Laser, Pulsed Light … Is Permanent Hair Removal Effective And Safe?

Permanent hair removal effective and safe what do you think? How do they work? Are they really effective in the long term and above all, without risk?  To fully understand how these techniques work, you must first look at the anatomy of the hair. The latter is born in the hair follicle, a sort of small pocket sunk a few millimeters under the skin.

At its base, we find the root, from which it is formed. There are also melanocytes, cells secreting a brown pigment, melanin. It is this pigment that is targeted by two permanent hair removal techniques:

laser and pulsed light. It is a question of sending a light beam on the hairs: the melanin absorbs this light and transforms it into heat, which has the effect of destroying the root of the hairs.

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Pulsed light machines are of variable power: some are content to weaken the hair while others are able to destroy it.

The laser uses a powerful beam of a single long wave that destroys the hair root in a targeted manner.

The pulsed lamp emits several wavelengths of lower energy. Pulsed light machines are therefore of variable power: some are content to weaken the hair while others are capable of destroying it.

Permanent Hair Removal Effective And Safe

6 to 8 sessions

Both of these techniques only work on growing hair, which is roughly 20% of body hair at any given time. Between 6 and 8 sessions of 20 to 60 minutes, each is therefore often necessary to get rid of all the hair growth. Laser hair removal can only be performed by dermatologists, which is the cause of disagreement with estheticians.

On the other hand, beauty centers have the right to use pulsed light lamps. “They are less powerful than those used in medical centers, they require even more sessions”. And above all, they are much less powerful than lasers.

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What efficiency?

Whatever the technique is chosen, “once the sessions are over, no hair grows back in the majority of cases”, underlines Dr. Albert. However, in some hormone-dependent areas (lips, chin, lower abdomen, or chest) more sessions may be necessary.

However, it is possible that some hairs grow back a few years later, especially in these areas. Indeed, it happens that some cells escape destruction and can rebuild hair later. This is why dermatologists prefer to talk about long-lasting hair removal, and not permanent.

“Once the sessions are over, in the majority of cases, no hair grows back”.

Note that not all of these techniques are effective on all skin types. The ideal candidates for pulsed light and the most popular lasers are people with fair skin and dark hair. On dark skin, these two techniques can cause burns by reacting with melanin present in large quantities in the skin.

Conversely, it is more difficult to treat light, blond or red hairs, because of their weak pigmentation. Only diode and Nd-Yag lasers can be used on dark skin, Nd-Yag is also effective on dark skin.

Health risks?

These methods are not carcinogenic: the radiation emitted by the machines is not powerful enough to cause DNA damage, which is a source of cancer.

However, side effects can occur, although they are rare and often not serious, such as temporary redness. Hyperpigmentation or depigmentation – most of the time temporary – as well as skin burns are also possible, especially when using pulsed light or alexandrite laser on dark skin.

According to Jimy, general manager of health institute – a brand that has more than 100 beauty centers that use pulsed light – only 0.03% of customers contacted customer service for skin problems in 2018 (redness, scabs, burns).

In addition, “it is also possible, if the machine lacks power, that it paradoxically stimulates hair growth”, underlines the specialist. Finally, wearing protective glasses is mandatory (except for electrolysis) because the light beam can potentially cause an eye burn.

Finally, you should know that this type of hair removal is generally not painful.

Contraindications

There are some contraindications to permanent hair removal, including pregnancy, during which hair removal of the abdominal and genital area is not possible. Before the session, it is also important to inform the doctor about the taking of a treatment.

The latter must also ensure that there is no suspicious lesion. For example, it is advisable to bypass moles and cover them.

“We do not know how certain skin tumors – like moles – subjected to laser shots would react, ” insists the dermatologist.

This is also one of the main arguments of doctors to justify their monopoly on the use of permanent hair removal techniques: unlike estheticians, they are able to identify these lesions.

Is permanent hair removal harmful?
Overall, laser hair removal is safe and effective for most people. As a precaution, do not perform the procedure near your eyes or during pregnancy. See your doctor if rare symptoms occur after laser hair treatments. Also note that the procedure does not guarantee permanent deletion.

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