Myths and truths about laser hair removal

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The laser depilationAs its name implies, it consists of the removal of body hair by emitting a concentrated beam of light.

It has a short life (it has existed since the mid-90s) but its use quickly became very popular, although there are still many questions about this treatment. Here we are going to clear all your doubts.

Unlike tweezing or shaving, where surface hair is removed, laser hair removal targets hair-producing (hair) follicles. To do this, a high-temperature laser beam is used that heats up and damages the follicle.

This way it manages to put them into a dormant state for a long period of time and prevents hair from growing again. It is a hair removal that tends to work best for people with light skin tones and dark hair.

Types of lasers

For this type of hair removal, different types of laser are usually used depending on the skin or body hair:

-Alexandrite: This laser emits light at a wavelength of 755 nanometers (nm) and can be used on almost all types of skin and hair, although it is most effective on white or medium-toned skin. Because it is the longest-running laser on the market, it has been shown to be free of side effects.
-Diode: works at a wavelength of 810 nm and is usually used on darker skin types.
-Neodymium-Yag: With a wavelength of 1064 nm, this type of laser is used for tanned or very dark skin.
-Soprano: it is a type of diode laser that differs because there are no specific shots in an area of ​​the skin if there are repetitive bursts during a tour. It emits light with a wavelength of 800 nm and can be used on tanned skin and dark hair.
-Ruby: It is no longer used due to its low versatility and risk of burns. It emits light at a wavelength of 695 nm, and was used for very light skin.

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Myths and truths of laser hair removal

Below, you can find answers to the most common questions regarding laser hair removal:

  • Eliminates 100% of hairs: False. It is estimated that up to 90% of the hair can be removed, as thinner and very light-colored hair does not respond to laser treatment. However, it no longer grows normally and is weakened.
  • Must be done more than once: True. Laser hair removal should be done every one, two or three months, depending on what the professional considers appropriate. Depending on the area of ​​the body to be treated and the type of hair found, between 4 and 6 sessions may be needed, although it may be 8.
  • Can be applied anywhere on the body: False. It is said that laser hair removal covers the entire body as it is usually applied to areas where hair usually grows: abdomen, armpits, arms, fingers, back, genitals and buttocks, shoulders, groin, lumbar, hands, chest, legs, feet and thorax . However, it is not recommended in areas where there are tattoos, moles, warts, spots or in the lower arch of the eyebrows.
  • Its permanent: False. Although it can last for many years, some people who undergo laser hair removal may experience hair growth after 3 years of treatment. This may be due to the use of fences or tweezers to remove some hair or hormonal changes.
  • It’s painful: False. Usually only a slight discomfort from the heat of the laser light is felt. Although at present, many beauty centers combine cold air systems to reduce this discomfort. There may be cases of greater sensitivity, for which anesthetic gels or creams are used.
  • It is more difficult to remove light hair: True. The objective of the laser is melanin and this is found in less quantity in light hair than in dark hair.
  • It should not be done in summer: True. Laser hair removal is contraindicated for skin that is tanned or constantly exposed to sunlight, so it is not recommended to do it during this time of year, although it can be done with extreme care.
  • It is just as effective throughout the body: False. As we said, it can be used on practically the whole body, but it is most effective in areas where the follicle is closest to the first layer of the skin: armpits or bikini line. Instead, you need more sessions on the thighs or face.
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Side effects

There are few risks related to laser hair removal, and they generally depend on the type of skin or hair, the treatment, or the care before and after hair removal. The most common are:

  • Skin irritation: redness or swelling.
  • Changes in pigmentation: the skin lightens or darkens temporarily or permanently.
  • In rare cases, it can cause blisters, changes in skin textures, scars, or scabs.

It is not recommended that pregnant or lactating women, patients with photosensitizing medication, who have been exposed to the sun or have a high pigmentation level, undergo laser hair removal.

To avoid all kinds of risks and unwanted effects, it is best to perform this treatment with a qualified professional in a care center that guarantees the maximum security measures.

Summary

Laser hair removal consists of removing body hair by emitting a concentrated beam of light. With high temperatures, the hair follicle is brought to a dormant state so that no hair grows again.

For this treatment there are many types of laser, such as Alexandrite, Diode, Neodymium-Yag or Soprano.

Although it is a generally safe method, depending on the type of skin or hair, the treatment or care taken before and after waxing, it can cause certain side effects.

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Sources consulted: American Dermatological Association, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

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