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Why Permanent Hair Removal is Indeed Possible

Is there any greater debate when it comes to laser hair removal than the degree of permanence of these treatments? Some suggest that lasers absolutely do not provide permanent hair removal, but rather only long term clearance. Others have debated about the term “permanent reduction” in reference to the effectiveness of some lasers for hair removal. Others, yet, suggest that permanent removal is not only possible, but they are willing to provide a guarantee to prove it. Who’s to bless and who’s to blame?

When it Comes to Hair Removal, What Does “Permanent” Mean?

First of all, let’s be very clear on this matter. You absolutely can achieve permanent hair removal using lasers. The key now is to define just exactly what that means– which is not as simple as one may think. When a hair follicle is permanently disabled, it will no longer produce what medical science refers to as a “terminal” hair. A terminal hair is one that is dark and course. However, in the case of laser hair removal, the terminal hair may be replaced by “vellus”, or baby fine hair. Therefore, technically speaking, there is still hair there, just not the type that preceded it. An apt comparison may be to view the hair removal result after undergoing waxing. The body site treated is completely void of any type of hair– vellus, terminal, or otherwise. A series of effective and permanent laser hair removal sessions will certainly leave the skin smooth and void of most, if not all, course, darker hairs. However, light fine hairs will remain. For most people looking at permanent hair removal this is a perfectly acceptable outcome.

What the FDA Defines as Permanent Hair Removal

Here is a slightly tricky twist when it comes to the discussion of permanent hair removal. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refuses to use the term “Permanent Hair Removal” when it comes to the approval of laser technology for these purposes. That is because of the nature of the lighter, finer hairs that remain. Therefore, they apply the term “Permanent Reduction” which essentially means that for laser hair removal purposes up to 90% of course dark hairs will be permanently eradicated.

What Technology Provides the Greatest Hope for Permanent Hair Removal?

There are actually a number of different lasers that can provide permanent hair removal. The key is matching the laser type to the skin and hair type of the patient. If you have lighter skin and darker hair, you have the greatest likelihood of achieving permanent hair removal using different types of hair removal lasers. For everyone else, there is one new technology that promises the greatest hope for safety and effectiveness in permanent hair removal.

This new technology is called “Electro Optical Synergy”, or elos. This technology actually combines the principles of multiple energy producing devices into one singular hair removal component. Technically, elos is still a hair removal laser, but in reality it is much more than just a laser. In addition to the medium to long diode laser wavelength used, elos also applies intense pulsed light along with bi-polar radio frequency, or electrical current. The latter is a fascinating complement to the traditional laser-only hair removal approach.

For over a century, electrolysis was the single domain of permanent hair removal. This approach involved the insertion of a tiny needle into the hair follicle after which electrical current would be conducted. The electrical energy would be attracted to the liquid in the hair follicle and the resulting heat would permanently disable it. Of course, when it comes to hair removal, electrolysis is a one-hair-at-a-time approach which is hardly practical for anything other than the smallest body sites with the fewest hairs. Using elos, the electrical current is not applied with a needle, but rather via radio waves. When combining laser energy with electrical current, elos provides the ability to maximize the amount of energy into the target area – the hair follicle – in the safest and most permanent way possible. This may be the single biggest advancement in permanent hair removal.

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