Contrary to the positive image created when people have rich and healthy hair on their scalp, hair on almost all other parts of the body and face are considered a negative natural characteristic.
For many decades various methods for the management of unwanted hair have been tried and tested. Now it is evident that most of these methods (shaving, waxing, tweezing, using hair removal creams and devices, threading, etc.) offer only temporary results, while being time consuming, painful and, eventually, cumulatively expensive because of the frequent and extensive repetition. Moreover, these methods often result in injuries, burns, folliculitis, and contamination.
During the ’90s a novel and the most significant treatment for permanent hair removal appeared:
Laser hair removal was approved in 1997 by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Laser hair removal is based on the theory of selective photothermolysis, i.e. the selective removal of the respective target(s) while leaving intact both normal epidermis and dermis. In the field of dermatology, before the use selective photothermolysis for hair removal, it was applied with great success for the removal of vascular lesions, hyperpigmentation, tattoos and wrinkles.
As far as unwanted hair removal is concerned, Laser beam exerts its action on the hair follicle, inducing progressively and selectively the destruction of cells that produce hair. Through this process hair progressively become weaker, until finally hair growth is completely inhibited. The effects of advanced Lasers are combined so as to ensure optimum result independently of the hair type and skin type.Find out how laser works
The first laser device was developed in the year 1960. The acronym LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
Laser light has three unique properties:
It is monochromatic
This means that laser light is of one wavelength in contrast to ordinary light, which is a combination of many different wavelengths (colours).
It is coherent
This means that the wavelengths emitted from laser move in unison, thus reinforcing each other.
It is directional
This means that laser light is emitted towards one specific direction, contrary to ordinary light, which is emitted in many directions away from the source. As a result, light emitted from lasers is extremely powerful.
Laser works based on the theory of selective photothermolysis, i.e. the selective elimination of the target (which in this case is the hair root) without causing significant injury to the surrounding normal tissue.
This can be achieved through the selective absorption of laser energy from the respective chromophores - target (melanin, the pigment of hair), which works as a vehicle so that energy can reach its final target.
The light energy of lasers targets the root of the hair (bulb), which is located at the base of the hair follicle.
As soon as laser energy is absorbed by melanin, light is converted to heat, increasing its temperature and leading to the destruction of the target.
If hair is in its vulnerable growth phase (anagen phase), i.e. when there is more melanin in its shaft, laser causes overheating of the hair follicle and destruction of the hair bulb.
If successful destruction of both the hair follicle and the bulb is achieved, then its re-growth is inhibited.
The only thing that these two therapies
have in common is the use of light energy
to destroy the hair root. Nothing else.
If you have searched thought the available options for permanent hair reduction, it is very likely that you have come across two options for hair removal, Laser and IPL, and you’ve probably asked yourself what is the difference between them.
IPL causes overall destruction of the tissue and destruction of hair root, while Laser causes selective destruction of the hair root only.
IPL is not Laser. IPL is a device that creates ordinary light, which means that it cannot focus on a narrow beam. As a result, its action is not very powerful and, therefore, it is not as effective for the management of unwanted hair.
Most of the energy is absorbed by smaller and more superficial targets, such as the pigment and skin vessels. In order to be able to heat targets lying at deeper layers of the skin and dermis, higher energy levels are required, thus increasing the risk of burns and other side effects, such as hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, development of blisters and, in rare cases, scarring.
Laser is applied with much greater precision and it is extremely safe, as it has the ability to selectively reach its target, leaving intact the surrounding tissue.
Anagen (growth phase)
Anagen phase is the period during which hair follicles are active producing new hair.
Catagen (resting phase)
During the catagen phase hair growth rate slows down significantly.
Telogen (shedding phase)
Hair growth stops completely during the telogen phase and the hair falls.
A phase of hair growth may last from a few weeks (like for example in the areas of the upper lip and the eyebrows) to a few years (like for example on the scalp).
In general, as far as hair on the face and body are concerned, the growth phase usually lasts only a few weeks or months and the rate is slower, which is probably the reason why the hair on our legs never grow as long as the hair of our scalp.
Nevertheless, at any time, approximately 80-85% of our hair is in the anagen phase, while only 10-15% is in the catagen phase and the rest 1-3% is in the telogen phase.
The ideal time for permanent hair removal and destruction of the hair follicles is during the anagen phase, as the amount of melanin within the hair follicles is greater and therefore laser energy is better absorbed.
Although after Laser application all hair will fall, only those being in the growth phase will be permanently destroyed. The rest will re-grow after a period of time, which is why repetitive sessions are necessary, until Laser removes all hair while being in the anagen phase.