Laser Hair Removal - How it Works?

Written and reviewed by
Dermatologist, Delhi  •  23 years experience
Laser Hair Removal - How it Works?

Unwanted hair on the body have always been an embarrassing issue for all women. Be it the upper lip or the chin area, the underarms or the bikini line, upper arms or lower legs, all these areas can have hair and are a cause for concern. While traditional methods like shaving and waxing are still available, they still are not permanent solutions and need to be repeated quite often.

How it works: This is where laser hair reduction came as a magical wand to solve this problem. Unlike the above mentioned methods, the laser technique gets to the root of the problem. Skin has hair follicles and depending on a number of factors, majorly genetic, hair growth happens. The laser light is intended at destroying this hair follicle, when then is not able to produce hair again, thereby, making it a close to permanent solution. There could be some more active follicles which erupt in the same area, and so laser treatment should be done in 3 to 4 sessions. All hair follicles are by then destroyed, making it a permanent solution to unwanted hair.

Types of lasers: Since their approval for use in the 1990s, various types of lasers are now available and the most common ones have been listed below.

  1. Ruby laser: The first laser to be used, the beam is well absorbed by the melanin pigment and is good for removing finer, lighter hair and in moderate patches on dark skin. It can burn darker complexions, so is to be used with caution.
  2. Diode laser: This laser beam has longer wavelength and penetrates better, is therefore useful even in darker skins. Effective for smaller spots, not very effective for light hair.
  3. Nd-YAG laser: Effective on all skin types, including tanned skin, and can cover large spots of growth.

There are two things that laser can do i.e. laser hair removal vs. laser hair reduction. As noted above, the skin has hair follicles which produce hair. When a laser beam is targeted, this hair follicle is destroyed. When the laser is used, the active follicles are all destroyed. However, after a certain period of time, more follicles grow, which were earlier inactive or are formed newly. This causes hair growth again, though much lesser than earlier. When only temporary reduction is required, one or utmost two sessions are sufficient. However, if complete hair removal is intended, then a few sessions spread over a few months is advisable.
Each person expects different results. Some men may want lesser chest hair, but not complete removal. Women who are in fashion industry might like clear underarms and no facial hair at all. The treatment needs to be customized after thoroughly understanding a person’s expectations. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.

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