Looking good has always been important to a majority of people. In the modern age that we live in today, the process has also become more advanced. There was a time, when the only method for hair removal was either shaving or waxing, and both meant that hair would grow back again, in a matter of days or at the most weeks. Most people, especially women, started looking for more permanent solutions to avoid the hassle of having to go to salons regularly or did not want to face the nicks and cuts that are often associated with shaving.

laser hair removalThis is when laser hair removal appeared on the scene. While initially, there was a certain amount of skepticism about the methodology, today, a growing number of people are looking at it as the best way to get rid of body hair on a more permanent basis. There were a lot of people who thought that allowing a hot laser to penetrate the skin was nothing more than a modern method of torturing oneself, in order to look better. However, today a growing number of people are actually choosing laser hair removal, because not only is it highly effective, but also a more cost effective method.
In this article, we will look at the following important aspects of laser hair removal:

What is laser hair removal?

For milliseconds at a time, a specialized laser beam is directed on the skin. The beam of light gets converted into heat as it passes through the skin, causing no harm whatsoever to the skin. The heat is then absorbed by the pigment known as melanin, which is present in the hair follicle as well as shaft. This prevents new growth of hair and there is a permanent reduction in the number of hairs on multiple sittings. This is why, laser hair removal has become a popular method to remove hair from the face and pubic region.

Who are the most suitable candidates?

There might be people who will think that laser hair removal is meant for everyone, but the fact of the matter is that it is not. There are certain specific types of people who will prove to be more ideal candidates for laser hair removal than the others.

  • For starters, people who have coarse hair, which is darker in colour, but have lighter skin will prove most ideal candidates.
  • People who have white or grey hair will not be able to benefit because there is a lack of melanin, which in turn will make the hair removal process a tad bit difficult.
  • Similarly, blonde and red hair are also difficult to remove.
  • People who have hair that is lighter than the skin colour will not be ideal candidates as will people who have blonde hair and have undergone tanning procedures.

Which all parts of the body can laser hair removal work for?

Laser hair removal can actually work quite effectively for any part of the body, because the light beam being used is very minute and accurate. The only body hair that laser hair removal cannot remove is the eyelashes. There are certain clinics, which will not use laser hair removal for the eyebrows, because the hair is too close to each other.
Laser hair removal is often most effective on body parts such as chin, neck, face, upper lip, legs, underarms and the bikini area. If people have tanning on their body, natural or artificial, they will have to wait for the same to fade out, because otherwise there could be blistering or discoloration of the skin.

What will happen before, during and after the laser hair removal procedure?

Laser hair removal proves to be most effective on hair that is short, yet visible. This is why, your doctor will ask you to shave your hair a few days before. This will allow the stubble to grow and make the task of hair removal easier. You will be asked not to wax or pluck your hair, because these tend to remove the hair from the follicle and your hair will not grow back fast enough, leading to a delay in the laser hair removal procedure.
If you are someone who does not have a high level of resistance towards pain, you can ask the doctor for anaesthesia. An ointment that contains lidocaine will be applied generously over your skin and within about 30 to 45 minutes, your skin should become numb.
The skin will be pulled to make it taut and then the laser beam will be directed, to initiate the hair removal process. In about half an hour, the area where the treatment has been done will become pink or red and there will be sensitivity. This is normal and will subside in some time. You could also smell your hair burning, which is yet again normal. The swelling and tenderness will subside over the course of time and your doctor might prescribe a lotion or ointment to be used.
In about a week or 10 days’ time, you will notice hair sprouting again, but this is not regrowth; rather it is hair that has been treated and is in the process of falling out.

How painful will the process be?

There are different descriptions of how a laser hair removal process actually feels like. The current laser hair removal methods and devices offer a virtually painless procedure.

How many sessions will be required?

The hair growth and removal will be a staggered process, which is why you will need multiple sessions. Anywhere between four to ten sessions might be required for proper hair removal and each session could last between a few minutes to hours, depending on the size of the area that needs to be cleaned.

