Written By Stephan Skorkin / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Laser hair removal is a well-known and constantly evolving treatment method. Hair removal, also recognized as epilation, is the deliberate removal of body hairs.
Forms of hair removal have been practiced in almost all human cultures since at least the Neolithic era, for different cultural, sexual, medical or religious reasons. Laser hair removal by byoulaserclinic is a quite safe, fast and effective medical-grade process for removing unwanted hair from almost all parts of the body.
Laser hair removal one of the quickest growing areas of cosmetic dermatology
Techniques used to eliminate hair have varied in times and regions. These techniques include bleaching, plucking, shaving, waxing, threading, chemical depilatories and electrolysis. They can no longer be regarded as perfect tools simply because of the limited and the short-term efficiency.
There has, therefore, developed a great demand for effective long-term hair removal techniques, in fact, photo epilation by light and laser-based techniques are some of the quickest growing areas of cosmetic dermatology.
Purpose of laser hair removal
Only a few patients need hair removal for a purely medical purpose. These include patients affected by hirsutism, hypertrichosis, acne cheloidalis nucae, and pseudofolliculitis barbae.
Most people use these treatments for purely aesthetic reasons, generally for the elimination of unwanted hair from the face, trunk, limbs and genital area.
How laser hair removal works
Several laser and light devices are accessible on the marketplace for hair removal. They include the ruby laser (694nm), Alexandrite laser (755 nanometers), diode laser (800 nanometers), intense pulsed light (IPL) (590-1200 nanometers), and neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet laser (Nd:YAG) (1064 nanometers) and light-based devices for home use.
Objective of laser hair removal
The objective of these devices is the destruction of stem cells in the bulge and dermal papilla of the hair follicle by focusing on melanin which signifies the particular chromophore [1-3].
Melanin absorbs wavelengths between 600 and 1100 nanometers, and is the suggested optical window for hair removal with the breakdown of the follicular unit.
Process of laser hair removal
For such devices, three main mechanisms of action are recommended: photothermal destruction, photomechanical damage and photochemical process.
Photothermal destruction for laser hair removal
Photothermal destruction of hair follicles comprises the basic concept of hair removal. Melanin, the chromophore included inside the hair shaft, absorbs the light energy transforming it into heat, which arises to the close by bulge non-pigmented stem cells, the target.
The transfer of heat from the chromophore to the target is essential for the effectiveness of the procedure. Lately it has been demonstrated that the anagen phase is very sensitive to laser and light pulses precisely as in the catagen and the telogen since in humans the hairs stay pigmented throughout the whole hair cycle.
For this reason, focusing on the hair follicles throughout a specific growth period is considered unimportant. The earlier concept about the greater sensitivity of the anagen period was due to animal research which revealed a maximum concentration of melanin within anagen hairs [2-5].
Several years ago, photomechanical destruction, through the generation of shockwaves, was applied by nanosecond Q-switched lasers employed throughout the early phase of laser hair removal. These lasers are no longer considered because they result in temporary hair loss.
Preparation for the treatment of laser hair removal
It is essential to remind the patient to stay away from all epilation methods for two to four weeks before laser hair removal or else it will provoke elimination of the structure target of the photo epilation. Shaving the hair by the physician instantly before the treatment starts , or two to three days before by the patient, is sufficient.
If the laser hair removal is not preceded by shaving, the pulses absorbed by the long hairs could stimulate burning of the skin. We generally prefer to do the shaving ourselves, since we can better evaluate the diameter and the pigmentation of the hairs cut, and these functions impact the parameters to be chosen.
Results of laser hair removal
A long-lasting dropout of hair follicles is achieved in 15 to 30 percent of laser-treated hairs at each session, while the majority of treated hairs fall into a telogen-like state characterized by rest and lack of hair growth.
This telogen-like state describes a short-lasting period of alopecia, generally lasting for a few months, until some hair follicles begin another anagen cycle. The cost of the hair removal treatment depends on the treatment procedure.
Effects of laser hair removal
Erythema regularly occurs and the work of a topical steroid for two to three days is sufficient to remove this temporary side effect. The patient should always keep in mind to avoid sun exposure and to use sunscreen for a number of days following the session.
Possible side effects of laser hair removal
The most frequent cutaneous side effects include erythema, oedema, discomfort, pain, and sometimes more serious ones such as thermal burns, blisters, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation and scarring.
Severe side effects are revealed more often in darker-skinned patients but can be prevented or reduced by the choice of safer parameters and an effective cooling procedure throughout the session.
Paradoxical hypertrichosis is an unusual side effect noticed in patients treated by IPL, diode and Alexandrite lasers, when the laser or light induces the development of new hairs through a photo activation of dormant hair follicles into the terminal anagen hair phase.
It is characterized by the appearance of new hair follicles encircling the treated areas. This side effect could be caused by the choice of exceedingly conservative parameters, and therefore it can be fixed by more intense parameters during the subsequent sessions
Conclusion of laser hair removal
Laser hair removal is a famous treatment and its procedures are evolving. According to previous comparative studies, laser and light-based systems for hair removal are shown to be normally safe and efficacious if appointed by skilled practitioners.
The differences between these systems include time length of every session, the discomfort felt by the patient, the chance of treating darker patients, and the cost of a single treatment. New hair removal techniques might include things like promising portable home devices, photopneumatic technologies, PDT and bipolar radio frequency.
Clinical studies and long-term data will be necessary to figure out the effectiveness and the basic safety of these modalities in the future.
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Stephan Skorkin is a medical-certified aesthetician at BYOU Laser - www.byoulaserclinic.com – located at 285 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217 (phone: 1-800-355-3308.) His hobbies are hiking and cycling. In his spare time he writes articles on skin care and dermatology. GentleMax Pro Laser Treatments and Brazilian Laser Hair Removal treatments are available at the BYou Laser Clinic.