Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Permanent hair reduction, or as it is more widely known, permanent hair removal is now one of the most popular beauty treatments available. The success rate is very high and the results last many years, with only a small top-up required after 1-2 years. 

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work? 

Following a successful patch test to determine your suitability for the treatment, you will be asked to shave before your appointment. The relevant machine (we will look at the types later) sends specific wavelengths of laser (pulses of light) into the skin, that are absorbed by the melanin (the pigment in the hair), which produces heat which then damages the follicles, getting rid of the unwanted hair. The follicles then lose their ability to regenerate. The mode of action of IPL and laser hair removal is pretty simple and works for almost all skin types and colours. 

The results might not be evident instantly, but after 2-3 sessions, you will notice that the hair regrowth is slower, finer, and patchy. During this time the hair will naturally fall out leaving your skin looking silky and smooth.

Does Laser Hair Removal Work On Black Or Asian Skin?

Yes, it does but there are certain parameters. Not every machine will perform successfully on tanned skin, on very dark skin (Fitzpatrick skin type 6) or very fair hair. Fair hair does not have enough melanin for the light beams to find and there is sometimes not enough contrast in colour between dark skin and the dark melanin in the hair follicles. This is one of the many reasons we perform a patch test; to ensure that the treatment will be safe and effective for your skin type. 

What Do You Expect During Laser Hair Removal?

Hair removal using laser is not overly painful. The pain is similar to someone giving you a flick with their finger onto your skin. Subject to a discussion on the areas to be treated, your skin therapist would apply some cooling gel and begin work in a methodical and systematic pattern, ensuring all areas are effectively treated. 

It would not be possible to remove all the unwanted hair in just one appointment as your hair has different stages of hair growth We recommend an initial course of 6 sessions for hair reduction, but advise most clients that they will need 10-15 sessions for 95% hair reduction. This depends on the success of the treatment on your hair type and the stages of hair growth. Many patients are left with a handful of follicles that produce hair following the final treatment. These can, of course, be removed easily by shaving.

Five Types Of Machines That Could Be Used For Hair Removal

No single hair removal machine is perfect for everyone as it will depend on your skin and hair colour.

The Alexandrite Laser 

  • The fastest hair removal laser
  • Large spot size (up to 18mm) and high repetition rate
  • Can rapidly treat large body areas – an entire back can be treated in less than 30 minutes
  • Suitable for patients with fair to olive complexions

The Diode Laser –we have the Elysion machine at Skin By Dr Caroline

  • Longer wavelength allows deep penetration into the skin and safety for darker skin types
  • Smaller spot size, which can result in longer treatment time in inexperienced hands
  • Highly effective at removing most hair in most body areas, with significant reduction seen in 5-6 sessions in most skin types. 

The Nd:YAG laser

  • Can be used on all skin types, including tanned skin
  • Large spot sizes and fast repetition rates allow large areas to be treated quickly
  • Provides less effective treatment for fine and light hairs than some other hair removal lasers

Intense pulsed light (VPL/IPL)

  • Very successful in hair removal, as with VPL you can adjust the wavelengths to suit the individual’s skin tone and hair colour)
  • Unlike lasers, IPL devices emit the full spectrum of light wavelengths
  • Works best on patients with fair skin and dark hair
  • Cannot use on Fitzpatrick skin type 6

In years gone by, electrolysis was the most commonly available treatment to reduce hair permanently. Electrolysis can be very effective on reducing fine or lighter coloured red, blonde or grey hair. However it is more painful than the others mentioned.

For more information and to book your free consultation for permanent hair removal, call 01707 662477 –

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