Laser hair removal continues to be one of the most popular aesthetic procedures in the world today. It’s quick, minimally painful, and — most of all — permanent, with most people only needing occasional touch ups after their sessions are complete. With all the shaving, waxing, and plucking most people do to control unwanted hair growth, it can easily pay for itself in the time (and actual money) saved in the long run. But what are the most important things you should know before having laser hair removal?
How Laser Hair Removal Works
Laser hair removal works by pulsing specific wavelengths of light into the melanin contained in hair follicles. As the melanin absorbs the light, it heats up, ultimately destroying the stem cells responsible for hair growth at that location.
Melanin is what makes hair and skin dark, which means more melanin equals darker hair or skin. Because melanin content is so central to the effectiveness of laser hair removal, the treatment works best for darker and coarser hair types. Light skin and dark hair tends to be the easiest combination for laser hair removal, but advances in technology have allowed for a greater effectiveness level in other skin and hair types. Extremely light hair types such as white or light blonde, however, do not respond well to laser hair removal.
Does laser hair removal hurt?
While everyone’s pain tolerance is different, most patients experience only minimal discomfort during laser hair removal, and in some cases the procedure is virtually painless. Pain levels will also differ based on where you are having hair removed. Areas with thick skin — such as the stomach or arms — typically involve very little discomfort, whereas sensitive areas with thin skin — like the bikini line or underarms — will generally be more painful. Most patients find the long-term benefits far outweigh the momentary discomfort of a procedure, which can range from 15 minutes to an hour.
Benefits of Laser Hair Removal
The benefits of laser hair removal are why the industry has boomed since its introduction to the public in 1995. Some of the most popular aspects of laser hair removal include:
- Saves time you’d spend shaving or waxing
- The most permanent form of hair removal available
- More affordable now than ever
- Effective on all parts of the body
5 Types of Laser Hair Removal
Ruby lasers were one of the first laser hair removal technologies ever developed and are only in limited use today. They use dark red light at a wavelength of 694 nm to eliminate hair follicles. This method is slower than the others and is only effective for people with fair skin and fine, light hair.
Alexandrite lasers are some of the most commonly used for hair removal. They use short wavelengths (755 nm) of near-infrared light to target and destroy the hair follicles. Because the wavelengths don’t penetrate deeply, this method can take more sessions than others for permanent hair removal, but it is also less painful. Alexandrite lasers can be used on all skin types, but are especially effective for those with lighter skin tones and finer hair.
3. Pulsed Diode Array
Like Alexandrite lasers, pulsed diode lasers use near-infrared light to achieve hair removal. However, the longer wavelength of the diode laser (810 nm) penetrates more deeply into the skin, which means fewer sessions for permanent hair removal. It’s also more effective than Alexandrite lasers for people with darker skin tones and coarser hair.
Nd:YAG lasers are the most heavy-duty of the bunch. They use full infrared light at 1,064 nm to penetrate deeply into the skin and remove hair follicles. This method is ideal for patients with dark skin and coarse hair. Because of the intensity of the laser, people tend to find this method more uncomfortable than the others, similar to the sensation of a pinprick.
5. Intensed Pulsed Light (IPL)
While not technically a laser treatment, intensed pulsed light (IPL) is frequently used to reduce or remove hair. IPL is generally cheaper than laser hair removal, but is also less effective. IPL uses light at scattered wavelengths to damage the hair follicles and prevent regrowth. Like laser methods, IPL requires several sessions to achieve longer lasting or permanent results, typically six to eight.
Soprano ICE Lasers
Soprano ICE lasers take the benefits of several of the above-mentioned laser techniques and combine them into a single machine. This means they can target different skin and hair types and customize the wavelength for an optimal hair removal experience. In fact, it can utilize Alexandrite, Diode, and Nd:YAG waves simultaneously, which is great since many people have different hair types even in the same area of their body. This is the type of laser system we use at Nurse Practitioners of Florida.
If You’re Interested in Laser Hair Removal, Nurse Practitioners of Florida Can Help
At Nurse Practitioners of Florida, we have a dedicated team of certified nurse practitioners who have an unwavering commitment to providing you with care and compassion. When you call any of our locations, you will be greeted by a live person who’s ready to offer acute medical care as well as preventive measures — including flu vaccines. And, above everything else, you will be treated like family.
If you need assistance, call us or fill out our online contact form.