What are the Facts about Laser Hair Removal?
One of the first facts that needs to be established with regards to laser hair removal is that the demand for it is huge and that this, in turn, has led to the growth of a multi-billion Dollar industry. Throughout history, there have been societies in which both women and men have gone to great lengths to limit any signs of what their culture may have deemed to be inappropriate hair growth. In women, particularly, facial growth, such as that which may occur on the upper lip or in the form of one or two whiskers on the chin, as well as visible growth on the arms and legs, have been addressed with a variety of depilatory procedures over the years.
Long before the advent of modern hair removal procedures involving the use of a laser or rays of intense pulsed light (IPL), it appears that the Egyptians may have introduced the belief that a smooth hairless skin was a mark of beauty – a belief that quickly spread to Greece and throughout the middle East. In fact, it was not uncommon for women of the time to remove every trace of hair apart from their eyebrows using razors fashioned from bronze or flint, or by the process known as “sugaring”, akin to that known as waxing today. Men too, shaved their beards, not for vanity or fashion, but to avoid being held by the beard by an enemy, and also to limit infestation by mites.
When toolmakers hit on the idea of tweezers, inevitably, plucking offered a further alternative. However, in common with sugaring and its modern counterpart, this meant that pain continued to be the price of beauty. The search for a more comfortable solution led first to dramatic improvements of razors, including some designed specifically for women and, in time, to the development of depilatory creams and laser hair removal. So what about the latter; is it painful, are there side-effects and how does it work?
Unlike depilatory processes like shaving or the use of creams, which simply remove the visible growth, coherent light acts as an epilator. That is to say, it permanently destroys hair follicles, preventing re-growth. Affecting only living hairs, the pigment conducts the laser light and, where connected to a follicle, the latter is destroyed by heat. Because it is only during the growth phase that the strands are connected to a follicle, several treatments conducted at intervals are required for optimum results.
At Laserderm centres, laser hair removal uses the advanced Alexandrite laser and the treatment areas are cooled just prior to irradiation, so there is little discomfort and the skin remains protected from any risk of burning or scarring.