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Hair Removal

Hair removal is requested by clients for cultural, medical and cosmetic reasons and, over time, people have tried many things in an attempt to remove their unwanted body hair, with little apparent regard to either pain or expense:

Techniques for short term hair removal include:hair removal image of hair free armpit

  • Shaving – with the risk of cuts and rashes,
  • Bleaching -  with the associated skin irritation,
  • Tweezing – both time consuming and painful,
  • Waxing  – a quicker option but much more pain.     
  • Depilatories – to melt the hair (and sometimes the skin!)

In general, those that look for a hair removal method, would much prefer a long-term or even permanent solution.

Unfortunately, the only current option for permanent removal is electrolysis; but this is far from a low cost option and requires repeated treatments.

For these reasons, laser hair removal has been growing in popularity.

Laser hair removal offers quick removal of hair, from the root; and results in only slow re-growth of the hair if any at all.

Hair grows over most of the human body in males and females but is generally noticed on the head, eyebrows, legs, armpits, abdomen, back and pubic areas and as such these are the most common areas that are treated but differ from males to females.

Hair is made up of hard proteins known as keratin which is produced by the hair bulb situated deep inside the dermis. The colour of the hair is dependent on the type of melanin produced by melanocytes found in the hair bulb and genetically.

Hair growth is cyclic in nature with an active growing phase (anagen), and a resting phase (telogen). During the growing phase of the hair cycle the hair is connected directly to the hair matrix that is situated in the base of the hair follicle.

During the resting phase the hair bulb moves away from the base of the follicle and is so leaves a gap between the bottom of the hair and the bottom of the hair follicle.

 Laser hair removal depends on the high energy levels of the laser light being taken up by the melanin pigment within the hair. The melanin then converts the energy into heat and in doing so destroys the hair, the hair matrix and the hair bulb. The heat is absorbed and transferred much more readily when hair is in the anagen phase.

The reason why multiple sessions are usually required is that not all hair follicles’ are in the same state at the same time

During Laser hair removal, the Doctor uses a hand-held probe to send laser light beams into the hair follicles. This light is of a wavelength which makes it particularly effective on the dark pigment in your hair, and results in damage to the hair follicles without damaging the surrounding tissue.

The procedure is occasionally uncomfortable, but should not be particularly painful. In addition, many clinics will offer a variety of pain reduction techniques, including skin cooling with gels, sprays or air.

By far the most important advantage of Laser hair removal to many people is the fact that it offers long-term removal of unwanted hair, or it's permanent reduction in appearance. After laser hair removal, any re-growth of hair is often of lighter colour and finer texture.

And equally important, in experienced or knowledgeable hands, laser hair removal is considered safe.

Laser hair removal is particularly valuable if a large body area, with a great deal of hair, is to be treated; such as the back, chest, or legs. Best results are usually obtained by fair-skinned people with darker body hair.

Laser hair removal tends to not work as effectively on gray, red, or blonde hairs, and additional care is required on people with darker skin tones or who tan themselves regularly.

Poorly performed Laser hair removal can result in burns, abrasions, or skin discoloration. And there are some people or simply don't respond to Laser hair removal at all.

 

There are 4 laser hair removal systems presently on the market and in common practice:

 

Type

Wavelength

Skin type

IPL

590-1200nm

Pale, Fair, Dark white

Alexandrite

755nm

Pale, Fair, Dark White

Diode

800nm or 810nm

Pale, Fair, Dark White, Light brown, brown

ND Yag

1064nm

Light brown, Brown

                       

IPL (Intense Pulse Light) is not a true laser treatment but is a cheap alternative. It is not recommended as the long-term data on safety and effectiveness have not been established. IPL uses a broad spectrum of wavelengths of light which means that IPL sometimes damages the pigment cells (melanocytes) as well, leaving darker or paler patches of skin. IPL tends not to be as effective on white hairs and red or blonde hair due to the high risk of skin burning, especially in people with darker skin tones. IPL often requires more visits to achieve the same results as lasers.

The Alexandrite laser is a shorter wavelength system, with a specific light energy of 755nm. It is only recommend for very fair skin. It is the fastest lasers for hair removal and has the ability to penetrate deeply into the dermis. The resultant heat build up in the hair shafts disables the hair follicles in the active growth phase which enables it to achieve effective laser hair removal. However, results can be variable and hair removal can be short term. In addition, the Alexandrite laser frequently produces pigmentary changes (lightening or darkening of the skin). In short, the Alexandrite laser is not recommended for any skin type other than very white skin.

The diode can be used on all skin types; but Diode lasers have been linked with the onset of urticaria in some patients (nettle rash) and common side effects include; burns, scars, discoloration of the skin, swelling, and redness.

Nd:Yag is the newest laser format for hair removal and works on all skin types, even tanned, and offers the best option for long term hair removal. Nd:YAG laser emits an intense beam of laser light which passes safely through the upper skin layers to the underlying strata. In this way, hair follicles are eliminated, without harming the skin. It is most effective on darker pigmented people and darker hair tones, but no other system is any better on light, white or fair hair. Importantly, studies show a significant delay in hair re-growth. The only downside is that some patients find the treatment more painful than with the Diode system.
 
Below is a video for Hair removal using a Fotona laser system