All about Laser Hair Removal Are you tired of constantly shaving and dealing with unwanted hair on your body? If so, laser hair removal just might be the thing for you! Of course, there might be a better option for you. Some of those options might be shaving, bleaching, tweezing or waxing. Each of these has their ups and downs but might be better for you. Laser hair removals work by the beams of light they produce. They apply the laser device to your skin causing it to get hot. This heat damages the follicle and keeps it from growing in the future. One of the requirements for laser hair removal is that your hair is darker than your skin. Laser hair removal is also not recommended for naturally dark people because too much laser energy is absorbed into their skin. If you tan it also recommended you do not have laser hair removal done. You can wait until your tan is gone and then proceed. If you have light skin you can expect an easier laser hair removal procedure as well as fewer treatments with quicker results. If you are darker skinned it could take longer for results to show and you will have more treatments. Each person is different when being treated for something just the same as being treated for laser hair removal. Most areas of the body can be treated with laser hair removal. The most popular areas: * Back * Neck * Legs * Chest * Bikini Line * Face * Underarms * Upper Lip * Abdomen If you have a specific area you want done, talk to your local laser hair removal expert. If you are seriously considering laser hair removal you do not want to tan prior to having it done. The treatment will be less effective this way. Laser hair removal is for women and men of all ages. Children can have it done granted they are old enough to cooperate. Laser hair removal is becoming more popular with men today. They are having their chests and backs done as well as their abdomen and sometimes face. While laser hair removal is proven to be quite safe, there are still some cons to having the procedure. The main worry being who is giving you the treatment. If this person is not entirely qualified to perform this procedure, they could damage your skin. Be sure you know all about your professional performing this. The cost of laser hair removal can be pricey but it really depends on your location. Every clinic is different so you want to contact a local clinic. Find out what their rates are and maybe even meet with a consultant to see if laser hair removal is right for you. You might think so just because you are tired of shaving. This may not be true though so it is better to consult a professional first. As with any major procedure you might have done, do all your research on laser hair removal before making a final decision. If you do not get all the facts before committing to it, you might be disappointed in the end. You might not even be eligible for laser hair removal. An Overview of Laser Hair Removal Laser hair removal is an excellent way of removing unwanted hair. This is accomplished by sending a light beam of a specific wavelength onto the skin from the laser. The beam of light is sent through a hand piece into the skin, where it attacks the darker pigmentation of the hair follicle. This causes damage and destruction of the hair follicle without damaging the skin tissues around it. Some people do experience permanent hair loss, while others do need to repeat the procedure. Sometimes when hair does grow back it is lighter in color and finer and texture. There are four types of lasers that are used for hair removal. They are Ruby, Alexandrite, Diode, and NdYAG. Each of these four lasers are different in many ways and are used for different skin types. The ruby laser is able to focus in on small areas and can be used on both dark and light skin. However, this laser works best on light skin. The alexandrite laser is very versatile and can be used on many different types of hair. It is able to focus on large areas and is very easy to customize. The diode laser uses a much longer wavelength which makes it very effective on most types of skin. The NdYag laser works well on people with dark hair and dark skin. Laser hair removal is not a good treatment option for everyone. It is not recommended for people with certain medical conditions or disorders. It also is not an effective treatment for people with white, gray or very light-colored hair. People that have hair of these colors do not have pigments in their hair to absorb the energy from the laser. Laser hair removal works about system on people with light skin and dark hair. In some instances, such as the removal of facial hair, one treatment may be enough. In other areas of the body, often a series of treatments must be given to remove the unwanted hair. Many times, laser hair removal is the last resort for people after years of using other methods to rid themselves of the excess hair. Although laser hair removal is considered safe, it is important to have your treatments done by an experienced, licensed professional. If the treatments are not done correctly, you run the risk of burns, blistering, skin discoloration, or a patchy uneven hair regrowth. Take the time to meet with several specialists in your area, and then decide which one is right for you. For the best results follow all the guidelines that your doctor gives you both before and after your laser hair removal treatments. The cost of laser hair removal can be expensive, and since it is considered a cosmetic procedure, it is not covered by insurance. Generally, a payment plan can be arranged for treatments. The average cost per treatment for laser hair removal in the United States is between $425 and $500 and many people need three to four sessions. Laser hair removal is an excellent alternative to other types of hair removal and should seriously be considered by those who are troubled by excessive hair growth. What You Should Know about Laser Hair Removal Are you considering laser hair removal? If so you should read on to find out what you should know before deciding. Something like this is a rather major change. You want to know all the facts before you commit to something such as laser hair removal. Are you eligible for laser hair removal? If your hair is darker than your skin you might be okay. It is not recommended that any person tanning with dark hair do this. If you are tanning, you will have to wait until your tan fades. Then you can proceed with laser hair removal. If you tan but have light hair, it is not recommended for you. If you are dark skin you might not want to do it. The pigments in your dark skin will absorb laser energy. The darker your skin is the harder it is to perform laser hair removal. You will have to have more treatments and this will make the cost go up as well. You can treat most areas of the body. The main areas are: Neck, Chest, Underarms, Back, Abdomen, Bikini Line, Legs and Face. You cannot have laser hair removal anywhere around the eyes. The laser is harmful to your eyes so you should wear eye protection during the treatments no matter what area you have done. Know your options to laser hair removal. You could continue shaving, tweezing, bleaching or even waxing. While these may not sound as great, they might be better for you. The lasers produce highly concentrated beams of light that will penetrate your skin and find your hair follicle. This will produce a hot heat and damage the follicles, preventing them from future growth. When preparing for laser hair removal you do not want to use any other type of hair removal product. That means no tweezing or waxing or anything similar. The laser hair removal will be hard to perform if there is no hair there to remove! You also do not want to tan or moisturize. If you tan the laser could burn your skin and if you moisturize it could block the laser energy and maybe even give you an allergic reaction. Avoid both of these at all costs! How much can you expect to spend? It will vary depending on your location and laser hair removal facility of course. According to a 2000 survey of ASAPS the average cost per treatment (one) for each of the following regions was: * Midwest: $497 * East: $458 * South: $307 * West: $469 * National Average: $360 Contact your local laser hair removal clinic to find out the costs. If they happen to be a bit too high for you check the closes surrounding laser hair removals clinics. Maybe they are a bit more in your price range. Keep in mind when doing laser hair removal that it does not mean one hundred percent of your hair will be gone. Each person is different and some may require more treatments than others. You will definitely see a significantly reduced amount of hair. You might end up with a type of sunburn like reaction after laser hair removal. You could even have blotches, discoloring, blistering and scarring and even crusting or scabbing. Talk to your professional to find out if laser hair removal is right for you. Who is Laser Hair Removal for? Not everyone can enjoy laser hair removal and its benefits. There are two things that factor into just who can do it. Such as: Your hair color and your skin color. These are the main two factors of laser hair removal. Blonde, red, white and grey hair is not recommended for laser hair removal. If you tan you must wait until your tan has faded only if you have dark hair. If you have tanned skin and light hair you do not qualify for laser hair removal. Laser hair removal is for those that qualify to have their unwanted hair gone. If you have hair on any of the following areas you want removed, laser