If you wish to get rid of unwanted hair, laser hair removal might be the most effective solution. The laser hair removal procedure involves a specially designed laser that specifically targets hair follicles, with minimal impact to surrounding skin. Light naturally passes through the outer layer of skin to target the darker pigment found in the hair follicle, including the root.
Once the light reaches the hair follicle, it damages it, killing it. If the hair is at the appropriate stage in the hair growth cycle, this process damages the root along with the rest of the hair, preventing future hair growth. This type of hair removal treatment is better than many other hair removal procedures due to the speed in which it can be administered. The procedure can effectively treat small areas, including the upper lip, in a matter of seconds and big areas, including legs and back, in an hour.
Two factors will determine whether this prevention is truly “permanent”: (1) where the hair is at in the growth cycle, and (2) the type and pigmentation of your skin.
- The hair growth cycle factor is relatively straightforward: Any one laser hair removal treatment will successfully stop regrowth only for roughly 1/3 of the hairs that were targeted. The other hairs that were not at the right stage in the growth cycle to be destroyed might fall off after the treatment, but to truly prevent regrowth for the long term, additional treatments will be necessary. Often, any regrowth will be paler and thinner, but in all cases one treatment alone will not be enough for dramatic improvement.
- It’s only natural that laser hair removal results in a range of outcomes for different people, depending on skin tone and the specific type of laser technology used. In the past, laser hair removal was not even an option for darker-skinned, lighter-haired patients because the laser would target and damage their skin along with the hair follicle. Advances in laser technology give us more options today to treat a wider variety of skin tones with minimal difficulty, but your skin tone and hair color will play a large role in determining what type of laser treatment and how many sessions you will need to undergo to get the results you want.
Compared to other hair removal procedures, laser technique is regarded as the most effective technique. The FDA has approved an older option, electrolysis, as a permanent hair removal procedure, and studies show that there is some variance with lasers in how “permanent” the results really are. That being said, the laser option is still the one I favor at my practice due to its precisely targeted results, lower discomfort profile, and adaptive options for a wide range of patients.
Dr. Berkowitz is a board-certified, fellowship-trained oculofacial surgeon focusing on advanced cosmetic surgery procedures to enhance and restore the face. With over 16 years of experience in facial surgery specifically, Dr. Berkowitz has an extensive background in both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures to correct an extensive range of concerns ranging from the natural damage of aging to highly specialized procedures to correct for burns and injuries.