Discovered by accident, laser hair removal has become a standard in the hair removal industry. While some patients or medical professionals may still prefer waxing and tweezing to get rid of unwanted hair, many patients, cosmetic technicians and medical professionals have accepted this procedure as the standard for removing unwanted hair.

The technology behind this treatment was discovered when a scientist mistakenly exposed his arm to a specific YAG laser for several seconds. Noticing that the hair was gone and never grew back, and that his skin was not harmed, a new hair removal procedure was born.

Over the years, the treatment has been refined to minimize side effects and improve results.

As laser energy is changed to heat, the hair follicle is disabled, but the surrounding area remains unaffected. There may be several types of lasers used in laser hair removal, and patients should discuss the different types and their benefits with a medical professional prior to undergoing treatment.

This often helps to ensure that patients receive the best possible treatment. The lasers used include the Alexandrite, Ruby, Diode and ND and LP ND YAG lasers.

The laser technician may alter the pulse length, fluence (energy levels may vary per skin type), delay (the time between light pulses), spot size (speed and penetration of the laser) and cooling technique (the technician may use gel, spray or a cooled tip that is pressed against the skin).

Discussing these factors will often lead to a more comfortable treatment and often a more successful one. When the procedure is performed properly by a properly trained technician, the treatment is considered very safe, noninvasive and many patients consider it pain free.

Patients with light skin and dark hair may receive the best results, while the procedure may not be as effective for darker skinned patients or patients with gray, blonde or red hair. Laser hair removal is considered effective for treating large areas, as opposed to other methods that may be much more time consuming.

This treatment requires the use of eye protection during the procedure and patients may experience certain risks if the technician is not properly trained or does not perform the procedure properly. These may include burns, lesions or skin discoloration. Some patients may find the treatment painful as well. Speaking to a medical professional is the best way to better understand these risks and work towards avoiding them.

By: Justin DiMateo