hair removal is for you. * Neck * Upper Lip * Chest * Breasts * Toes * Back * Legs * Fingers * Abdomen * Bikini Area * Pubic Area * Chin * Arms * Face * Ears * Hairline * Shoulders * Between Brows Your skin type and skin history will also have an affect on laser hair removal being right for you. Your practitioner will ask you questions about your skin and skin history. You want to be sure you do not lie in any instance. Doing so could result in your skin being damaged after treatment. Remember you are having something done to your body, why bend the truth? Just be honest even if you might be embarrassed for something. People wanting to do laser hair removal that have light hair can now use Meladine. This is an enhancer for melanin that will give you better results if you have light hair. You apply this before and sometimes even after your laser hair removal session. This is not a drug so you need not to worry there! It is considered a cosmetic. There is no guarantee that comes with it, so you will use it using your own confidence. If you are looking for a quick way to get rid of hair, laser hair removal is not for you. While this will reduce your hair growth and maybe completely remove it, it is not fast. Depending on the area you want it could take four to six sessions to remove the hair. If you want a large area done it will take more time whereas a small area such as the chin could take only one to two sessions. The amount of hair will also play a part in how long it will take. Some people think of this as an easy way out, but it is not that simple. You want to do your research on laser hair removal before you go into it, just like you would any other procedure performed on your body. Not taking the proper precautions could you leave you feeling very unhappy and unsatisfied with your results. Granted your practitioner will do everything they can to inform you about laser hair removal. After treatment you want to know how to take care of the treated area and for how long. Some people neglect this thinking it will all be fine. This is not always the case and you will want to always follow your practitioner's instructions. Ask any and all questions you can think of and also be sure you find a qualified laser hair removal practitioner. The Pros of Laser Hair Removal Are you curious as to what the pros of laser hair removal are? If so, this article will tell you about all the good sides to having laser hair removal. The first pro to laser hair removal is no more hair! No more constant shaving or waxing or sugaring. Laser hair removal is performed by a laser's beams of concentrated light that will find your hair follicle and damage it. This prevents the follicle from growth continuance. This will not cause any damage to surrounding tissue so do not be discouraged! You can treat almost any area with laser hair removal. Yes, if you just thought of one, more than likely it is treatable! You would be amazed at the areas that some do not think of that are treated. The more common areas: * Neck * Fast * Chest * Abdomen * Back * Legs * Abdomen * Upper Lip * Bikini Line * Arms Some areas that many people do think about that can be treated with laser hair removal include: * Buttocks * Chin * Breasts * Pubic Area * Feet * Toes * Fingers * Hands * Nostrils Another great thing about laser hair removal is that it is for men and women both. Men are becoming more and more aware of laser hair removal. Let's face it they do not enjoy shaving or waxing anymore than women do. Why do that when you can use laser hair removal? Another benefit of laser hair removal is the fact you will feel so much better about yourself. You can show off your skin and feel confident and better. How many times do we wear certain uncomfortable clothes in case not to show our unwanted hair? With laser hair removal you will no longer have to worry about that! You will look great as well as feeling great. Smooth skin is something anyone can appreciate especially when it is low maintenance if not maintenance free altogether. With laser hair removal you can achieve this. Do you know how much money you spend on shaving and waxing products? Think of the money you will save by using laser hair removal. Everyone can always handle saving a little bit of money. Your skin will feel a lot better after laser hair removal. You will not have to worry about the shaving bumps or irritated skin resulting from waxing. No more ingrown hairs to bother or worry you. Smoother, sexier skin altogether. Maybe you have your own reason for using laser hair removal. Whatever the reason may be you can do it feeling confident. Know that once you have a laser hair removal treatment you will know what to expect for each session you have. It will depend on the area as to how many treatments you will need, but isn't the result worth it? Contact a laser hair removal treatment center today. Find out all you can about how to do it and try to find a clinic with free consultations. This way you do not have to spend any money whatsoever to find out if laser hair removal is right for you. How could you go wrong? Safety Issues Regarding Laser Hair Removal Safety issues regarding laser hair removal relate to both clients and technicians. These safety issues are very different than those involving other forms of epilation. There are no concerns of drawing blood, contaminating probes, or risking infection. However, there are concerns regarding burns and eye safety. Several organizations have laid down guidelines to ensure the safety of both the clients and technicians. These organizations include The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, The American National Standards Institute, The Food and Drug Administration, The Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and The Society for Clinical and Medical Hair Removal. All laser hair removal devices in the United States are subject to very strict mandatory performance standards. They also must meet the federal laser product performance standard, which includes specifying their safety features, both for the benefit of the patient and technician. It is best to purchase new laser hair removal equipment. If used equipment must be purchased, it should only be bought from a qualified distributor with the assurance that it has been thoroughly checked and serviced. The equipment should also be guaranteed.. The room that is used for laser hair removal can be used for other treatments. However, it must be set up in accordance with the strict guidelines that are associated with the use of laser equipment. Setting up the room the proper way is usually done by the equipment distributor or the manufacturer. The laser hair removal room should have a door that can be locked during treatment. There should be a warning light outside the door to let others know that treatment is being done and they should not enter. There should be protective eyewear, outside of the door for people who may need to enter during a treatment. They should not be any windows in the room, however if there are windows they should be blacked out with protective coverings. It is very important to that the electrical outlet has its own circuit breaker. It also must be grounded, and have the proper amperage and voltage. The room should not have any mirrors or reflective surfaces in it. Laser hair removal equipment should be on a flat surface and have plenty of ventilation around it. This equipment should only be serviced and calibrated according to the manufacturer's guidelines for that particular device. It should be regularly cleaned of any carbon buildup that may occur. When the laser equipment is not in use the key should be removed. It is important that the operator of the laser hair removal device be well trained and qualified. This training should be in all areas including histology and client care. The technician should not wear any reflective clothing or jewelry. The technician, along with any other person in the room, is required to wear ANSI approved protected our eyewear in order to avoid laser blindness. The client should receive a thorough and detailed consultation, pre and post care instructions, and a patch test before the laser hair removal treatment begins. It is also important that the client understands the benefits and risks of the treatment. During the laser hair removal process the client should wear ANSI approved protective eyewear and be instructed to keep the eyewear on throughout the treatment. How to Choose a Laser Hair Removal Provider Choosing the right laser hair removal provider is the second most important decision you will make concerning your treatment. The most important decision was deciding to have the hair removal treatment. It is best to choose someone, preferably a doctor, that does laser hair removal on a regular basis. Often the best doctors to perform the procedure specialize in plastic surgery order dermatology. They usually have the latest laser devices and are more knowledgeable on the procedures. A good way to find a list of practitioners in your area is to do an online search. This will result in a list of laser hair removal specialists for you to consider. Some may be doctors that perform the procedure themselves, and others may be doctors that oversee technicians that do the procedure. While searching online it is often possible to find reviews from previous clients concerning specific practitioners and treatments. After you have narrowed down your list to several choices of laser hair removal specialists, the next step is to schedule a preliminary consultation. The