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Laser for Hair Removal

Hair serves various functions in humans, including thermoregulation, photo protection, and dry lubrication. But unwanted pigmented hair is a common cosmetic problem for both men and women. Until recently, the only long-lasting method of hair removal was electrolysis which permanently damages 15-20% of hair follicles but with a small risk of scarring (especially “follicular bumps”). Laser hair removal has emerged over the last several years as a viable alternative. To understand hair loss, it is first helpful to understand hair growth.

All hairs undergo a cycle of active growth, transition, and resting phases. Understandably, laser treatment is most effective when the hair is in the active growth phase. Different body sites have different amounts of duration in the active growth phase. And even all hairs in a given region are not in the active phase at any given time. Therefore, hair removal sessions must be repeated to “capture” hairs during the active growth phase. As an example, the resting phase on the leg may be as long as a year. So treatments should be “timed” so that the largest numbers of hairs are in the active growth phase based on the body location; put another way, several treatment cycles are required with the spacing between treatments dependent on the body area being treated. This can range from 4 to 6 sessions.

Laser best treats dark hair on fair skin. Complications are rare such as superficial burns and scarring, but pigmentation changes are more likely in less fair skin. Increased growth of fine dark hair in untreated areas in close proximity to treated areas have been reported.

Laser treatment usually produces complete but temporary hair loss for 1-3 months, followed by partial but permanent hair loss. Permanent hair removal is defined as significant and stable loss of hair for a period longer than the complete natural hair growth cycle. The FDA defines “permanent hair loss” as loss of hair for at least 6 months. With the evolution of long-term hair removal, lasers have become smaller, faster, and more effective, and Dr. Rasmussen is pleased to offer for purchase Silk’n™ a personal hair removal system with Home Pulsed Light™. Silk’n™ was featured on Good Morning America and received rave reviews. The cost of Silk’n™ is less than the cost of a single treatment area by laser hair removal centers.