will be necessary to be effective.
- It is expensive.
Some side effects may be minimized by following pre- and post-care advice.
When it comes to making a decision, make sure you ask as many questions as you like. Don’t shy away from that. The more informed you are, the better decision maker you will be.
Did you know that possible side effects may be minimized?
Wrap It Up
So hair’s the thing: Laser hair removal is a relatively new invention. Improvements have been made to include all skin colors as the earlier lasers were restricted to pale skin only.
There are several at-home laser devices on the market. This allows customers a more convenient and cost-effective opportunity to treat their problematic hair concerns.
The FDA has approved laser hair removal for permanent hair reduction.
Laser light is unable to detect gray, white, or red hairs, although more advanced lasers claim to do that. The different types of lasers are used for pale, medium, and dark skin color.
Remember, also, that an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is not a laser.
We looked at how laser hair removal compares to other hair removal methods: electrolysis, waxing, tweezing, and shaving. Ask questions and research to become wiser at making a choice.
I hope this short article, The History of Laser Hair Removal, has helped you in some way. There is a vast amount of information on the subject and related matter. This is just an introduction especially for those who are at a loss and need to be pointed in the right direction.
Feel free to leave your question and comments below. I will do my best to address them.
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