purpose of this consultation is for you to further assess your choices and the quality of each one. Once you arrive at the office you will know right away if it is the type of setting where you would want to have your laser hair removal treatment. The office should meet with your specifications of cleanliness and orderliness. The staff should seem helpful and friendly when you arrive. When you have your meeting with the practitioner, you should be prepared to ask several questions. You will want to find out the amount of experience he has had with laser hair removal. To do this, you may want to ask him the number of laser hair removal procedures he has completed, how long he has been offering these services, and where he was trained in this specific technology. It is acceptable to ask to see his medical certificates and credentials. This way you will determine his specialty, and whether or not he is board certified. It is also good to find out if the practitioner owns his own lasers. If you are happy with how your preliminary consultation has progressed to this point, you may want to ask the practitioner the details concerning the specific laser hair removal procedure that you are interested in having done. You should ask him what kind of pain relief is available during the procedure, as most people do experience some degree of discomfort. If you have a low pain tolerance, this is especially important. Ask the practitioner how many treatments he feels will be necessary for your laser hair removal and determine whether his treatment schedule fits into your time from. It is also important to find out the cost of the laser hair removal treatments and the types of payments that this particular office accepts. You should repeat the preliminary consultation with as many practitioners that you feel are necessary until you find one that makes you feel completely comfortable and fits your price range. Taking the time needed to choose the right practitioner for you is the first step to having successful laser hair removal treatments. Finding a Laser Hair Removal Clinic You want to take proper precautions when searching for a laser hair removal clinic. Some may believe if the clinic offers the procedure, they must know what they are doing. This is not always the case at all. You want to be sure the practitioner is highly qualified to perform laser hair removal. Having an unqualified one could result in an improper procedure and an unhappy client; you. If you think you have found a great place after only checking out one or two, look again. You want to have as many options to choose from. You want to do the extensive research of places like you would for a doctor. After you do the research, visit the places most appealing to you. Find out if they give free consultations. Have questions ready when visiting a laser hair removal clinic. Ask them any and all questions you might have. Remember, no question is dumb! Knowing the types of lasers they use is beneficial to you. The more you study about the lasers the more you will understand how the procedure works. Find out how long the practitioner has been in practice for laser hair removal. How many procedures has he done? You can find a clinic using your local yellow pages or doing a search online. IF you do not mind traveling to a clinic, you could do an extensive search. You might find one you prefer the most at a location other than your own town. When visiting a laser hair removal clinic, remember to take notes on your surroundings. Do they keep the place in clean condition? Are the people helpful and friendly? Go with your instincts on the way the place in general makes you feel. You want a clinic that you are comfortable being in. Also ask to meet the laser hair removal practitioner if possible. If not, ask if they offer free consultations. If they do, make an appointment to meet with the practitioner. Laser hair removal is something to be carefully considered just like any other similar procedure. Think of any questions you can before you have your consultation. Write them down in case your practitioner does not cover them all with you during your consultation. Find out how much it is going to cost you, how many sessions you are going to have. Also ask what type of side effects you could experience. Depending on the patient having laser hair removal done and the area they choose, the side effects could easily differ. Just knowing what you might expect will make you feel more comfortable. Ask about the procedure and how it works. Can you expect to feel much pain? How many times have they performed laser hair removal? How effective have the results been? What kind of lasers do they use? No question is too dumb when it comes to laser hair removal. You want to know all you can before proceeding with a laser hair removal treatment. Necessary Care after Laser Hair Removal Laser hair removal, although a simple process, does require proper care of the skin in the area that was treated. Generally there is little recovery time needed regarding laser hair removal procedures. People can usually return to normal activities immediately after treatment. However, it is important to take the time to follow the recommended guidelines for aftercare in order to protect against any chance of a complication and to reduce any discomfort that may be experienced. Following laser hair removal treatment, it is not uncommon for the skin to be slightly swollen and red in the treated area. Some people describe it as feeling like a mild sunburn, with slight puffiness and irritation. Placing a cooling preparation such as a cold compress, cold pack, or aloe vera, on the affected area will ease the temporary mild burning sensation. Some people experience this burning sensation for only a few hours, while others may feel it for a day or two. This is the time it takes for the skin to return completely to its normal state. It is important to apply a total sunblock to the area that was treated with laser hair removal if it is going to be exposed to sunlight. A sunblock with an SFP of 30 or higher should be applied. Irritation and a burning sensation of the treated areas can result from even the slightest exposure to the sun. Sunlight should be avoided for three weeks following laser hair removal. This will prevent hyperpigmentation from occurring. Moisturizing creams can also have a beneficial effect on the treated areas and help to prevent tissue crusting or scabbing. These creams can be bought over the counter or be prescribed by your practitioner. It usually is not necessary to use antibacterial cream. In fact, antibacterial creams might cause drying of the skin in the area that was treated with laser hair removal. Healthy skin is important for successful laser treatments and moisturizing every day will help to keep your skin that way. As long as the skin is not broken, it is safe to apply makeup to the areas of the skin that have undergone laser hair removal treatments. The makeup used should be new and applied with clean fingers or a new clean sponge. Make of also helps to act as an additional sunblock. Following a laser hair removal treatment, it is best to take warm, quick showers. It is best to use a gentle cleanser and avoid harsh soaps that may dry the skin. If any area of the body other than the face as has been treated, hot baths should be avoided for a couple of days. The area of treatment should not be shaved for four or five days. After that time, it is okay to begin shaving again. Tweezing, waxing, plucking, and bleaching should not be done at all during, or in between, laser hair removal treatments. If any blistering occurs, immediately apply a topical antibiotic cream or ointment and cover it with a non-adhering dressing. Immediately notify the laser technician or your physician. After a few days, you will usually notice the hair that was treated by laser hair removal begins to shed. This should be expected and is a normal part of the treatment and recovery. The Costs of Laser Hair Removal Are you considering laser hair removal? Are you aware of what it could cost? It will depend on what area you want treated, the clinic you use and your region. Are you leaning towards a practice that offers only laser hair removal? Or a practice that offers laser hair removal along with other things? Surprisingly this will have an effect on the cost you spend for laser hair removal. You will also play a factor in the cost of laser hair removal. Do you qualify for laser hair removal? Depending on your skin color, you might not qualify. The clinic you use will play a factor in the cost of your laser hair removal as well. The clinic might base their fees on how long the procedure takes or the number of laser pulses used. Some clinics might have packages on the area you want treated. Packages may or may not be for you. Other clinics might base their cost of laser hair removal on the following: * Area being treated * Size of the area * How many sessions your treatment requires * How much hair is being treated The average number of sessions for each patient is three to five. Keep this in mind when getting a consultation. You want to find a highly recommended laser hair removal clinic. They might be a bit pricier but you will get better and more effective results. The more experienced laser hair removal clinics can average around five hundred dollars for each treatment. The average of four treatments is usually recommended by practitioners. Large areas considered for laser hair removal, like your entire legs or back can range higher than five