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Hair is important in several places on the body, but in many places it is often considered unnecessary. This is a more common thought in women, because they prefer to see their arms, legs and underarms, smooth and hairless. There are several methods of hair removal and even though shaving is the easiest and most common one, there are other methods that are coming to the forefront of late.laser hair removal

While many people think that laser hair removal is a recent development, the fact of the matter is that the procedure has been around for a really long time. It was in the 1960s that lasers started capturing the attention of not only scientists, but also the general people. It was around the same time that lasers started enticing people from the hair removal industry, because they saw an opportunity. They realized that lasers could effectively remove hair and that too for a long time.

The growth of lasers in the hair removal industry came in various stages, and the important ones are being looked at in the following sections:

  • Stage 1: The 1960s
  • The very first lasers that were used in the 1960s were ones that emitted a wave that was constant and continuous. This, however, was not suitable for the purpose of hair removal, mainly because there were greater chances of the skin getting damaged. Since the wave was continuous, it was very difficult to control it properly, which is why there would be hair loss, but also skin damage. It was towards the end of the decade that the Q-switch was invented, and this allowed for a better control of the pulses.

  • Stage 2: The 1970s
  • The earliest of laser related devices were designed to target individual follicles of hair and this was done by delivering the laser’s energy via a probe. This probe was of a fibre optic nature and was created using a thin wire. The only problem that happened with this method was that the device was brought into the markets, without it being tested properly. The device was sold across the globe as being painless and truly effective, however, when the FDA stepped in, the product was taken back. The main setbacks of these devices were that they were actually very difficult to use and the probes were hard to maintain. In addition, the hair removal was not permanent, which effectively defeated the purpose.

  • Stage 3: The 1980s
  • The initial data that was published on hair removal using lasers was based around the successful treatment of ingrown eyelashes. It was these studies that lead to greater and more in-depth research in creating a device that could be sold commercially for hair removal. Yet again, the device that was created was not tested sufficiently, which is why it had to be pulled back. This device too was not effective enough and was not only difficult to use but also ineffective.
    However, this paved the way for further research and testing, which led to the creation of laser enabled machines, which were used for a range of dermatological procedures, including removal of tattoos.

  • Stage 4: The Early 1990s
  • It was in the year 1997, almost after an entire century of the discovery of x-rays, that the FDA first allowed the release of a laser device for hair removal, in the markets. This device used a lotion that was carbon based as the chromophore. The lotion would be first applied all over the skin and then the skin would be waxed. The idea was that the lotion would penetrate the hair follicles and when the laser heated the carbon, the shockwave created would remove hair permanently. However, the device was not successful, because not only was it difficult to use, but also did not affect the naturally affecting chromophores in the body.
    The device had been sold to several cosmetic clinics and affluent people were willingly becoming guinea pigs. However, by the time the inefficacy of the product was noticed, people had started noticing a regrowth of hair. So, the companies behind these devices, quickly relabelled the device from one being the answer to permanent hair removal to one that could assist in managing unwanted hair. But people saw through the marketing strategies and within no time, the device had to be pulled back from the stores.

  • Stage 5: Late 1990s to present day

In the late 1990s, FDA started clearing a range of devices, which could be used to target the naturally occurring melanin in the hair. These devices were better designed and could be used quite easily at home too. In addition, these devices were such that produced minimal side effects. Even today, studies are being conducted in this field and newer devices are being introduced every other week.
There are still debates how effective each product is and while there are some which are working well, there are others which are proving totally ineffective. Ideally, if you are looking to reduce your hair permanently, or at least for a long period of time, it is best that you head to a reputed clinic. When you get the treatment done in a professional manner, you can be assured of lesser side effects and definitely lesser chances of anything going wrong. While complete and permanent hair removal is still a few years away, there has been progress and the future does seem bright!

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