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Are you ready to go ahead with laser hair removal, but don’t know which laser is the best one for you? Have you done some research, but found that now you’re more confused than when you started? It’s okay, there is a maze of information out there and it can be hard to make sense of everything that you read. So let us give you a quick primer on the different devices out there.
First, it is important to know what device is being used on you! The type of laser that is being used for your treatments can affect many things from the percentage of hair that’s being removed, to the permanency of hair removal, how many treatments you will need, potential side effects, and more. By understanding all of these things, as well as which device would work best for your skin type, you can feel confident that you will get the most effective and safest laser hair removal treatment.
1. The Diode Laser – The diode laser is probably the most widely used type of laser for hair removal in the world. The Lumenis LightSheer is a diode laser. It is the best-selling laser hair removal device of all time and is more widely used for this purpose than any other type of device. Of course, there are other types of diode lasers on the market, but this one by far has the best name recognition. It is often used for hair removal in lighter-skinned patients. There are models of the diode laser that are marketed specifically for the treatment of those with darker (African-American) skin types but beware…while it’s not an absolute no-no to use this type of laser on someone with darker skin, the incidence of side effects can be higher.
2. The Alexandrite Laser – This type of laser has been used for laser hair removal longer than any other device out there. It’s considered to be “the grandfather” of laser hair removal devices and works very well for lighter skin types. It is not appropriate for use on darker skin types like African American and East Indian and it is not ideal for Middle Eastern skin types either. An example of a leading laser of this type is the Cynosure Apogee.
3. The Long Pulsed Neodymium Yag Laser (Nd: Yg) – This laser is specifically designed for laser hair removal on very dark skin types. It is extremely safe and can also be used very effectively for patients (especially men) of any skin type with very thick, coarse hair. The long wavelength of this laser allows it to achieve deeper penetration into the skin. This means it’s capable of bypassing the surface pigment to target the deeper pigment in the follicle itself. You may require more treatments with this device to achieve a high percentage of hair removal, but the safety and efficacy profile makes it an excellent choice for those with darker skin who want to get rid of their unwanted hair. The Sciton Profile is an example of this type of laser.
4. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) – IPLs are commonly used devices for laser hair removal, but they aren’t really lasers. IPLs use broadband light, which is made up of many different wavelengths (lasers are one, single wavelength). Because of this, they have limited effectiveness for permanent hair removal. They should not be used in someone with a darker skin type. Because an IPL uses many different wavelengths of light, it’s not specifically designed for hair removal. In order to heat the follicle enough to damage it and stop hair growth, the IPL will have to be set at higher and higher energies. This makes the likelihood of burns and other side effects (even scarring) much more likely. It’s also the reason this device shouldn’t be used on anyone with a darker skin type.
So if you’re ready to get started, we hope we’ve given you a good foothold on what’s out there. Not having to shave every day, endure the pain of waxing every couple of weeks, or undergo tedious rounds of electrolysis all for the sake of smooth, hair-free skin is truly liberating! Give us a call and let us run down our laser hair removal treatment options for you. We will answer each and every one of your questions at a free consultation at either of our conveniently located offices in Torrance, CA.