hundred dollars a session. Small areas like your chin might cost less. You can only know by contacting the laser hair removal clinic of your choice. Maybe you know someone that has had laser hair removal done. You could ask them if they can recommend the clinic they used to you. If they do not recommend this place ask them why not and go by what they say in your search. When you visit a laser hair removal clinic ask to meet with the practitioner if possible. If they are busy see if they offer a free consultation. If so, make an appointment to go in and have a chat with the practitioner. Find out all you can about the facility itself as well as the practitioner that would be operating the treatment. You want them to be highly qualified otherwise you could end up with results that are unsatisfying. An unqualified practitioner could even damage your skin by using the wrong laser or technique during your laser hair removal treatment. When it comes to your skin you can never be too careful and you cannot trust just anybody like you would want to do. Ask any and all questions and make sure you are comfortable. You want to go somewhere that doesn't give you bad gut feelings or anything. This will result in a better session. Contraindications of Laser Hair Removal There are people that should not have laser hair removal because of one or more specific reasons. These reasons are called contraindications, which mean, that it is inadvisable to have the treatment or procedure. The treatment could be dangerous or cause permanent side effects. Other contraindications require special treatment or medication before laser hair removal can be started. Women that are pregnant should not have laser hair removal. Although there is not significant information regarding laser usage and pregnancy, many physicians and health care providers recommend avoiding laser treatments because of the unknown effects on the on the unborn child. Anyone that has herpes simplex virus I or II should tell the doctor that is preforming the laser hair removal before treatments have begun. It is necessary to take a prescription antiviral medication for several days both before and after the treatment. If the hair removal is in the area of previous outbreaks, it is possible that the heat from the laser will cause a flare up of the herpes virus. If a herpes outbreak is active, either on the face or genital area, it is important to reschedule the laser hair removal treatment. An appointment should also be rescheduled if there is any cut, broken, irritated or inflamed skin in the area that is to be treated. Rescheduling is also necessary if there is an active infection anywhere within the body. Anyone that has the condition of albinism, which is the absence of any color pigment in the hair or skin, should not have laser hair removal. Laser light is drawn to dark pigmentation so it will not work on anyone with this condition. The same holds true for people with very light blonde, red, grey, or white hair. People that are sunburned or have recently tanned should postpone their treatment until their skin has returned to its normal color which could take several weeks. It is important that skin is its natural color when laser hair removal takes place. Certain oral and topical medications can cause photosensitivity or photoallergic reactions if used before laser hair removal treatments take place. Accutane should be discontinued three months before treatment begins. Tetracycline and Retin A should be discontinued six weeks before the laser hair removal process. Anyone that suffers from certain medical conditions, such as lupus, diabetes, or epilepsy, should not have laser hair removal. Any nervous disorders which are present, need to be evaluated before laser treatment begins. If hirsutism is present, the cause should be diagnosed and treated before any laser treatment is started. If there is a mole in the area to be treated, many people decide to have it removed before treatment. Because of the dark pigmentation of the mole, it may attract to much heat from the laser and cause burning. The same holds true for certain birthmarks and beauty marks. If there is a history of keloid scarring, it is important to know that there is a higher danger of scarring from the treatments. The importance of knowing the contraindications of laser hair removal can protect you from a dangerous experience. Laser Hair Removal Devices There are several different types of laser hair removal devices available today. These are alexandrite lasers, diode lasers, ruby lasers, and NeoDymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnets, which is commonly referred to as Nd:YAGs. Alexandrite lasers became available for use in laser hair removal in 1997 when they were cleared by the FDA. Alexandrite lasers produce light beams in the red spectrum of visible light. Their wavelength is 755 nanometers which is very effective but only safe on light skin. Generally, alexandrite lasers are considered long pulsed and because of this produce greater depth penetration. Five different types of the alexandrite laser are available. These include the Apogee, GentleLase, Epicare, Epitouch Alex, and Ultrawave II-III. The FDA also cleared diode lasers for use in 1997 as an effective method of permanent hair reduction. Diode lasers produce a wavelength of 800 nanometers with pulse widths of 5-400 milliseconds. This type of laser has proved successful in the treatment of ingrown eyelashes and works very well on dark hair. The Light SheerXC is a diode laser that is extremely powerful. Other diode lasers include EpiStar, Apex-800, Iridex, and Mediostar. Ruby lasers were also cleared by the FDA for laser hair removal in 1997, however, they did not prove as effective. Clinical research showed that the laser damage did not extend far enough down into the hair shafts to result in permanent laser hair removal. Originally there were five types of ruby lasers, of which only two are still available for commercial use. A Ruby lasers operate on a shorter wavelength system of only 694 nanometers. NeoDymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnets have a longer wavelength which makes them more effective for longer term, and according to some people, even permanent laser hair removal. There are two types of Nd:YAGs lasers. These are the Q switched and the long pulse. All Nd:YAGs produce a wavelength of 1064 nanometers. The Q, switched NeoDymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnets has a very short pulse of about one nanosecond. Long pulse NeoDymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnets have a pulse of about a millisecond and can be used on all skin types. The pulse duration, or pulse width, of lasers used for hair removal is the timing of the light energy. It is usually measured in milliseconds. Most lasers used for hair removal have a maximum pulse duration in the 20 to 40 millisecond range. Longer pulse widths are generally considered more effective and produce fewer side effects. Each type of laser produces a specific spot size which is measured in millimeters. The spot size is the size, or width, of the beam of light at the laser sends out. A spot size of seven to 10 mm is considered acceptable for laser hair removal. Most lasers have three main parts, an energy source, and active medium, and an optical cavity, also known as a resonator. The energy source is a device that supplies energy to the active medium. Laser hair removal devices use electricity as their energy source. The element of the active medium contains atoms that can both absorb and store the energy. The optical cavity is the part of the laser that contains the active medium. Lasers are defined by the elements they use. A Typical Laser Hair Removal Treatment When the day arrives for you to have your first laser hair removal treatment, it is normal to feel nervous and possibly a bit anxious. This is because it is something you have never done before and you are not sure what to expect. Try to relax and think of this visit as any other doctor visit. If there is a wait once you arrive at the office, try to keep your mind busy so you will not worry about the upcoming procedure. Perhaps a friend could accompany you to your appointment, or, if you are alone, read a book or magazine. Having your payment ready will also help you to relax as it will be one less thing you need to worry about. When it is your turn to enter the treatment room, you will be instructed to remove all necessary clothing and a gown will be provided. If photographs of the area to be treated with laser hair removal were not taken during the consultation, the nurse or assistant will take them now. The area to be treated will be washed to cleanse it of any lotions, cosmetics, perfumes or deodorants. It will then be prepped with alcohol. Depending on the procedure, the area may, or may not, be shaved. Your skin may be cooled before treatment to help reduce any side effects from occurring. You, and everyone else in the room, will be given safety goggles to wear during the procedure. The doctor, or technician, who is doing the laser hair removal procedure will preform a patch test. This will give him a chance to gauge your tolerance of the treatment and also select the correct fluence levels. It will also give you the opportunity to experience how the laser feels and hopefully relieve some of your anxiety. A single pulse will be sent to the test area, which will be near the area to be treated. It will be examined for any sings of damage to the skin such as blistering or separation. When the doctor is ready to start the procedure, he will aim the laser at the hair follicles of the area to be treated. Because the hair follicles have a dark pigmentation, they will absorb the energy from the laser's light. The time that is needed for the procedure will depend on the amount of hair to be removed, the spot size of the beam, and the scanning pattern of the hand piece that the doctor is using. Laser hair removal treatments can take anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes, depending upon the area treated. Many people say that the laser feels like a rubber band being snapped on your skin. Others describe it as more intense than that. If you are feeling discomfort or pain, you will be given a topical anesthesia or cooling remedies. Once the laser hair removal treatment is completed, you will be ready to get dressed and discuss post treatment care. You may experience some temporary side effects such as redness and swelling, which usually disappear within a day or two. Once you have experienced your first laser hair removal treatment you will be much more relaxed if you require additional treatments.
