Laser hair removal uses finely-tuned laser light pulses to damage (and eventually destroy) the hair “root” or follicle.
Professional practitioners’ actual apparatus varies but typically uses a YAG laser to create and focus laser light pulses – a similar technique, known as IPL (intense Pulsed Light), is also available. However, it is somewhat less effective on thick, coarse hair.
One characteristic shared by laser and IPL hair removal is that each treatment can only affect a percentage of your hair follicles – this is because all hair follicles go through a life cycle, with periods of growth interspersed with periods of rest. The laser or IPL pulses can only effectively target individual hair follicles that are actively growing, typically around 20% to 25% of the total at any given moment.
Professional Hair Removal Process
Professional laser hair removal equipment allows the practitioner to adjust the size of each light pulse, as well as the depth to which each is directed. This allows the procedure to be tailored to each patient’s individual requirements. In some cases, the light pulses can also be adjusted to maximize effectiveness according to each patient’s hair and skin color.
But aside from the technical details, an experienced practitioner will be able to draw from their training and personal experience to achieve the best results in the least time, while also ensuring that patient discomfort is reduced to a minimum, and while ensuring that the procedure is conducted in a safe and effective manner. This last point is far from the least important – a hair removal laser in untrained or inexperienced hands can not only be ineffective but is also capable of possibly causing burns and scars.
A professional will be able to determine the most effective schedule for repeated sessions — remember that each session can only target around 25% of hair follicles, so multiple sessions will always be required.
Home “DIY” Hair Removal Process
Several “do it yourself” devices are now available, marketed as a way to achieve similar results from the convenience of your own home. Although this might seem like an attractive way to remove unwanted hair without having to leave your home, there are several factors that you need to be aware of.
What Exactly Are You Buying?
Firstly, most (if not all) at-home devices are not actually lasers — they instead use less effective pulsed light. Unsurprisingly they are also significantly less powerful than professional devices used by hair removal practitioners. This is good because it reduces the chance of causing injury, but it also means that these devices are way less effective at actually removing hair. The larger the area you want to treat, the more the drawbacks of at-home under-powered devices will become apparent.
At-home devices also often have limited lifetimes. Their light-producing elements may lose effectiveness and need replacing more often than the manufacturer claims.
How Can I Tailor Treatment to my Needs?
One of the most significant problems is how best to tailor treatment to your particular combination of skin and hair color, particularly if you don’t have the “optimum” combination of pale skin and dark hair. Basically you don’t get the ability to tune the treatment when using cheap at-home devices, which means that there’s a significant chance that you won’t be able to achieve acceptable results safely. Some complexions (particularly dark-skinned) are more at risk for burning or scaring when exposed to excess light energy.
Other Safety Considerations
If you decide to proceed with the DIY approach, some more critical advice – read all instructions carefully. You MUST avoid using a laser or IPL light pulses near the eyes, near the genitals, and around any unusual pigmentation areas, including tattoos and moles.
You also won’t have access to the full range of pain-control techniques that are available to professional practitioners. Don’t underestimate how painful an unprofessional hair removal session can be!
Finally, keep in mind that you generally get what you pay for as in so many areas. Don’t fall into the trap of focusing on short-term savings while neglecting to factor in the time and cost savings from using a professional to control unwanted hair most safely and cost-effectively.
Your Laser Skin Care
Your Laser Skin Care is medically qualified and experienced. We can advise on the best way to achieve permanent or long-term hair removal, tailored to your specific requirements. We have extensive experience with laser and IPL hair removal and a host of other non-invasive cosmetic procedures. Call us at (323) 525-1516 to schedule a free consultation or visit us online for more information.