Laser hair removal is the deliberate removal of body hair using the technology of laser. Hair generally grows all over the human body, some fine and barely noticeable, with other areas having thicker, more prominent hair. That thicker hair can often be in unwanted places or too excessive, laser hair removal is directed towards the removal or reduction of this hair.
Laser hair removal works by targeting the hair follicle with laser light, this energy damages and goes on to destroy the hair follicle, thus stopping the follicle from producing further hairs. The laser delivers an intense beam of light, which is absorbed by the hair follicle whilst the surrounding tissue remains unaffected.
This process is called selective photothermolysis (photo- means light and thermolysis means to destroy with heat). It is selective as it targets the hair and not the skin. Laser hair removal is not electrolysis, electrolysis works by directing an electric current into each individual hair follicle which is painful and time consuming. Lasers, on the other hand, can target a large amount of hairs in one go, in a much less painful manner.
Following a treatment, the dead hair needs to come through the skin. It is pushed through and then shed after one to three weeks. During this period the hairs will seem to grow as they are pushed out by the new skin. After the second treatment, depending on skin and hair type the area can already begin to look patchy as certain hair follicles stop producing new hairs.
The skin may be red immediately after the treatment and the hair follicles where the skin has been treated may be raised and bumpy, this usually subsides within a few hours but can take up to 48 hours for some clients. A very few people experience itching a few days later as the hair is pushed out.
The laser light targets only hair that are actively growing (anagen phase), therefore multiple treatments are necessary to treat all the hair as they are not all growing simultaneously. Different hair follicles will be in different hair growth stages at any one time. For this reason, it requires several sessions to ensure catching all of the hair in the anagen phase