Nearly everyone, male or female, has unwanted body hair. Especially in a beach climate, we want to look great and feel comfortable, so we spend a great deal of time and money attempting to keep that hair under control. If you've had enough of daily shaving, razor bumps, messy depilatories, and painful waxing, it's time to consider a permanent solution.
Hair removal with a laser device works on the principle of SPTL - selective photothermolysis. Dark objects absorb light more readily than pale matter. Different types of lasers are capable of producing light energy in a variety of wavelengths with varying pulse durations. Lasers selectively heat and destroy matter with darker pigmentation (such as melanin at the hair follicle) with minimal damage to surrounding skin tissue. So, SPTL simply means that the clinician matches an exact wavelength and pulse interval to the patient's skin and hair types for maximum reduction of hair.
The term “chromophore” describes the darker matter targeted by the laser. Your body naturally produces melanin, a chromophore which gives color to your skin and hair. Black or brown hair contains eumelanin; while redheads and blondes have pheomelanin. Photons of laser light are more readily absorbed by eumelanin. Therefore, laser epilation is most effective on patients with dark hair and light skin tone. However, new laser technology now provides more options for other combinations.
The FDA approved lasers for permanent reduction of body hair in 1997, and since then technologies and techniques have continued to progress. It's important, though, to understand the limitations of this process. Hairs grow in several stages, and only respond to laser treatment in the anagen phase of growth. That means that, while you'll see improvement after a single treatment, several sessions (usually three to eight) over a period of time are required for optimal resolution. Also, while hairs treated in the anagen growth stage are permanently destroyed, your body may continue to produce some new hair, so periodic touch-ups are beneficial.
Prior to the advent of laser hair removal, electrolysis was your only option for permanent removal of unwanted hair. It is still a good choice for hair that is light in color and of very fine texture. However, a 2000 study in Ankara, Turkey indicates that laser hair removal carried less discomfort than electrolysis, was more reliable, and more efficient (about 60 times faster!). Epilation with an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) device, similar to but not a laser, can also be an alternative.
When you come in for a consultation, Dr. Debra Grayman and the team at Pure Skin Dermatology will take time to explain your options and help determine if laser hair removal is right for you. Call today and you'll soon be showing off a sleek, smooth look.