Hair is a funny thing, aesthetically speaking. Hair can be beautiful, or it can be unsightly. This usually depends on where it is on the body. Thick hair on the scalp is a source of pride, but thick hair almost anywhere else can be terribly unflattering. As we age, the thickness and quality of hair changes. Hair becomes thinner in the places we wish it to be thick and coarser in the places where we don’t want it at all. Fortunately, laser hair removal can help turn back the clock, keeping hair from the places it’s not wanted. As we will see, laser hair removal is a safe, effective, and long-lasting process to remove unwanted hair.
Hair removal methods are usually divided into two types: temporary and permanent. Temporary hair removal methods are those that remove visible hair without damaging the hair follicle (specifically, the dermal papilla). While you cannot see a hair after it is been removed by temporary means, it will eventually grow back within hours to weeks. Permanent hair removal methods such as electrolysis and laser hair removal damage the hair follicle and prevent it from growing back. Permanent hair removal methods prevent hair from regrowing in the treated area for six months or more, which is the time it takes for new hair follicles to be created.
Shaving never lasts as long as you would like. In fact, hair may become visible again within as little as 12 hours of shaving. Chemical depilatories (hair removal creams) dissolve the hair. Chemical depilatories last a little longer than shaving, but there is always a risk of missing a spot or two (or more). In addition, they usually have unpleasant odors. After a depilatory, hair usually becomes visible again within two weeks.
Waxing or plucking out unwanted hair lasts a bit longer than waxing or shaving. In fact, if waxing or plucking partially damages the hair follicle, hair in the treated area may not visibly regrow for up to eight weeks. Unfortunately, not all hair follicles are damaged by waxing or shaving, so some hair regrows and others is not leaving a patchy area. Moreover, waxing and plucking can be quite painful.
During electrolysis, an electrical current is passed into the skin to burn and destroy the hair follicle (dermal papilla). If done by an experienced electrologist (electrolysis provider), electrolysis can provide long-lasting hair removal. However, electrolysis is painful, even when using topical anesthetic creams. And there is always the risk of getting an inexperienced electrologist.
If you could select the ideal method for removing unwanted hair, you would choose a method that was safe, effective, long lasting, and relatively painless. Laser hair removal offers all of these features. Laser hair removal can remove unwanted hair for a year or more with excellent coverage. It is also much less painful than electrolysis.
During laser hair removal, brief pulses of intense light are used to heat and destroy hair follicles. While this may sound like electrolysis, laser hair removal is more precise than electrolysis, which is why it is less painful. The sources of light used during laser hair removal are carefully selected to be of a certain wavelengths. These discrete wavelengths of light target proteins within hair cells. Instead of broadly heating the entire hair follicle, the light energy targets a specific molecule, which heats the cell from the inside. For example, a ruby red laser emits a light at 694 nm, which targets melanin, a pigment in skin cells. This precise targeting means that only brief, targeted pulses of light are needed. The hair follicles are destroyed, but the surrounding skin is relatively unaffected.
As with electrolysis, laser hair removal is only effective if it is performed by someone who is highly experienced and skilled at the procedure. A skilled laser hair removal specialist will choose the proper wavelengths of light and select the appropriate light energies and treatment times. Perhaps most importantly, a skilled provider will make sure to spend sufficient time to remove all of the hair in the treated area without over-treating, which could lead to discomfort and even burns.
The experts at Nuance Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery are highly experienced in the science of laser hair removal, and can deliver superior results.