Many people experience great results from laser hair removal. First practiced in 1961, laser is now one of the most common cosmetic procedures in the United States. It is FDA approved with none or mild side effects. In this article, we will briefly discuss laser hair treatments in general and outline the three primary laser options, which are Alexandrite, Diode, and Yag.
Did you know that laser is actually an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”? The process of laser hair removal works due to a wavelength of strong energy light being emitted into hair follicles. The pigment in the follicles to absorbs the light, which causes the hairs to be destroyed. Laser causes hair to fall out and prevents additional growth. The feeling of laser hair removal is often compared to the snapping of a rubber band onto the skin. Laser can be applied most anywhere on the body, commonly done on the underarms, face, neck, back, chest, bikini line and legs, but can really be used anywhere. Generally, people who benefit most from laser treatments are light skinned with dark hair.
The first method, Alexandrite, uses an alexandrite crystal as the laser source. This laser creates a short wavelength of light in the infrared spectrum – 755 nm, which means it is a red light laser. This method is often considered the gold standard of lasers.
The alexandrite works by emitting strong light energy, converting it to heat energy. The process is known as photothermolysis (using light to heat for destruction). These lasers are extremely thorough and they work pretty fast. They damage hairs on a very specific area on the body and leave surrounding tissue unaffected.
The Alexandrite laser treats more than just unwanted hair. It actually addresses a variety of skin issues, such as spider veins and vascular birthmarks. It even aids in tattoo removal. Only people with very white to olive colored complexions should use this method. It can cause some pain and is suited for large areas.
The next method is the Diode laser and is one of the newest forms. It is known as an infrared light. This is an 800 or 810 nm wavelength laser, slightly longer than the Alexandrite. This shorter wavelength allows the light to penetrate deeper into the skin’s epidermis. This process is actually more safe than the Alexandrite because it helps prevent melanin pigment formation.
People with either light or darker skin colors find success with Diode and it serves best as a short-term treatment. It is somewhat painful and is suited for smaller areas.
The final method is the Yag. It is a 1064 nm wavelength laser. It works fairly fast. The yag can treat all skin colors, but works best on the darkest skin. It can even treat tanned skin. This is ideal for short-term treatment. Yag is fairly painful in comparison to the others and is suited for large areas.
When it comes to choosing between laser or electrolysis, it is important to note that laser may work faster, but it is not a permanent method. Electrolysis is the only permanent method of hair removal approved by the FDA. Laser may give you temporary results or work long term depending on your skin type and treatment schedule. Electrolysis treats a single hair follicle at a time and lasers treat tons of hairs per laser pulse. Anyone can use electrolysis regardless of skin color or hair type, while laser typically works best on lighter skin.
Sometimes it is a good option to do several laser treatments before beginning electrolysis. For example, if you are looking to have the hair on the back of your neck removed, having the area treated with a laser first for three to four sessions will speed up the process of electrolysis and can be more effective. This is something that can be discusses on a case by case basis, and factors such as which part of the body and client’s genetics will be taken into consideration.
If you are looking for the right hair removal method, we understand it can be a struggle to find the best option. At Limoges Beauty NYC, we offer free consultations to listen to your personal situation, your concerns and goals. We can help guide you in the right direction and treat your unwanted hair with either laser or electrolysis methods. Please contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment!