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Laser Hair Removal A2Z
Laser hair removal can be a safe, effective means of managing unwanted body hair. It is pertinent, however, for consumers to know facts about the procedure itself, as well as what precautions to take when seeking a service provider. This report is a must read for anyone considering laser hair removal, or who knows someone who is.
With procedures that take only minutes compared to hours by electrolysis, laser hair removal offers consumers yet another way to remove unwanted body hair.
Although there is no firm data on how long hair reduction lasts or how often permanent reduction occurs, the hands-down consensus seems to be that having hair removed by laser is a relatively safe procedure. And when expectations are realistic, the majority of consumers who have hair removed by laser are pleased with the results.
Even so, some claims by providers about the procedure are unsubstantiated, research inadequate, and many medical practitioners remain skeptical or unconvinced that laser hair removal entirely matches up to marketing claims by those who offer the service.
The mission of this report, therefore, is two-fold:
1.) To remain neutral while what is known about laser hair removal is highlighted.
2.) To remain neutral while distinguishing which claims about laser hair removal are accurate, and which are unsupported by medical research data.
It will also offer sound advice to persons considering laser hair removal.
In short, laser hair removal is a procedure that uses light at a specific wavelength to rid the body of unwanted hair. It does this by damaging hair follicles, causing the hair to fall from the body shortly after; usually within a few days.
How is this accomplished? When light is absorbed by dark objects, it creates heat; the stronger the light, the hotter the heat. The light generated by the laser targets a dark area; in this case, a hair follicle. High heat from the laser to the hair follicle is localized; surrounding skin tissue remains unaffected. Light skin with dark hair, then, is the best combination for successful laser hair removal.
Persons with gray, red, or blonde hair are not as good a candidate for laser hair removal than someone with fairer skin and darker hair. The same is true for persons with darker skin tones. This is because of the high amount of melanin found in dark skin, and the small amount found in lighter shades of hair.
Melanin is the primary chromophore used by most hair-removing laser instruments. “Chromophore” refers to the dark target area the laser light singles out during the hair removal procedure. Melanin is what gives color to skin and hair. Skin with two much melanin can prevent the laser light from singling out hair follicles.
The deeper into the skin laser light travels, the less effective it becomes. To offset this, there are several wavelengths of laser energy used in the removal of hair; from visible light, to near-infrared radiation.
Wavelength, pulse-width, width of laser beam, and energy level of laser light generated all affect laser hair removal results.
During the 1960s lasers began being considered as a way to remove unwanted hair. The hair removal industry was enthusiastic about the potential generated by research. So enthusiastic, hair removal providers began utilizing laser light before effectiveness and safety factors had been fully explored by dermatologists and researchers.
The first lasers used for hair removal purposes emitted one continuous wave. It was later discovered that this was not practical. Since the beam could not be controlled, damage to skin tissue resulted. Using the same principle as the shutter in a camera, a “Q-switch” was developed to remedy the problem.
In 1969 lasers that delivered energy through a tiny fiberoptic probe to selectively target and “attack” individual hair follicles were developed. Before the device had been cleared as effective and safe, it was rushed to market. Advertising campaigns touted it a safe and painless way to permanently rid the body of unwanted hair. The claims were false, of course, since testing of the devices had not yet been completed; before long the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intervened.
Ten years later, data verified laser energy was successful in the treatment of ingrown eyelashes. Researchers also found lasers useful in removing specific kinds of tattoos and in treatment for certain types of vascular injuries. After it was noted that hair loss sometimes resulted, the device was once again promoted as a hair remover, even though adequate testing was still lacking.When the FDA approved use of the SoftLight™ laser for hair removal during the mid 1990s, it was once again pounced on by hair removing industries. Still without sufficient testing, the device was nevertheless marketed as “painless” and “permanent.” Once again the FDA stepped in.
After several more years of unsubstantiated assertions, with consumers “guinea pigs” for a procedure whose long-term effects had not yet been determined, a series of lawsuits resulted. Providers of laser hair removal finally changed their marketing strategy to a more modest “hair-management” theme.
Present day, the use of laser energy for purposes of hair removal continues. Although there is no evidence to the contrary, research that proves it is a safe and effective method of hair removal remains inconclusive.
What have been determined are certain advantages laser hair removal has over other methods:
The flip side of the coin is its disadvantages:
If you or someone you know plans on having laser hair removal, the following guidelines will help to increase the chance of laser treatment success:
Follow doctor’s advice prior to, during, and after each hair removal treatment, and keep the doctor informed of any complications or concerns.
Laser hair removal is safe when performed by a qualified and experienced professional. Although skin may be slightly pink or red after treatment, skin color usually returns to normal within a few hours. Cold packs help skin return to normal more quickly.Maintain accurate records of each treatment and office visit; document the date, time, name of the person spoken to, their position at the clinic, and details of each telephone conversation.
People who do their homework, and carefully select their laser hair removal provider are more apt to be satisfied with the end results, than persons who did not.
Copyright 2006: Remedium. This article may not be copied, in whole or in part, without the written consent of Remedium.
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