Laser Hair Removal

There are several different approaches to hair removal but to treat unwanted hair growth it is important to understand a little bit about normal hair growth.

Generally speaking the hair on the body goes through cycles of active hair growth and periods of rest when no significant growth occurs. The active growth phase is termed anagen. This is followed by a brief transition phase known as catagen in which the hair changes from active growth to a non-growing period known as the telogen phase. These phases are not the same on all areas of the body. For example the telogen, or resting phase tends to be longer in the eyebrows, eyelashes and axillary hair while telogen tends to be relatively short in the scalp and beard areas. This information is important because in order to have permanent hair removal the hair needs to be treated in the anagen or active growth phase.

Permanent hair removal/reduction can be done by the use of lasers. This involve trying to destroy the hair bulb or root of the hair during the active growing phase. This is done by heating the hair follicle/bulb sufficiently enough to result in destruction of the growing cells. Since not all hair grows in the same cycle at the same time and since only treatments to actively growing hair can create permanent reduction in hair counts, patients require multiple treatments separated by weeks to increase the likelihood of success. The number of treatments needed varies based on several variables including hair color, hair density, age and hormones. Afterwards, most patients are free of the unwanted hair for several months. When the hair regrows, most patients see noticeably less hair than before. The hair also tends to be finer and lighter in color.

Laser hair removal can be repeated when the hair regrows.

What dermatologists treat: The lasers designed for hair removal can be used on most parts of the body. Many lasers effectively treat large areas. Laser hair removal can treat the:

  • Back
  • Bikini area
  • Chest
  • Face, especially the upper lip and chin
  • Neck
  • Shoulders

Adapted from original source: AOCD & AAD

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