Removal of Unwanted Hair
Hair covers most of our skin surface. The number of hair follicles is the same in men and women; thus, a woman’s body can potentially be as hairy as man’s. The difference in the visibility of body hair between men and women is caused by hormonal differences: women have much less of the hormone testosterone than men and, consequently, much less visible body hair.
Although body hair is physiologically normal, it is often undesirable for aesthetic reasons. Various methods exist for removing or decreasing body hair. The most efficient and cost-effective methods of hair reduction and removal involve laser and light technologies.
How Does Laser Hair Reduction “Removal” Work?
Hair contains a pigment, melanin, which gives it colour. This pigment can preferentially absorb certain spectra of light. Thus, laser or BBL can be used to destroy these pigment-containing hair. As skin also contains melanin, care must be taken to choose the type of laser that will destroy the melanin-containing hair preferentially, while sparing the surrounding skin.
How Efficient Is “Laser Hair Removal”?
Although each individual is different and their bodies react differently to the treatment, generally only hair in active growth phase can be destroyed during treatment with any laser or light-based technology. Completely destroyed hair follicles result in permanent damage so no hair can grow back. For hair follicles that are partially damaged, new grown hair later will grow at a slower rate and tend to be less visible.
This represents, on average, 20% of body hair destruction at any given time in a single session. Multiple treatment sessions are required to remove the bulk of body hair. The FDA says laser hair removal effectively reduces the amount of hair by about 70% on average after full treatment. While targeted body hair may not be removed forever, the hair that grows back is usually much finer and less noticeable. Thus, “laser hair removal” is never 100%. The more appropriate term should be “laser hair reduction”.