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Laser and Light Therapy for Removing Unwanted Hair (Cosmetic Treatments)
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Laser and Light Therapy for Removing Unwanted Hair

Mariusz J.A. Sapijaszko, MD FRCPC (Dermatology)

The issue of unwanted hair is largely relative to the culture and society that you live in, and changes over time. Recent attitudes in Western culture portray women with excess hair on the arms and legs, chest, and face as undesirable, and men have also been known to remove excess hair in reaction to changing public perceptions of beauty. 

Unwanted hair can be an extremely embarrassing problem, especially for women. Traditional hair removal solutions include shaving, waxing, tweezing, threading, and electrolysis. While these techniques are often effective, they can be painful and or time consuming as these are mechanical processes. Recently, in response to increased demand for efficient hair removal solutions, laser and light based technologies have made great progress for the purposes of hair reduction.

Lasers and light based technologies work by targeting the hair follicles. Hair follicles absorb light from the lasers because of the color contained in hair follicles, which generate heat and damage the tissue that grows the hair. With this process, only the hair follicles are destroyed while the surrounding skin is left intact and undamaged.

Due to the mechanism of light absorption, the skin color must be lighter than the color of the hair for the laser to take proper effect. The ideal candidate would have dark hair, and light skin. Blonde or red hair is, for this reason, the most difficult to remove, as these hair colors are commonly associated with light skin color. Similarly, patients with dark hair and dark skin color also face the same problem.

Commonly used lasers include ones with 694nm 755nm, 810nm, and 1064nm wavelengths, and have shown their effectiveness in permanent hair reduction. The low wavelength lasers are beneficial in treating patients with light skin and dark hair, while the higher wavelength lasers are used for patients with darker skin color. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is a popular device that can produce light from different wavelengths, through the use of different filters, and can offer a variety of treatments depending on a person’s hair or skin combination, and is considered an effective hair reduction solution.

Lasers and IPL devices offer a safe, and often permanent solution for those with unwanted hair. However, it is imperative that these devices be operated by a trained medical professional that is qualified to use these devices. Consult your dermatologist for more information about these and other hair removal options.

Related:

cosmetic treatments,   hair care,   laser treatments,