Laser Hair Removal and Female Hirsutism Laser hair removal can be a successful treatment option for women who suffer from hirsutism. Female hirsutism affects between 5 and 10% of all women. The percentage rate is higher for women with polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PC OS. Women of Asian or African ancestry are affected less often than those of European descent. This condition can cause extreme emotional suffering for many women. Female hirsutism is loosely described as increased and excessive hair growth. That growth takes place in areas of the body where there is usually very little, if any, normal hair growth. The hair generally grows in an adult, male, sexual, hair growth pattern. For example, a woman with hirsutism may grow a beard, mustache, chest, or back hair. Many women do have hair in these areas but it is usually pale in color, fine and almost invisible. In a case of a woman with hirsutism, the hair is thick, course and may be colored. Before seeking laser hair removal treatment for hirsutism, it is essential to see your primary care physician first. The cause of the illness must be determined, as it may be the result of a different hormonal, or medical, problem, which has to be treated medically. Bodily hair growth is determined by genetics, hormones, and lifestyle. Often, but not always, hirsutism is caused by the androgenic hormone levels being extremely high. Significant hair growth may be noticed on the chin, upper lip, or sideburn area of a woman with mild hirsutism. It could also grow on the lower abdomen and around the nipples and will be the same color as the hair that grows on the woman's head. For women who suffer from more advanced cases of hirsutism, the excessive hair growth will also be on the upper abdomen, sternum, shoulders, and upper back. In many cases, hirsutism begins with puberty. The amount of hair on a woman's body differs from person to person. What may seem normal to one woman may seem excessive to another. For example, a woman from Sweden with light hair and skin may perceive a dark haired woman from Italy as having a lot of hair. Laser hair removal is a safe and effective way for women with hirsutism to rid themselves of excessive unwanted hair. For facial hair it is a much better method of hair removal then waxing or shaving the skin. One treatment is usually all that is needed for facial hair removal and it is less painful, with much longer lasting results. However, more then one treatment may be needed for removal of excessive unwanted hair on other parts of the body. In today's world, physical appearance is extremely important to many people and how they relate to each another. It can be very stressful and embarrassing for a woman to have an excessive amount of hair growing where it should not grow. Laser hair removal is a safe alternative to other methods of hair removal and a successful treatment option for women suffering from hirsutism. How Laser Hair Removal Works on Different Skin Types and Hair Color The effectiveness of laser hair removal is dependent upon several factors including skin type and hair color. Lesser factors include the condition of the skin, sun exposure, and the cycle of the hair. There are four basic skin types -- Caucasian European, African descent, Eastern Asian, and Middle Eastern / Mediterranean. Each of these four skin types have several things in common, such as the thickness of the dermis and epidermis, the number of hair follicles, and the skin's layered components. However, there are many characteristics of each skin type that are very different. Caucasian Europeans have the most varied skin type of all the groups. This group has light skin with great variation in skin color amongst the people which is determined by heredity. The people from this group are the best candidates for laser hair removal. Generally, they will need fewer treatments and attain the best results. Overall, the effectiveness of laser hair removal on individuals from this group is dependent upon a combination of their hair and skin color. Individuals of African descent, with dark brown skin or poor candidates for laser hair removal. This is because the laser light is absorbed into the skin pigment, causing possible burns, scars, and keloids. The dark skin causes the laser beam to b drawn away from its target area. People in Eastern Asian descent, which includes China, Japan and Korea, generally have the least amount of facial and body hair. They are usually good candidates for laser hair removal because their hair is dark, and they have minimal skin pigmentation. Middle Eastern and Mediterranean people tend to have the most facial and body hair. Their skin color can very from dark white to medium brown. Those people with lighter skin generally make better candidates for laser hair removal. Skin bleaching agents, such as 4% hydroquinone, are sometimes used by people in this group to lighten the skin as much as possible. This is done to make the laser treatment as effective as possible and reduce the risk of burning the skin. This ethnic group has an increased risk of hyperpigmentation. Hair color combines with skin type to further determine the effects of laser hair removal. Black or dark brown hair is usually coarser and contains the most pigmentation. These factors make it the easiest to treat because the laser light is most easily absorbed by the dark pigmentation. Lighter brown hair usually requires more treatments than darker hair. The lighter the hair color, the more difficult laser hair removal becomes. Red and light blonde hair contain phemelianin pigment which makes light absorption very difficult. Grey or white hair does not contain any pigmentation at all, therefor, they cannot absorb light. The Fitzpatrick Skin Phototype Scale and the Lancer Ethnicity Scale are used by professional technicians to determine the effectiveness of laser hair removal based on skin type and hair color. The best combination of skin type and hair color for laser hair removal is light skin with dark hair. These people will have the best results with the least treatments. Areas That Can Be Treated with Laser Hair Removal Just about any area of the body that is covered by hair, either facial or body, can be treated with laser hair removal. These areas include the face, chin, upper lip, neck, arms, underarms, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, legs, pubic area, and buttocks. Laser hair removal is an effective treatment for both men and women. Facial hair in women is one of the most common areas treated by laser hair removal. The two areas that are treated most often are the upper lip and chin. This is because most women find facial hair to be very troublesome and unsightly. Women who choose laser hair removal for facial hair like the ease and speed of treatment, as well as, and the long-lasting results. Hair removal in these areas usually takes anywhere from one to 10 minutes. In women facial hair tends to grow thicker as the woman grows older. The entire face is covered with tiny hairs called vellus hairs, which are almost invisible. As the skin ages, more thicker terminal hairs grow on the woman's face. This is actually the same thing that happens to men's ears. Laser treatment for this type of hair usually takes between ten and fifteen minutes. Many women also choose laser hair removal for eyebrow shaping. This treatment is an excellent way to remove stray and unwanted hairs, especially between the eyebrows. Eyebrow treatment usually takes about fifteen minutes and can result in a slight irritation of the skin around the delicate brow. This irritation generally disappears within a few days and is very similar to a mild sunburn. Often men with very hairy backs choose to have laser hair removal treatments. Many are self-conscious of their back hair when going to the gym or beach. A full back treatment can take anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour depending upon the extensiveness of the hair in that area. Many women choose laser hair removal treatments for the pubic, or bikini area. They are often concerned with shaving bumps, a rash, or a stray pubic hair showing when they wear their bathing suits. It generally takes from four to thirty minutes to complete laser hair removal in this area. The amount of hair that is removed depends on the client's wishes. Some people choose a full Brazilian bikini procedure, which is the removal of