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Laser Hair Reduction


What is Laser Hair Reduction?

It is a procedure that is done to reduce the hair growth on a particular part of the body with the help of laser lights. The most common areas considered for laser hair reduction are the face, hands, legs, armpits or underarms, back, chest, bikini line and pubic area.

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What is the mechanism used for laser hair removal?

Laser light emitted by the laser machines are used to target the hair pigments. A particular laser has the affinity to a few colors which it targets and thereby changes to heat energy to destroy the hair follicle. This is called the process of selective photothermolysis which is the typical feature of any laser light. Thus the laser light for laser hair reduction will target the black or the brown color of the hair and burn the roots so that the hair growth is hampered. The best phase to target the hair is the growth phase also called as the ‘anagen phase’. When hair roots are targeted during this phase then a long-term reduction in the growth of the hair follicle results.

Ideal Candidates

The best candidates for permanent hair reduction are the people with lighter skin and darker hair because the laser light doesn’t affect the skin and it affects the hair follicles, thus preventing damage to the surrounding skin. The darker skin types can also be effectively treated but the settings have to be different for both the skin types because the darker skin type has more chances of absorbing laser light and thus it must be protected from superficial damage. Thus the laser procedure must be performed by a trained personnel under the supervision of a professional doctor.

Procedure Preparation

The area to be lasered for hair removal is shaved prior the procedure to start to remove the layer of excess hair on the skin so that the laser light can effectively target the roots. The skin is cooled and a coupling gel is applied. The chill tip devices are an added advantage as they cool the skin as the laser light is emitted.

Laser Hair Removal Procedure

The light energy delivered during the laser treatment targets the melanin in the hair follicles which is the maximum in the growth phase of the hair. The hair that is present in the follicles is burnt. These hairs fall out eventually in a week or so and growth is impaired.

Laser Hair Removal Recovery

After the laser procedure, the skin is red and swollen for a few hours which settles down eventually. Sun protection with sunscreen is mandatory after the laser because the skin remains sensitive and may darken with sun exposure. Sometimes a scab may be formed after the laser treatment which falls off in about a week’s time.

Laser Hair Removal Results

One may find new hair growth about 7-10days following the treatment for laser hair reduction. These hairs undergo the process of exfoliation and eventually fall off in a few days. However, some growth may be seen that doesn’t fall off, these are the hair follicles which were in the resting phase and now have entered the active phase of growth. These need to be targeted in the following sessions.

The number of treatments varies for different people depending on hair type, skin type, causes of hair growth, the spacing between the cycles, however one may assume that to effectively treat an area one would need about 6-8 sessions for long-term hair reduction. This is particularly important in patients with PCOD or PCOS where the hormones are in the unbalanced condition and simultaneous treatment of the inciting pathology leads to better results. Consultation with an endocrinologist is important before one starts the laser hair treatment for PCOS.

Once hair reduction is achieved then one will need maintenance sessions to keep the hair growth controlled.

Laser hair removal significantly reduces the hair growth and helps one to achieve the smooth and hair-free skin.