How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Overview | Treatment | Before and After Pictures

If you’re wondering if laser hair removal really works, the answer is yes. It is currently the only way to achieve permanent hair removal (despite what some infomercials say) and it can be done anywhere on your body that you have unwanted hair. It works by specifically targeting structures in the hair follicles while leaving the surrounding skin unharmed. When it’s done right, it is an efficient, safe, and cost-effective way to get rid of unwanted hair!

A laser emits energy in the form of light. In laser hair removal, the wavelength of light used targets melanin, which is the pigment in our skin and hair. In dark hair, there is a lot of melanin and it is located primarily at the base of the hair follicle, which is also known as the “bulb”. It is at the base of the bulb that there are small blood vessels that feed the follicle and keep the hair inside growing. When laser energy fires into the skin, most of the energy absorbs into the melanin in the bulb of the follicle. This heats up the base of the hair and disables the blood vessels feeding it. Once the follicle has no blood supply, then it stops growing hair. This is how lasers work to permanently remove hair.

As simple and straightforward as this sounds, there are a few other things that you should understand about laser hair removal. Knowing the “why” of it is just as important as knowing the “how” and can keep you from making mistakes both before and during your treatments.

Successful laser hair removal takes several treatments done over time. Laser hair removal is done this way for a couple of different reasons. First, our bodies have the power to and will heal after injury. The blood vessels feeding the follicles will need that heat/thermal injury a few times before they permanently shut down for good. Secondly, your hair grows in cycles and not all at the same time. Most of the hair on your body is in the growth phase (or anagen phase) at any given time. This is the best time to treat it with the laser because melanin is easily seen by the laser in this phase. In the other two phases of hair growth (telogen and catagen), the laser either can’t see the follicle because there’s no hair (or melanin) in it at all, or the bulb of the follicle is preparing for the next, new hair.  Generally treating every 6 to 8 weeks for a total of 6 to 8 treatments will be what’s needed to cover these two, different but very important factors.

The thicker and darker your hair, the better your chance of success. Because the lasers of today only see the melanin in the follicle, there still isn’t a laser treatment for blonde, grey, fine or white hair. There are a few things on the drawing board right now, so stay tuned, but beware if someone promises successful laser hair removal and you fall into one of these categories. There are some devices out there that use a spray on color (carbon) in these types of scenarios, but Celibre has found that the results are inconsistent at best and as of now, we do not offer this type of service.

Successful laser hair removal requires the right laser set at the right energy level. This one is so important. Often, we have heard patients assume that all lasers will work on any skin type (color). This isn’t the case at all. At Celibre, we have several different laser hair removal devices, because we understand this so well. What often happens in the one-size-fits-all facility is that the practitioner must turn down the energy of the laser to avoid injuring the skin. This means that you don’t get as effective treatment as you should. In some cases, it could mean you get a lower percentage of hair removal than you should or worse yet, no permanent hair removal at all. Again, despite the accessibility of laser hair removal, it really does take the right “recipe” of the correct device set at the right energy settings to get it done right.

Lastly, what you do in between your treatments will impact how effective your treatments are. It is important that you don’t wax, pluck or tweeze your hair in between your laser hair removal treatments. Because the laser needs to see the melanin in the base of the follicle, if you pull the hair out, then the laser won’t work. Shaving just cuts the hair level with the skin, but it keeps the hair in the follicle which allows the laser to still work effectively.

If you’re interested in learning more about how laser hair removal works or to find out if it’s a good option for you, give us a call and schedule a free consultation today. We’d love the opportunity to discuss how Celibre’s laser hair removal program offers superior value and safety along with amazing results!

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