Laser Hair Removal offers a safe, long-term solution for unwanted hair without the side effects of other methods. Lasers operate by the use of selective photolysis, a process where pulses of intense light is emitted into the hair follicles. The laser targets the melanin (pigment) in the follicles, which is then converted to heat. It is the heat and light that is delivered to the hair root and follicle that destroys its capacity to grow new hair. Treatment to each area takes only seconds to destroy the follicle while protecting the surrounding skin.
At Western and Richmond Dermatology, we have three different types of laser hair removal. The Cynosure Apogee (Alexandrite 755 nm, the Epilia RF which is a combination of a diode laser (810 nm) and also emits radiofrequency (RF) waves for more efficient laser hair removal for all skin types, the Lyra (1064nm ND Yag laser) a safe hair removal device for dark skin.
These laser works by emitting pulses of intense light into the hair follicles. The laser targets the melanin (pigment) in the follicles, which is then converted to heat. It is this heat and light that destroys the hair at the root. The laser is pulsed (turned on) for only half a second and the duration of each pulse is just long enough to disable the root of the hair but not long enough to cause excess heat damage to the skin.
Only some of the hair follicles are in the active growing phase (called anagen) at any one time. The others remain in the telogen or dormant phase. However, only those in the growth phase will absorb the laser light. So several treatments are required to affect all the hair follicles. Usually at least four to six treatments are required. Optimal results are achieved if the hair is shaved two days prior to treatment and the patient is advised not to pluck or wax the treated area for three to four weeks before the treatment.
In the week following the treatment, it may appear as though the hair is growing; however, this is usually the residue of the destroyed follicles, which will fall out of their own accord, usually within two weeks. The time between treatments differs greatly from person to person due to their hair growth cycle.