Monday, February 25, 2019

How laser hair removal works - mechanism, pros and cons

Laser hair removal is a procedure widely used in the health sector to remove unwanted body hair. The evolution of this technology was driven by the need for a more effective and long-term method to achieve that goal, replacing options like waxing or shaving.  Historically, the first professional laser was FDA-approved in 1964 as it selectively removed hair without causing damage to surrounding skin. Afterwards, the technology has been getting better and in 2008, the FDA approved the first home laser hair removal system, making easier for people to access the method without visiting a clinic.

Laser targets melanin

Melanin is a pigment in the skin responsible for black or brown colour of hair and skin, hence areas of the skin which have more hair have more melanin.
  Since light is better absorbed by a darker colour as compared to a lighter colour, this means laser targets areas with darker hair or skin where melanin is concentrated. However, it's now possible to get laser hair removal with darker skin without risk of injury, as more specific laser (Nd: YAG laser) is now available.

When the it is absorbed, the laser damages the basal cells of the hair follicle, and new hair cannot grow. Consequently, this treated hair falls off over a course of 1 to 3 weeks. The good news is that the procedure is painless and studies show a 60% reduction in hair which makes it highly effective. You may need a repeat the procedure to target the remaining follicles.

Common areas treated

Areas commonly treated are:

  • Bikini line

  • Arms and underarms

  • Legs

  • Eyebrows

  • Upper lip and face

  • Trunk

  • Brazilian

Safety of laser hair removal

Although there are adverse effects involved, the procedure is safer and more effective as compared to other procedures on the market like waxing or  electrolysis.


  • Procedure is quick

  • Prevents ingrowing hairs

  • Cost-effective as you save in the long run

  • No need to shave daily

  • Side effects are minimal


  • Can cause uneven pigmentation

  • Skin burns may occur

  • Itching or numbness is usually short term after the procedure

  • Damage to eyes if precautions are not taken

Types of laser hair removal systems

There are home laser hair removal systems and professional medical systems. However, the former system is considered to be cosmetic, not medical. This is because attention to detail is inferior unlike in professional equipment so if you want superior results, better let the experts handle it.

The type of laser used depends on the skin that is being attended to. There are 4 types of laser systems that are used:

1. Alexandrite : Applies to all skins and is the fastest method

2. Ruby: For light skin

3. Diode: Light and dark skin

4. ND and LP ND YAG : Mainly for darker skin


Laser hair removal is definitely an effective way to have that smooth skin you desire. In United Kingdom the average cost ranges from £40 to £400 depending on the size of area being treated and the number of sessions you need. If successful you save time and money in the long-run. Learn about water therapy here.

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