Capitol Vein Blog

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Is Laser Hair Removal Good For All Skin Colors?


We talked about laser hair removal (LHR) in a previous blog and how it is affected by hair color. The pigment in one’s skin is another important factor in LHR treatments. The reason is that the melanin pigment, which lives in our epidermis, is designed to absorb light, whether from the sun or from lasers. We are aiming at the hair follicle that resides deep in the skin, below the epidermis. The laser, however, has to go through the epidermis to get to our target and, if there is melanin pigment in the epidermis, it will absorb the laser light and potentially cause injury. The lighter the surface of the skin, the less chance there is for the laser to hurt the skin.

To protect the skin, some form of cooling is extremely important during LHR. This can be a cooling spray attached to the laser or a chilled laser tip. Using the appropriate laser and appropriate settings is also extremely important to avoid injury. There are specific lasers for darker skin types with longer wavelengths that decrease melanin absorption. Some lasers have settings that allow the practitioner to adjust for darker skin. Avoiding tanning before a treatment is always recommended. All of these considerations will make for a safe, effective treatment.

Another frequently asked question is “Why does it take multiple treatments?” We’ll answer this question in the next blog.

4 comments :

Laser Hair Removal said...

I saw a video where they sent a burst spray of some sort of cooling agent at the exact moment the laser hit. It was suppose to be very good at cooling the skin to prevent possible burns etc. It was very neat.

sara anderson said...
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Edmund_10 said...

Hi, laser hair removal was performed experimentally for about 20 years before it became commercially available in the mid 1990s. One of the first published articles describing laser hair removal was authored by the group at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1998. The efficacy of laser hair removal is now generally accepted in the dermatology community,and laser hair removal is widely practiced in clinics, and even in homes using devices designed and priced for consumer self-treatment. Many reviews of laser hair removal methods, safety, and efficacy have been published in the dermatology literature. In some countries and US states, hair removal is an unregulated procedure that anyone can do. In some places, only doctors and doctor-supervised nurse practitioners can do it while in other cases permission extends to licensed professionals, such as regular nurses, physician assistants, estheticians, and/or cosmetologists. Electrolysis is another hair removal method that has been used for over 135 years. The Florida Board of Medicine has determined that the use of lasers, laser-like devices and intense pulsed light devices is considered the practice of medicine, and requires they be used only by a Physician, an Osteopathic Physician, a Physician Assistant under the supervision of a physician, or an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner working under a protocol signed by a Physician.

Mat Reese said...

Great explanation of how laser hair removal works. I haven't seen it explained at that level of detail before.

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