Laser Hair Removal
Laser Hair Removal
There are different types of treatment to remove unwanted hair. Laser has proved to be the most effective in treating large, very hairy areas. To understand how laser controls hair growth, we have to explain some facts about hair growth and laser.
Hair removal using lasers has been in use since 1997. All treatments at Liverpool Laser Clinic are performed by a specialist following a consultation with a Consultant Plastic Surgeon. The treatment involves pointing the laser device at shaved skin. The heat from the laser disables the follicles from producing hair.
What is the nature of hair?
Skin is the largest organ in the body. Hair presents all over the body, except for the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. However, the size, colour and growth rate of hair depends on sex, age, race and anatomical site. Each hair has two components, follicle (root) and shaft. The follicle lies in the deep layer of the skin while the shaft penetrates the superficial layer of skin to reach the surface. The root should be targeted for a longer-lasting hair removal.
What is the hair growth cycle?
Each hair goes through three phases of growth: the anagen, catagen and telogen.
- The anagen is the active growing stage, during which the shaft grows out of the follicle towards the surface. The duration of this stage is related to the length of hair, which is longest on the scalp.
- The catagen is the intermediate stage, during which the follicle collapses and starts to separate from the shaft.
- The telogen is the stage in which the follicle is completely separated from the shaft, the hair moves towards the surface and becomes loose, finally it sheds off and a new hair starts another active (anagen) stage.
What is laser?
Laser is the product of a process in which light can be stimulated to carry higher energy. Each type of laser has a specific wavelength which is absorbed by a specific coloured target within the skin.
Am I a candidate for laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is suitable for both men and women. Most common treatments include under arms, pubic area, legs, abdomen, upper lip, chin, back, buttocks, thighs, face, neck, chest, arms and toes. The laser technology works by targeting dark pigments, hence it works best on pale skin with dark hair. The best results are achieved when the skin is pale and the hair is dark and coarse.
How many treatment sessions would I need?
For best results the laser treatment should be performed when the hair follicle is at the active growth stage (anagen). During the treatment, laser energy would be absorbed by the pigment in the shaft and transmitted down to the follicle. On average, six to eight sessions, with an interval of three to four weeks, are needed to catch hair during its active growth stage. Not all hair follicles are at the same growth stage as every hair enters its cycle at different times.
Does laser work on dark skin?
Dark skin has more melanin pigment. It would absorb laser energy in the same way as the melanin pigment in the hair. A different laser with a special arrangement is applied to dark skin to maximise the result and also to minimise the risk of complications.
What are the risks of laser treatment?
In general, laser is a safe type of treatment for hair removal. However, the right laser beam on the right setting is essential to avoid complications. Redness of the treated area usually happens but it settles quickly. Dark pigmentation may occur especially with dark skin however adjustment of the laser setting can minimise that risk.
Is it painful? Would I need anaesthesia?
No, the laser used for hair removal applies gentle heat to the skin. Cold air is applied simultaneously with the laser to cool the skin. There is no need for anaesthesia.
Can laser be used on all types of hair?
White/grey/blonde hair has not enough melanin pigment to absorb laser. For that reason, laser treatment is not the most suitable method to control their growth.
Is there an alternative treatment for white/grey/blonde hair?
Some creams can help to control hair growth. However, electrolysis is more effective in achieving more permanent results for light-coloured hair.
What is electrolysis?
Electrolysis involves passing a low electric current into the root of each hair through a fine probe. The aim is to destroy its growth potential. Our electrolysis expert will be able to advise you about your suitability for this treatment.