How does laser hair removal work?How does laser hair removal work?
Think of cosmetic lasers as energy delivery devices. Light has unique properties and harnessed into laser devices, these properties are used to treat many skin conditions based on specific wavelengths of light. Since lasers tune to a single wavelength, specific tissue in the skin can be targeted for the delivery of energy.
Think about how hot a black shirt gets on a hot summer day. It heats up because black absorbs all wavelengths of visible light. A piece of white gauze lets most of this energy pass through, so it doesn’t warm up nearly as much as black fabric.
Cosmetic lasers use a similar principle to treat tissue under the surface skin. In the case of laser hair removal, the single wavelength of the laser penetrates your skin’s surface with minimal energy absorption, while the base of your hair follicles absorbs that energy.
That absorption converts light energy to heat, just as the black shirt did. When a hair follicle reaches a certain temperature, it’s no longer able to grow hair, and the body metabolizes this damaged follicle. Over several treatment sessions, the density of body hair in the target area reduces.
Why does laser hair removal take several sessions?
If all your body hair ran on the same growth cycle, you’d have alternating periods of heavy and light body hair. The consistency of hair growth to which we’re accustomed is due to the growth cycles of individual follicles being somewhat random. Hair in any given part of your body has follicles in all parts of the growth cycle.
There’s only one phase during that cycle, however, where follicles are vulnerable to the effects of laser treatments. Since only about one-third of the follicles may be vulnerable at any one time, several treatment sessions are necessary to achieve your targeted hair reduction. Spot touch-ups are sometimes needed, and the Spa at Shenandoah takes these into account.
What can I expect at a laser hair removal treatment?
Laser energy is delivered through a handpiece to the target area. When activated, you’ll feel a sensation similar to the snap of a rubber band. The length of the treatment depends on the size of the target area. There may be symptoms such as a slight sunburn for a few hours after treatment, but otherwise, you can return to your day immediately after the procedure.