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Information about Laser Hair Removal

Over the past couple of decades in particular, lasers have burst into the public’s consciousness as a means to provide many different services. Lasers can be used to whiten teeth, restore vision, rejuvenate skin and reduce wrinkles. In addition to these services, perhaps nothing has become more popular than utilizing lasers to promote hair removal. Like many new technologies, lasers for hair removal purposes have gone through their own evolution of development in both safety and effectiveness.

Hair Growth Cycle Dictates Laser Hair Removal Success

To understand how laser hair removal works, one must first understand the concept of how a hair grows. All hairs on the scalp or body go through varying stages or cycles. When hairs are in the growing cycle, the root of the hair – or the follicle – is plump with pigment and actively produces new hair. The growing cycle lasts for varying lengths of time depending on the body site. After this active cycle ends, the hair follicle will stop growing and move into either a resting or dormancy phase. The success of laser hair removal is contingent upon the hair being in the active, growing cycle!

How Laser Hair Removal Works

As mentioned above, only hairs in the active growing stage can be effectively treated by laser hair removal. The target to achieve hair removal on either a long term or permanent basis is the root of the hair, or the hair follicle itself, located several millimeters beneath the skin’s surface. When the hair is in the active growth phase, the follicle is filled with pigment that will give the hair its color. Though not all lasers for hair removal operate in the exact same way, the one constant is that the target for all lasers is the hair follicle. When the follicle is enlarged, it provides for a bigger target for hair removal purposes. In fact, laser light is attracted to its opposite. Therefore and traditionally speaking, the greatest target for hair removal has been dark hair, preferably surrounded by light skin. Not all lasers have the same degree of success or risk when it comes to hair removal, however. So don’t think that the rule of “dark hair, light skin” applies equally.

Follicular Damage Equals Hair Removal by Laser

Lasers used for hair removal purposes produce energy in the form of heat. The goal of any laser hair removal treatment is to impart sufficient heat into the hair follicle as to damage it. If sufficient energy reaches the actively growing hair follicle, it will minimally cause it to move into a resting, or dormant phase where the hair does not grow. The question then becomes, how long will the laser hair removal results last? The answer to that lies in the degree of damage to the hair follicle itself. Keeping in mind that not all lasers provide the same degree of effectiveness at hair removal, the reality becomes a case of varying results in the duration of hair removal. Some lasers will damage the follicle which will promote long term hair removal. However, if the hair follicle is not destroyed, eventually it will recover and re-grow. If a laser can safely and sufficiently provide enough energy into the root as to destroy it, then this form of laser hair removal can actually be considered permanent.

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