all hair in the pubic area. Laser hair removal from the underarm area generally takes about 30 minutes and usually results in permanent hair removal. Some women spend as much an hour a week removing their leg hair by shaving. This method is not only time-consuming, but often results in nicked, bleeding legs. Most often razor stubble can be seen within a few days as the hair regrows. Laser hair removal for legs can consist of the entire leg, half of the leg. It usually takes between 45 and 60 minutes for both legs to receive a full leg treatment. Laser hair removal treatments are safe and effective ways for removing unwanted hair on any part of your body. Although several treatments may be needed, most people that choose this method are very happy with the results. Basic Laser Hair Removal Terminology It is important to understand the basic terminology used in laser hair removal techniques. This gives you a better understanding of what the procedure entails. It also helps to put many people at ease to completely understand the words used in the treatment. Absorption is the uptake of one substance into another. Active medium is the part of the laser that absorbs and stores energy. American bikini wax, is a standard bikini wax in which hair is removed from either side of the panty line at the top of the thigh. Anagen is the growth phase in the hair cycle in which a new hair is synthesized. Brazilian bikini wax, is a bikini wax in which all of the hair is removed in the pubic region, including the hair on the buttocks and labia. Catagen is a transitional stage of a hair's growth cycle, occurring between the growth and resting stages. Chromophore is a group of atoms in a molecule that produces color through selective light absorption. Coherent light are light waves that travel in parallel, and in the same direction. Dermal scattering is the change that occurs between the laser's spot size at the surface of the skin and the spot size deeper in the tissue. Dermis is the underlying or inner layer of the skin. Electrons are stable, negatively charged elementary particles that orbit the nucleus of an atom. Energy source is the device in the laser that supplies energy to the active medium. Epidermis is the thin outermost layer of the skin. Excited states is the conditions of a physical system in which the energy level is higher than the lowest possible level. Fissure is a crack or cut in the skin. French bikini wax, is a bikini wax in which all of the hair is removed from the pubic region except for a stripe of hair on the pubis. Hair follicle bulb is the bulbous base of the hair follicle that houses the dermal papilla. Keloids scars are raised areas of fibrous tissue. Melanin are grains of pigment that give hair and skin its color. Monochromatic light is of one wavelength, and therefore appears as one color. Nanometers are each one billionth of a meter. Optical cavity is a part of the laser that contains the active medium. Polychromatic light consists of light of multiple wavelengths, appearing as different colors. Pulse duration is the duration of an individual pulse of laser light, which is usually measured in milli-seconds. Selective photothermolysis is the selective targeting of an area using a specific wavelength to absorb light into that target area sufficient to damage the tissue of the target while allowing the surrounding area to remain relatively untouched. Spontaneous emission is the process or an excited atom, after holding extra energy for a fraction of a second, releases its energy as another photon then falls back to its grounded state. Spot size is the width of a laser beam. Terminal hair is hair found on the scalp arms legs Alexa lay in pubic areas. Vellus hair is generally fine, non-pigmented hair found on the face that is often called peach fuzz. Wavelength is the distance between two consecutive peaks or troughs in a wave. The Cons of Laser Hair Removal While the idea of laser hair removal may sound rather spectacular, you really can't assume it will be. Yes, it will remove a high percentage of hair but there are things it might do that are not so great. Laser hair removal is not guaranteed by any means. You will not go into a clinic being guaranteed anything. Some patients will require more sessions than others. This may not sound too bad to some. If money is not an issue you will have less to worry about concerning laser hair removal. Even if money actually is an issue, it will all depend on how bad you really want it done. Laser hair removal is in fact not for everyone. If you have light skin and dark hair you are a great candidate for laser hair removal. Blonde and red hair is very difficult to treat. It is better for the hair to be darker than the skin. Dark skin is at a risk of being damaged with laser hair removal. Laser hair removal is safe but not by any means painless. Since the laser uses heat to destroy the hair, you can bet you will feel some sort of pain. The heat can reach a pretty high temperature. If you are concerned with this, talk with your practitioner. The definition of the pain will vary from each individual. One patient might say they felt a sting and another might say it was more of a snap. For some it might be a slight pain and for others a major pain. You will feel something either way. Some clinics offer numbing cream if you choose to use it. Laser hair removal is not known to permanently remove the hair. It simply reduces the hair growth. The hair will grow back at some point, sooner or later. It will be lighter and slower when it does re-grow. There is a chance that after laser hair removal you could experience redness and small bumps. It really will depend on your skin type. You have to avoid direct sunlight for up to two weeks after laser hair removal. It is recommended you do nothing causing you to sweat because that could irritate your skin. Do not pluck or wax after laser hair removal either. This may be the toughest for some people. You might have a skin pigmentation discoloration after laser hair removal. This could mean it will be lighter or darker. This isn't as common an experience but still a possibility. Consult your physician if this happens. Here are more side effects that are not too common but possible: * Blistering * Peeling * Pussing * Scarring * Stinging * Inflammation * Infected hair follicles If you experience any of these side effects after laser hair removal you should consult your physician immediately. You will also experience shedding after laser hair removal. Yes, shedding. The laser damaged the root of the follicle, not the actual hair. Therefore, the hair follicles will be falling out. This could last anywhere from two to three weeks. The cost of laser hair removal can be pricey. It will depend on what you are having treated and how many sessions it will require. If you are worried about the cost, consult your practitioner performing the treatment. He might be able to give you some insight. Talk with them and ask any questions you might have. Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal Laser hair removal is considered a medical treatment, and just like all other medical treatments, it carries the risk of possible side effects. The chance of developing one or more of the existing side effects partially depend on your skin characteristics. The side effects of laser hair removal can be temporary or permanent. The possibility of developing a temporary side effect is much higher than developing a permanent one after laser hair removal. A temporary side effect can last anywhere from a day to several months before it goes away completely. The temporary side effects that can be experienced after laser hair removals include pain, blistering, swelling, redness, irritation, and hyperpigmentation. Some people describe the discomfort they feel during and after their laser hair removal treatment as a feeling of pain. This feeling exists, both during the procedure, and after it is finished. During the treatment process, the feeling of discomfort can be lessened by the use of a local anesthetic. For the days following the procedure, the pain can be alleviated through the use of over-the-counter or prescribed pain medication. Swelling typically occurs at, or near, the area that was treated for hair removal. Topical treatments, such as creams or ointments, generally relieve the swelling. This side effect may or may not be particularly bothersome, depending upon the area that was treated with laser hair removal. If redness develops as a side effect of laser hair removal, it can be treated with a topical cream or ointment. This side effect usually resembles a mild sunburn. Blistering can be a very painful, embarrassing, and noticeable side effect of laser treatment. Some people do not feel comfortable being seen if they have blisters. If you are one of these people, it is best to schedule your laser hair removal treatments at a time when it will minimize your exposure to other people. A temporary darkening of the skin of the treated area is called hyperpigmentation. Generally, this temporary side affect of laser hair removal will disappear on its own. Often, the area affected by hyperpigmentation can be covered with makeup. In addition to the temporary side effects, there is also the possibility of permanent or long-term skin damage. If you've made the decision to have laser hair removal, you must be prepared to accept these risks. Permanent side effects include skin discoloration, scarring, and burns. If skin discoloration does occur, it is generally a permanent lightning of the skin in