I’ve been getting lots of questions about laser hair removal so I’m going to go a little more in depth about it in this post. If you still need to learn the basics, check out my previous post.
Many people wonder how the laser actually causes the hair to stop growing—it’s simple. The laser emits energy that penetrates the skin and when doing so, will get converted to heat (which is why they always perform laser hair removal in combination with a cooling system of some kind). This heat damages the hair follicle thus preventing the follicle from being able to grow again.
The procedure works best on light skin/dark hair combinations because melanin helps the laser target the hair follicles. Melanin is produced by melanocytes in your skin. The melanin they produce is transferred to the hair follicles, as well as to your skin—this is what is responsible for the coloration of hair and skin. Laser hair removal does not work well with light colored hair because this type of hair does not have much melanin in it and therefore it is tough for the laser to target it. Melanin is also the reason that patients with dark skin need to be VERY careful with this procedure—the laser can accidentally target some of the skin in addition to the follicle. This can result in burns and even changes in pigmentation which can present as lightened spots.
The reason this procedure requires multiple treatments is because this specific type of damage can only be done to the follicle when it is in its growth stage of hair. Hair growth occurs in cycles so not all of the follicles will be in the proper stage.
Make sure that you keep in mind, electrolysis is the ONLY method that the FDA considers to be PERMANENT. Laser hair removal patients often find that they experience re-growth after some time, although it is usually finer hair than they originally had. And I’ll say it again, make sure you go to a reputable technician… preferably a doctor who has been doing this for a long time.