Laser Hair Removal – Four Things You Should Know Before Going Under the Laser
Posted Apr 12 2012 7:00am
Laser hair removal is a popular way to remove hair these days. It’s been around ever since the 1970s; however, it only became commercially available in the 1990s. If you’re interested in getting laser hair removal done, here are four helpful and/or interesting things to know about the procedure.
Who can undergo laser hair removal
Laser hair removal works by heating up hair follicles, which results in the follicles’ death. The laser is able to locate the hairs that need to be removed by targeting the melanin in the hair. Melanin is the component that gives hair and skin its color. Light colored hair and skin have less melanin than darker hair and skin. The ideal laser hair removal candidate is a person with light skin and dark hair because the laser is able to easily distinguish between the hair and skin thanks to the lesser amount of melanin in the skin. People who have blonde hair are unfortunately out of luck; there is too little melanin in the hair for the laser to work on it. If you have blonde hair that you want removed, you should look into electrolysis instead. Previously, people with dark skin were unable to undergo laser hair removal because the laser would have trouble distinguishing between the hair and skin; however, today, there are new lasers that are able to produce successful results.
Laser hair removal technician
When it comes time to select a laser hair removal technician, you should look for someone who has training and some sort of certification. In some states, there are no licensing requirements whatsoever, and theoretically, anyone can buy a laser machine and set up shop. If you live in a state that requires laser hair removal licensing, ask your technician if they are licensed. If your state does not require licensing, ask your technician if they hold licensing or certification from another state. Laser technicians are required by law to be affiliated with a medical doctor, so ask the technician with which doctor they are affiliated and what that doctor’s credentials are. You can also inquire about the specifics of the technician’s training and what kind of machine they are using. Ask for references from former clients who can testify to the skill and professionalism of the laser technician.
Shave before the procedure
Although this may seem counter-intuitive, before you go for your laser treatment, you should shave the area that will be treated. The reason you should shave your hair is so that the heat from the laser will not be wasted on the hair above the skin; the laser targets the hair underneath the skin. If the laser comes into contact with hair above the skin, it may result in minor burning of the skin when the heated hairs touch the skin. Never pluck, wax or epilate, or the laser treatment will not work.
Hair growth phases
Hair goes through a growing cycle that consists of three phases. The first phase is the anagen phase; during anagen, the hair grows. The second phase is catagen; during this phase, the hair does not grow and does not shed. In the third phase, telogen, the hair falls out so the cycle can start anew. At any given moment, some of your hairs are in anagen, some of them are in catagen and some of them are in telogen. Laser hair removal can only work on a hair during the anagen stage, which means you’ll have to continue having treatments until each hair enters the anagen stage.