the area that was treated. The wavelengths of the laser beam are made to attack the dark pigmentation in the hair follicle. Sometimes dark colored skin can also be affected. This side effect can be emotionally damaging, although it is not painful. Scarring, mostly occurs by experiencing accidental over treatment or by being treated by someone with minimal training. It is very important to make sure that your laser hair removal treatments are being done by a qualified, experienced professional technician. Burns are a very rare occurrence, and they usually are caused by an inexperienced, less qualified technician. The risks and side effects associated with laser hair removal can be minimized by making sure that the treatments are done by a qualified professional. It is also important to tell your practitioner of any hormonal or family conditions that may affect your treatment. Tanning and unprotected exposure to the sun should be avoided for several weeks before treatment. Common Questions about Laser Hair Removal Are you looking into laser hair removal? Are you unsure of just what all is involved? If so, you found the right article. This article will answer some of the common questions involving laser hair removal. What Is Laser Hair Removal? Laser hair removal is the process of using a laser to help reduce hair growth. How Does It Work? The laser produces a high amount of heat and when directed at the hair, finds the hair follicle and damages the root. This helps prevent the hair growing back. Who Qualifies for Laser Hair Removal? Unfortunately laser hair removal is not for everyone. It is better for people with dark hair and light skin. If your skin is darker you will want to discuss laser hair removal with your practitioner. Laser hair removal will not work on blonde, red, white or grey hair. People that tan will have to let their tan fade before doing laser hair removal. Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent? Laser hair removal will only reduce the hair growth. Each patient will have a different laser hair removal experience. What Is The Cost of Laser Hair Removal? The cost of laser hair removal will vary depending on the clinic, your area and region. Contact a laser hair remover facility of your choice to find out more. Are There Any Side Effects to Laser Hair Removal? Unfortunately yes. Just like any other technique such as laser hair removal. A person could experience many different things such as: * Temporary Rash * Skin Discoloration * Blistering * Scarring * Crusting * Scabbing * Skin texture change What Parts of the Body Can Be Used for Laser Hair Removal? There are actually quite a few areas you can do. Here are some of the many choices: Face, Neck, Chin, Toes, Feet, Upper Lip, Bikini Line, Fingers, Between the Brow, Arms, Legs, Chest, Stomach, Ears, Hairline What Kind of Results Can You Expect With Laser Hair Removal? You can expect to see around fifty to eighty percent of hair reduction growth. It will depend on each individual having the treatment done. Some might experience better results than other with laser hair removal. Before and After Laser Hair Removal Before you can do this procedure there are things you should know. If you are tanning you must let your tan fade first before using laser hair removal. You also do not want to pluck, wax, sugar or tweeze before your treatment. This will leave no hair left to be treated! Do not moisturize before your treatment. This means you cannot use any body lotions, moisturizers, perfumes or sunscreen. After your laser hair removal treatment you do not want to mess with your treated skin. Do not pick at it, etc. You also do not want to interfere with the treatments effectiveness by plucking or waxing. Try to avoid any direct sun exposure to your skin. When your treatments are complete use sunscreen and avoid tanning beds. Try not to do anything that will cause you to sweat. This could cause irritation to the treated skin. Talk with your practitioner after your treatment to discuss any further details or instructions. What Areas Can You Use Laser Hair Removal On? Laser hair removal can be used on many areas of the body. Some will be assumed and some might actually surprise you. Below you will find out about the areas that can be treated. Face Hair Women with facial hair can be embarrassed easily. Tweezing, bleaching and plucking have all been done but only to repeat the process over and over. If you have unwanted facial hair you should consider laser hair removal. It will cost less being a smaller area you want treated and you will no longer have to fret over the hair. Men are supposed to have facial hair but that doesn't necessarily mean they want it! Men get tired of shaving just like we do our legs. Some men grow more hair than others and have to shave daily. This can become a nuisance to some. If you are tired of shaving your face everyday consider laser hair removal. Back Hair Back hair can be common for both men and women. More men have a problem with back hair and should look into laser hair removal. Are you tired of shaving or waxing your back all the time? With laser hair removal you can cut out shaving and waxing altogether. Laser hair removal for back hair is very beneficial to athletes. Leg Hair Are you tired of constantly shaving your legs? Many women are! With laser hair removal you can have the clean shaven look everyday without ever picking up a razor! Just imagine how much time you will save in the shower, tub or just getting ready for a night out. You won't have to worry about those razor bumps or any irritation the razor can cause. This procedure could take a little longer than other areas since it is a larger area. Just think about the benefits of using laser hair removal, the amount of time it will takes will not matter! Chest Hair Chest hair can be a bothersome to some men even some women. Many men will wax their chest hair because it is too thick or bothersome. Laser hair removal is the perfect solution if you want to reduce your chest hair growth. It will give you a sleeker clean cut look. Laser hair removal used for chest hair is also beneficial to athletes. Bikini Line Are you tired of constantly shaving or waxing your bikini line? This can be very frustrating for some women, especially models who have to keep it looking spotless from hair. Not to mention the unwanted extra hairs that can grow along with the normal ones. Laser hair removal is perfect for reducing the time the bikini line hair grows, leaving less hair to treat if any! Great for anyone spending lots of time in a swimsuit or that just wants to keep this area neat. A few areas you may not have known could be treated with laser hair removal: * Fingers * Toes * Pubic Area * Breasts * Feet * Hands * Ears Depending on what are you want to have treated with laser hair removal, consult your practitioner. They will be able to advise you on what would be best for the area you want treated. The Types of Lasers Used for Laser Hair Removal You may not have known but there are four different types of lasers used for hair removal. Some clinics offer non laser hair removal. Remember to check out your options before making a decision. Ruby Laser: This laser used for hair removal has a very powerful pulse. It is also known as being the recommended laser for people with lighter skin. If set on a lower setting it can be used on darker skin. This is one of the oldest lasers used for hair removal. The fact that this laser can only treat smaller areas has made it less requested. Alexandrite Laser: This laser used for hair removal is versatile. The range can be customized as well as the size of the area. It will depend on the coarseness of the hair being removed. This hair removal laser is very effective and fast. Even more so with larger areas of hair on the body. This laser is the fastest one used for hair removal. You can request this laser or use it with confidence that it will give you great results. The ND Yag Laser: This laser used to remove hair is known to be one of the greatest lasers. It treats darker or tanned skin and coarser hair the best. This laser has a long pulse unlike the ruby laser that has a very fast pulse. The downside to the long pulse is you might feel more discomfort during your session. The Diode Laser: This laser used for hair removal is versatile also. It has a design that is wavelike and treats a range of different skin types. This laser is used more for people with darker skin. It gives better results on darker skin rather than lighter skin. This laser will cover the larger areas of the body and has a faster treatment time. These hair removal lasers have their own certain areas they treat best. This should be of less concern to you and more to your practitioner. Find a practitioner you can trust to choose the best option for your specific need. Some clinics will offer a non-laser hair removal procedure. If this interests you as well, discuss this with your practitioner. You want to be sure you know your options before having a laser hair removal procedure. What if it really isn't for you and you do not take the time to realize that? How many people have a procedure done only to later turn around and say they wish they wouldn't have? Not very many, but you do not want to be one of the few. Everyone should get all the information that they can on a procedure such as laser hair removal. Knowing what kind of lasers they use and their benefits will help make you at ease during your treatment. Knowing about the equipment and process of a procedure can be very calming to some