What is Permanent Hair Reduction?
Epilation by laser was performed experimentally for about 20 years before it became commercially available in the mid 1990s. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), though technically not a laser, use xenon flash lamps that emit full spectrum light. Laser and light-based methods, sometimes called phototricholysis or photoepilation, are now most commonly referred to collectively as “laser hair removal”. The efficacy of laser hair removal is now generally accepted in the dermatology community, and laser hair removal is widely practiced.
Many reviews of laser hair removal methods, safety, and efficacy have been published in the dermatology literature.
The primary principle behind laser hair removal is selective photothermolysis. Lasers can cause localized damage by selectively heating dark target matter, (melanin), in the area that causes hair growth, (the follicle), while not heating the rest of the skin. Light is absorbed by dark objects, so laser energy can be absorbed by dark material in the skin (but with much more speed and intensity). This dark target matter, or chromophore, can be naturally-occurring or artificially introduced.
Hair removal lasers selectively target melanin:
Melanin is considered the primary chromophore for all hair removal lasers currently on the market. Melanin occurs naturally in the skin (it gives skin and hair its color). There are two types of melanin in hair: eumelanin (which gives hair brown or black color) and pheomelanin (which gives hair blonde or red color). Because of the selective absorption of photons of laser light, only black or brown hair can be removed.
Both men and women seek laser hair removal services to have superfluous or unwanted hair removed. Hair removal is commonly done on lip, chin, ear lobe, shoulders, back, underarm, abdomen, buttocks, pubic area, bikini lines, thighs, face, neck, cleavage, chest, arms, legs, hands, and toes. Laser works best with dark coarse hair. Light skin and dark hair are an ideal combination, but new lasers are now able to target dark black hair even in patients with dark skin.
Hair removal lasers have been in use since 1997 and the Food and Drug Administration approved it for “permanent hair reduction.” Laser hair removal has become extremely popular because of its speed and efficacy, although some of the efficacy is dependent upon the skill and experience of the laser operator, and the choice and availability of different laser technology at the clinic which is performing the procedure. Some will need touch-up treatments, especially on large areas, after the initial set of five treatments.
It has also been observed that some people seem to be non-responders – this is not confirmed and reasons are not known, and may in fact be due to lack of skill on the part of many laser operators and/or the type of machine and settings they are using. This is a main concern here at Renaissance Clinique where we have all the proper lasers and IPL, and a staff that has been trained intensely on this procedure.