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The science of laser hair removal

11 Jan 2017

The science of laser hair removal

 How does laser hair removal work? Why does it take so long to get the results you want? Why does it matter what type of laser you use?

These are all very common questions for people looking into laser hair removal. In this article, we will explain the why behind each of these questions so that you can make an informed decision before investing in laser hair removal. 

How does laser hair removal work?

Laser hair removal permanently removes hair by destroying the root of the hair follicles. We destroy the follicles by using pulses of light designed to heat the hair follicle to the point that it dies. We use specific wavelengths of light that target pigment, so the skin remains undamaged but the follicle is destroyed. This is why laser is most effective on dark hair.

Hair Follicle

Why does it take so long to get results?

It takes the average client 18 months to two years to reach their clinical end point. Each area has a treatment interval that falls somewhere between 4-10 weeks depending on the area.

This is because laser treatments are only effective on hair follicles that are in their active growth cycle. At any given time, roughly 10% of your hair is actually in the growth phase. During the other times, the hair is migrating through the skin before finally shedding completely. It takes a few weeks for each of these phases to pass, and that is why we only treat on specific intervals. You could get treated once a day for two months, but you would probably only see results from 1-2 of those treatments.

Why does it matter what type of laser you use?

There are lots of different 'lasers' on the market. Many of these 'lasers' are not actually lasers at all, but rather IPL machines (Intense Pulsed Light). The issue with using an IPL versus a real laser is that the IPL doesn't destroy the follicle but rather damages the hair and can cause temporary shedding and removal, but it can't give you permanent results.