What Is Laser Hair Removal?
History of Laser Hair Removal
The first observation of laser hair removal was the result of an accidental treatment: a technician whose arm had been exposed to a laser beam noticed that while the skin in that area was not affected, the hair was gone. There was still no regrowth several months later.
After many years of research and development, hair removal lasers were widely marketed in the mid-1990s. It is safe to say that millions of laser hair removal treatments have been administered all over the world since that time.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
The laser used for hair removal emits infrared light rays such as those found in DVD players or motion detectors. It emits a beam of light with a specific wavelength that removes hair at the root.
When the laser's energy comes in contact with the dark pigment that gives hair and skin its colour, it heats this pigment—or melanin—at the root of the hair. Hair removed in this way will not grow back.
We know that to be effective, the laser light must be absorbed by the melanin pigment found at the base—or bulb—of the hair follicle. But the bulb is pigmented only when the hair is in its “anagen,” or active phase. So laser hair removal treatments must take place during this phase to be effective, since they destroy only growing hair. Laser hair removal treatments must be repeated for five to seven sessions to ensure complete hair removal. When diode lasers are used, treatments are recommended at six-week intervals.
Effectiveness of Laser Hair Removal
Synchronizing hair follicle growth cycles would greatly reduce the number of laser treatments needed, but unfortunately there is no way to do this. Clinical studies with diode lasers have shown that it is possible with a series of treatments to definitively reduce 80% of hair follicles on average.
Safety of Laser Hair Removal
Infrared light rays penetrate the surface layer of the skin without harming it.
In addition to being effective, the laser used must be safe. Combining the laser with a sapphire tip, creating a surface that cools the skin to 4°C, significantly increases the safety of laser hair removal treatments.
However, certain lasers (generally older models) are not equipped for this. The safest and most effective cooling system is a sapphire hand piece. This patented system is the one epiderma uses.
In addition to cooling and protecting the skin, the hand piece has many other advantages in terms of efficiency:
- By pressing on the skin, the hand piece allows the laser's light to penetrate more deeply into the dermis, while passing quickly through the epidermis, and concentrates the laser beam on its target.
- Studies have shown that when a cooling system is incorporated into sapphire hand pieces like those used by epiderma, laser hair removal treatment effectiveness increases by 40%.