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Keep up to date with the latest research in skin care science and techniques.

15 Feb 2024 | CAPS Clinic

The Science of Laser Hair Removal

Laser technology has come a long way over the last decade. As the years have gone by research has brought upon the development of new laser devices to the market and laser hair removal has become the norm today. As these treatments have become more available and affordable many of us reach for the hair free option of laser hair removal.

In this blog we will be discussing the science of how laser hair removal works, about the different types of lasers and debunking some myths so you can be informed when you go to choose this path of hair removal. After all, we all want longevity from our hair removal treatments and not waste our money right!

Lasers used for laser hair removal include IPL, alexandrite, diode and Nd:YAG lasers. These devices are chosen based upon the patient’s skin colour, the hair density and coarseness. When selecting a laser device as a clinic owner you want to be able to treat a realm of skin colours and hair types with the best safety profile possible.

To make the laser science aspect easier for you to understand as a patient, I explain that lasers basically penetrate to different depths in the skin and are attracted to different chromophores being blood, melanin (pigment) or water. Depending on what we are treating and where it lays in the skin will determine the wavelength (depth) and type of laser that you use.

For laser hair removal, the laser energy is attracted to the pigment in the hair which creates a thermal reaction heating the hair to the end of the hair bulb and destroys the stem cells in the lower portion of the follicle where the hair is connected to the blood supply. With the correct technique and settings laser hair removal should only selectively target the hair in the hair follicle whilst sparing the surrounding skin. Laser hair removal does not work on blonde, grey, white or strawberry blonde hairs.

Hairs on our body grow in three stages, these stages are named anagen, catagen and telogen. The anagen phase is the phase of hair growth that laser hair removal can cause complete destruction of the stem cells eventuating in the hair falling out and not re-growing post treatment. The hairs in the other growth cycles will get their turn in the anagen stage in future visits and this is why destruction of all hair follicles in one treatment does not happen, and multiple treatments are required for long term results.

In saying this, there are underlying drivers to why hair may grow back. These can be hormonal imbalances, medications, acquired hair growth and other underlying health conditions.

So, if you have hair on your body that you are wanting treated and its brown to black in colour, no matter your skin colour we can help.

If you are interested in these treatments and would like further information, see our website or contact our reception team on (02) 6282 1155.

Brooke Worthy
Dermal Clinician
BHSc (Dermal Sciences)

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