During laser hair removal, a laser emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair. Light energy is converted to heat, which damages the tube-like sacs inside the skin (hair follicles) that produce hairs. This damage inhibits or delays future hair growth.
Laser hair removaldevices work by killing the hair follicle.
But hair grows in cycles, and lasers only damage follicles during an active hair growth cycle. Therefore, several treatments are needed, about a month apart, to prevent the hair from regrowing completely. The main principle behind laser hair removal is selective photothermolysis (SPTL), the coincidence of a specific wavelength of light and the pulse duration to obtain an optimal effect on a target tissue with minimal effect on the surrounding tissue. Lasers can cause localized damage by selectively heating the dark target matter, melanin, thus heating the basal stem cells in the follicle, causing growth of the hair, the hair follicle, without heating the rest of the skin.
Light is absorbed by dark objects but reflected by light objects and water, so laser energy can be absorbed by dark material in the hair or skin, with much more speed and intensity than just skin without any type of dark adult hair or melanin. Laser hair removal has become popular due to its speed and effectiveness, although part of the effectiveness depends on the skill and experience of the laser operator, and on the choice and availability of the different laser technologies used for the procedure. Some will need touch-up treatments, especially in large areas, after the initial series of 3 to 8 treatments. IPL uses a xenon flash lamp that provides bursts of diffuse, non-coherent light.
This means that it is made of many different wavelengths or colors and cannot focus like a laser does. The wavelengths for IPL are 500 to 1200 nanometers. Compared to other types of laser hair removal treatments, diode laser treatment often requires fewer sessions to complete. Due to the selective photon absorption of laser light, only colored hair such as black, brown or reddish brown hair or dirty blonde hair can be removed.
As this technology continued to be researched, laser hair removal became more effective and efficient; therefore, it is now a common method of removing hair for long periods of time. Hair removal lasers have been in use since 1997 and have been approved for permanent hair reduction in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Rox Anderson and Melanie Grossman discovered that it was possible to selectively target a specific chromophore with a laser to partially damage basal stem cells within hair follicles. Laser hair at home works the same way a futuristic looking device emits a laser pulse that targets the hair follicle, heating it and preventing new hair from growing.
Some current IPL systems have proven to be more successful in removing hair and blood vessels than many lasers. Zeichner adds that, each treatment causes some degree of damage to the hair follicle, resulting in thinner hair, and often several treatments are required to remove the hair completely. A common theme among different laser hair removals is that the head of the device is so small that it can sometimes take longer for a hair removal session. The OG hair removal laser tool uses the same diode laser technology that derms prefer for best results.
Although it is often classified under a laser hair removal treatment, IPL is not really a laser, it is just a light and, as the name implies, intense pulsed light is used to damage hair follicles in a manner similar to how lasers are used in other types of treatment. Professional laser hair removal can cost a couple hundred dollars per treatment, and it can take half a dozen sessions (or more) to remove all follicles. Because lasers target pigment, devices such as Tria 4X and Silk'n Infinity work best on people with light to medium skin tones with thicker, darker hairs. Home laser hair removal devices promise to remove hair without the big price of professional hair removal treatments.
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