Laser hair removal is a technique of removing hair by using Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) epilators with xenon flash lamps that emit full spectrum light. The methods that use laser or light that are also called phototricholysis or photoepilation became more popular with the term laser hair removal. This laser hair removal was experimentally performed for about 20 years before being commercially available in the middle of the ’70s. Today, laser hair removal is widely used in the dermatology community, and is widely practiced.
Laser hair removal works by the principle of selective photothermolysis which causes localized damage by heating the dark target matter, or we can call it melanin, in the area that causes hair growth while not heating the rest of the skin. Generally, light is absorbed by dark object, so the heat can be absorbed faster and more intensively by the dark material in the skin. The dark target matter or chromophore can be naturally occurring, or artificially made. Hair removal is commonly done on the lip, chin, ear lobes, shoulders, back, underarms, abdomen, buttocks, pubic area, bikini lines, thighs, face, neck, cleavage, chest, arms, legs, hands, and toes. This laser works best with dark coarse hair; light skin and dark hair are an ideal combination, but new lasers can work on dark black hair even on patients with dark skin.
Laser treatment has been widely used since 1997 and has been approved for “permanent hair reduction” in the United States by the FDA. This treatment has become very popular because it is fast and efficient, but the efficiency depends on the skill and experience of the laser operator and the laser technology available in the clinic. The number of sessions that should be done by the patient depends on the type of the hair and the skin color. Coarse dark hair in light skin is easier to treat than the hair on darker skin. The treatment is usually spaced between 8 – 12 weeks.
However, the laser hair removal treatment will bring side effects to the body after it is done, like itching, redness, and swelling around the treatment area, but it usually happens three days after the treatment. The patient may also feel pain during treatments. It is suggested to use natural treatments to remove the unwanted hair rather than using lasers, because although it does not work as fast as the treatments using lasers, it has less side effects and is not painful at all.