patients. You will have a better idea of what to expect during your laser hair removal process as well. Is it going to hurt? It might actually depend on the laser used. You will not know until you talk with your practitioner. Make sure they are highly qualified as well. This will also help with achieving the best laser hair removal results. How Lasers Work in Laser Hair Removal Laser hair removal works by the process of selective targeting of a specific area of the body and using a specific wavelength to absorb light into that area. It does not work on a hair by hair basis, instead it focuses a wide beam of light that treats many hairs at one time. The wavelength of light absorbed has to be sufficient enough to damage the targeted tissue area while leaving the surrounding area basically untouched. The principle behind this process is called selective photothermolysis. Lasers are intense beams of monochromatic and coherent light. These light beams are produced by laser devices that contain either minerals or gases. The four main types of lasers are solid state, semiconductor, gas and dye. An electric current stimulates the gas or mineral properties which excites the atoms. The atoms then emit narrow, cohesive, parallel light beams which are all the same wavelength. The light beams are focused just for a fraction of a second on the dark hair pigment at the matrix of the dermal papilla, which is the small, cone shaped indentation at the base of the hair follicle that the hair bulb fits into. The light beam is absorbed and heats the pigment which vaporizes the dermal papilla. The more intense the light beam the hotter it makes the pigment. This results in the dermal papilla being severely damaged or destroyed. Most people believe that laser hair removal works best on hair that is in its anagen phase. This means that the hair is actively growing and is attached to the dermal papilla. The theory behind this belief is that if the dark pigment in the hair shaft extends all the way down to the dermal papilla, it will be destroyed and vaporized by the coherent light beam that is focused upon the area. This happens because the light beam will follow the dark pigment all the way down to the derma papilla. Visible light has wavelengths that range from 390 to 770 nm, or nanometers. Lasers operating in this range allows for successful laser hair removal without causing any damage to the dermal tissue. Lasers with a light source that operates between 700 to 1000 nm targets melanin in the hair shaft effectively. For example, the wavelength of an alexandrite laser is 755 nm, which is red in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum, making its target melanin. The stronger, or greater, the wavelength, the deeper it penetrates target selectively absorbing the wavelength. Laser hair removal uses several varying wavelengths of laser energy. These wavelengths range from near infrared radiation to visible light. The three most commonly used lasers for hair removal are Alexandrite, Pulsed diode array, and NeoDymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnets, Also know as Nd:YAGs. The wavelengths of these lasers are 755nm, 810nm, and 1064nm respectively. Laser hair removal utilizes a complex system of science and physics which are precisely balanced to work effectively and safely on the human body. As technology continues to advance in laser hair removal, this process continues to grow in popularity. The History of Laser Hair Removal The lasers used for laser hair removal developed from a theory instituted by the Nobel prize-winning physicists Albert Einstein and Max Planck. This theory, first introduced in the 1920s, defined stimulated emission, or laser. The word laser is an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. However, it wasn't until the 1960s that the first true laser was built and patented by Gordon Gould, an American physicist. Laser hair removal devices of the 1960s sent out a continuous wavelength which caused damage to the surrounding skin tissue. In the late 1960s, Dr. Leon Goldman was the first to begin testing a ruby laser for hair removal. It was also in this time frame that the Q switch with developed for use with a laser. With the development of the Q switch it was possible to control the energy of the laser beam to be sent to out in controlled pulses. The Q switch worked much in the same way as a camera shutter. Early devices for laser hair removal proved to be ineffective. In order to remove the hair follicle, there was severe damage to the surrounding skin area. The ruby laser, as well as the argon laser, are no longer used for laser hair removal. Throughout the next several decades, researchers and physicists continued to experiment and test lasers for successful hair removal. It wasn't until the 1980s that the first laser was introduced as a safe and effective method of hair removal. This discovery actually happened by chance when scientists noted that birthmarks treated with certain types of lasers caused the hair in that area to disappear and not grow back. The FDA cleared the first laser for hair removal in 1995 . This laser, called the Soft Light, was a NeoDymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnets laser and was manufactured by Thermolaise. This laser was used with a chromophore of carbon-based lotion. After the skin was waxed, the carbon-based lotion would be rubbed onto the skin and enter the hair follicle. The beam of light produced by the laser would heat the carbon quickly and destroy the hair follicle. However, this type of laser treatment could easily damage nearby skin cells. Eventually, this type of laser hair removal proved to be less effective than targeting the natural pigmentation that existed in the skin. In 1997, several types of laser hair removal devices were cleared by the F DA. One of these was the ruby laser, which used a shorter wavelength system. However, clinical research eventually showed that the laser did not produce damage far enough down the hair shaft to result in permanent hair loss. Researchers also found that if the ruby laser was used on people with dark or tan skin there was a high risk of hyperpigmentation. Other types of laser hair removal devices today include alexandrite, diode, and NeoDymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnets lasers. Research and development in the area of laser hair removal are still in the early stages. However, continuing research, testing and development in this area continues to produce safer and more effective equipment. The Cost of Laser Hair Removal The cost of laser hair removal depends on several factors including the area to be treated, the amount of hair growth on the area, the number of treatments needed, the type of laser used, the individual physician or practitioner, and your geographic location. Laser hair removal can be quite expensive, but many people feel that the results are well worth the expense. This is because results of the treatment have a long-lasting effect. It also produces a reduced hair growth. Because every individual is different and is going to require laser hair removal treatments specifically geared to their unique hair patterns, the price ranges included in this article are average costs. If you are considering laser hair removal, it is important to set up an appointment with your physician to discuss all of the aspects of the procedure, including the costs. Because laser hair removal is usually considered a cosmetic procedure, it is not covered by insurance. Each laser treatment is separate and usually incurs a separate charge, unless a specified treatment package has been purchased. Generally the most expensive areas to treat with laser hair removal is the complete face and neck, back, and legs. The average cost of one treatment for complete face and neck or back hair removal ranges from $600 and $900. Laser hair removal for upper and lower legs each cost from $600 to $850 for each treatment. Laser hair removal for chest hair costs between $350 and $600 per treatment. This is also the approximate price range for each treatment of the arms. Treatments for the bikini area can range from $350 to $550. The cost of underarm hair removal generally is between $250 and $350 per treatment. Treatments for smaller areas, such as the chin or upper lip, cost between $100 and $175 per treatment. The national average for the cost of a laser hair removal treatment is $429. Each region of the country has a different average cost per treatment. In the Eastern part of the United States, the cost per session is $425, compared to the Midwest, where it is $450. In the Western region of the country, the average cost per treatment is $420, slightly above that of the South, which is $400. Fees vary even within each individual region. One of the factors that causes this to occur is the location of the physician's, or practitioner's office. The fees that are charged for an office in an urban area are going to be different from those charged for offices located in rural or suburban areas. Another determining factor for the variance in fees within the same region is whether or not the doctor owns or rents the laser equipment. Another determining factor is the choice of place to have the laser hair removal treatments. A luxury spa will obviously charge a higher fee then a clinic. A doctor who does the procedure himself may charge more then a laser practitioner, or a physician that oversees the laser hair removal treatments provided by a qualified technician.
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