- How Safe Laser Hair Removal Works
- By: JIM BROWN
The word laser is an acronym for: light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. It's a device that creates and amplifies a narrow, intense beam of coherent light: light that is of one frequency. Lasers are commonly used in medical science and more recently in cosmetic procedures like hair removal.
In a laser, the atoms or molecules of a crystal, such as ruby or garnet, are excited in what is called the laser cavity so that more of them are at higher energy levels than are at lower energy levels.
Reflective surfaces at both ends of the cavity permit energy to reflect back and forth, building up the power in each passage.
With laser hair removal the laser penetrates the top layer of dermis with a specific wavelength of light (as opposed to multiple wavelengths used in Intense Pulse Light treatments), targeting melanin in the hair follicle.
A hair follicle is a sac from which a hair grows and into which the sebaceous (oil) glands open. The follicle is lined by cells derived from the epidermal (outside) layer of the skin.
Each air follicle normally goes through a five-year cycle of growth and rest, with about 90 percent of the follicles growing hair at any one time, averaging about 15 cm of growth per year.
Also called pigment, melanin is a substance that gives the skin and hair its natural color. It also gives color to the iris of the eye, feathers, and scales.
In humans, those with darker skin have higher amounts of melanin. By contrast, those with less pigment have lighter or more fair skin coloring.
Melanin provides many benefits to human beings. One of the most recognised benefits involves ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Melanin provides a natural protection against the harmful effects of these rays. However, it does not provide complete protection from the sun, and individuals with darker skin tones are still at risk from the sun's damaging rays.
When the laser hits the melanin it damages and destroys the regrowth potential of the hair follicle. The specific wave length of light (755nm) enhances the accuracy of the treatment and gives far superior results. At 755 nanometres the laser can achieve the best penetration into the hair follicle. For people with dark hair and light skin, this is the ultimate in hair reduction.
The new 755 nanometre hair removal laser uses a special cooling system that lowers the temperature of the skin during, and after, laser exposure.
This is why the treatment is regarded as a lot less painful than other treatments. Some patients have compared the treatment to the sensation of the snap of a rubber band.
For your safety, the ownership and operation of lasers in most Australian States is highly regulated. Clinics need to have an owner's license, clinic license, safety officers, licensed operators and licensed equipment, which is why very few clinics are fully licensed.