Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light (laser) to remove unwanted hair.
During laser hair removal, a laser emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair. The light energy is converted to heat, which damages the tube-shaped sacs within the skin (hair follicles) that produce hairs. This damage inhibits or delays future hair growth.
Although laser hair removal effectively delays hair growth for long periods, it usually doesn't result in permanent hair removal. Multiple laser hair removal treatments are needed for initial hair removal, and maintenance treatments might be needed as well. Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair.
Laser hair removal is used to reduce unwanted hair. Common treatment locations include legs, armpits, upper lip, chin and the bikini line. However, it's possible to treat unwanted hair in nearly any area, except the eyelid or surrounding area.
Hair color and skin type influence the success of laser hair removal. The basic principle is that the pigment of the hair, but not the pigment of the skin, should absorb the light. The laser should damage only the hair follicle while avoiding damage to the skin. Therefore, a contrast between hair and skin color — dark hair and light skin — results in the best outcomes.
The risk of damage to skin is greater when there is little contrast between hair and skin color, but advances in laser technology have made laser hair removal an option for people who have darker skin. Laser hair removal is less effective for hair colors that don't absorb light well: gray, red, blond and white. However, laser treatment options for light-colored hair continue to be developed
Laser hair removal is similar to IPL, however laser treatments use a single wavelength to target the hair follicles, rather than broad-spectrum light which can be less precise. The wavelength focuses on maximizing the heat absorption of the hair follicles during the treatment to prevent regrowth, whereas broad-spectrum light used in IPL targets larger patches of hair at multiple wavelengths. You can have laser hair removal performed by a professional at a salon or you can do it yourself at home. Although highly effective and easy to do, laser treatments, and IPL, can cause burning and irritation if performed incorrectly.
IPL treatments reduce hair growth by using broad-spectrum light to target the hair follicles. You can get professional IPL treatments at a salon or do it yourself at home with a handheld IPL device. This hair removal method works best on dark hair and can result in permanent hair removal in as little as four to 12 treatments with continued, regular use.