Is Laser Hair Removal Ok for You .pdf
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Is Laser Hair Removal Ok for You?
Shaving, waxing, tweezing, sugaring. There are almost as many well-worn ways to
remove body and facial hair as there are areas that it sprouts on.
And then there are lasers. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that
more than a million Americans used the procedure in 2014, a 51-percent rise since
How It Works
Unlike shaving and waxing, which remove hair already on the skin’s surface, lasers
target what lies beneath: the follicle under your dermis. Using selective
photothermolysis (SPTL), lasers cause localized damage by heating dark targets (in
this case, melanin in the follicles) without burning the rest of the skin.
With a hand piece that looks like a vacuum cleaner’s hose attachment, a technician
or physician emits split-second beams of light to preshaved skin. The energy
destroys the hair bulb underneath, and a few days or weeks later, the remaining hairs
push out, shedding what looks like a bunch of eyelashes, ashes, or, occasionally, a
small clump of hair.
How Long It Takes
Sessions vary in length depending on which body part you’re having treated—a little
fuzz on your chin might take five minutes to zap, while a thick-skinned man’s back
could require 30 minutes or more. No matter where you’re going barer, you’ll likely
need six to eight sessions with a professional-level laser to see full results, typically
an 80-to-90-percent reduction in hair growth.
The reason for so many visits? Laser beams work best on follicles in the active
“anagen” growth phase, and to kill all (or nearly all) in one zone, you have to come
back several times.
Picking the Right Laser
The type of lasers used to zap follicles varies depending on your skin and your
natural hair color. Diode and alexandrite lasers, which emit shorter pulses, are
usually good for fair and medium complexions with darker, coarser hair. Olive-toblack-skinned customers are typically treated with the Nd:YAG laser, which has a
longer wavelength, meaning beams penetrate deeper into the skin so as not to burn
the surface; laser burns were once more of an issue for darker complexions with
more melanin. Still, technicians sometimes do use less power to avoid burning
Blonds and redheads can be treated, but the lower level of melanin in their hair
means lasers won’t be as effective, and some practices won’t even take on those
patients. Gray hair can’t be targeted by lasers due to its lack of melanin, so beware a
practice that says it can.