Mar 5 2017
Laser Hair Removal
Life is full of strange surprises especially when it comes to hair. As people age they usually end up with more hair in places they don’t want it and with less hair in places where they do. Personally I’ve noticed more “ear hair” and less hair on my head. Modern science is working to address both of these problems. While these are certainly not life or death matters they do bother many people. We have come much further in finding ways to remove hair than to grow it.
Laser hair removal started to take off in the late nineties. There was huge demand for this procedure and it took off like a rocket. Lasers remove hair by emitting a beam of light that passes through the skin and targets the pigment or melanin in the hair. This light energy is converted to heat energy to destroy the hair follicle. The lasers pulse on and off so fast that, in theory, no heat is spread to surrounding skin structures. This minimizes the risk of scarring. Most lasers used for hair removal protect the outer layers of the skin by cooling. The laser may use contact cooling where the laser tip is chilled and comes in direct contact with the skin or with dynamic cooling where a cryogen or cooling spray hits the skin just as or before the laser fires protecting the skin. This allows the laser to deliver more energy to the hair follicle while protecting the pigment in the epidermis or outer layer of the skin.
The ideal candidate for laser hair reduction has light skin with dark hair. This scenario results in the maximum amount of energy destroying the hair follicle with minimal absorption by the outer layers of the skin. Darker skinned patients with dark hair can be successfully treated but will usually require more treatments and with more conservative energy settings. Unfortunately, lasers are ineffective in treating light colored hair or peach fuzz. Other technologies are being investigated to remove light colored hair but they are still off on the horizon.
In our office men and women typically seek treatment for different areas. Women usually seek treatment for any facial hair, armpits, legs and bikini area. Men often seek treatment for hairy backs and shoulders. Most people will require at least 3 treatments spaced about 8 weeks apart. Some will require some ongoing maintenance. Cost depends upon how large of an area is treated. This is the ideal time to start treatment as most people notice the excess hair in the summer when they shed clothing. It is important to seek treatment in an experienced facility. As with any medical procedure it is not without risk.
If you have unwanted hair and are interested in laser hair removal mention this article and call us at (925)272-2695 to schedule a complimentary hair removal consultation.