Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is effective and safe to get rid of your facial and body hair. Laser hair removal works by emitting light from the laser and into your hair follicles. Your hair follicle absorbs the light from the laser and destroys the hair.
During your research, you’ve most likely come across gold standard lasers and IPL. Gold standard lasers are coherent; related in phase over long distances, monochromatic; tune out unwanted colours, and collimated; beam spreads very little. Whereas, IPL is non-coherent; phases cross each other, polychromatic; broad spectrum visible light, and divergent; beam spreads a lot.
Gold standard lasers are considered to be suitable for hair removal solutions, a laser is safer and most effective, as the laser uses one specific wavelength.
IPL – intense pulse light uses a broad spectrum of light that is not only absorbed into the hair follicle but also into the skin.
The Type of Laser
Gold standard lasers are Alexandrite, Diode, and ND:YAG, that are considered to safely and effectively remove hair. These three lasers are solid-state machines that incorporate real laser beams that penetrate into the hair follicle to destroy by the root. The three lasers operate on different wavelengths – which are specific to your hair type, colour and skin colour. The Alexandrite wavelength is 755nm and Diode wavelength is 810nm, which is why these two lasers are suitable for light skin colours (Fitzpatrick skin types I-III). The ND:YAG laser operates on a 1024nm wavelength, which penetrates more deeply and is the safest wavelength for darker skin tones and is thus considered safest and most effective for all skin types (Fitzpatrick skin types I-IV).
IPL – intense pulse light is not a laser but can be used for hair removal. It is not as effective and usually takes many more treatments. This is because it’s broad spectrum of light is unable to destroy the hair follicle thoroughly. IPL wide spectrum of light and shallow penetration can damage your skin, and is not recommended for darker skin colours (Fitzpatrick IV-VI).
Skin Colour / Fitzpatrick Scale
The Fitzpatrick scale is a method of measure how the skin reacts to ultraviolet light, or sun exposure. The Fitzpatrick scale measures from I-IV, and you fall within the 6 types based on your skin colour. Your skin colour plays a huge factor when determining which laser hair removal machine is most suitable for you. Many lasers are unable to treat certain skin colours, others have a greater risk of damaging skin because of the different wavelengths (different depths, different melanin absorption rates).
ND:YAG laser offers hair removal with the benefit of reduced risk for all skin colours, however lighter skin colours can safely have Alexandrite or Diode laser.
Hair Colour and Hair Type
The colour of your hair and the type of hair you have in the area you would like to treat determine which laser hair removal machine is best for you. Laser hair removal does not work on red, blond or grey/white hairs.
Our hair follicles go through 4 hair cycles, and laser hair removal is most effective in the 2nd phase, anagen (active) phase. This is why a series of laser hair removal treatments are necessary. The hair cycle length varies dependent on your body part being treated. Generally, treatments are spaced 4-8 weeks apart to maximize your results in the anagen phase. A quick guide to go by – face usually requires frequent treatments, whereas legs, arms, and back need more time between your treatments.