Laser Hair Removal has been around for a lot longer than one might think. It was first offered commercially in the mid 1970's but had been performed experimentally for almost 20 years more. In that time, the technology has grown in leaps and bounds and the different options out there can become quite overwhelming.
Laser Hair Removal:
Some of the earliest technologies involved selective photothermolysis, lasers that would target the dark matter (melanin) in the hair follicle without heating the skin. However, due to the selective absorption process, only dark hair can be effectively removed using this process. This method leaves a gaping hole for light-haired men and women looking for permanent hair removal.
Some side effects of this method include itching, redness and swelling. This older technology also causes quite a bit of pain during sessions. Numbing cream is sometimes offered, depending on the spa or clinic, but usually at an additional cost.
Intensed Pulse Light (IPL)
The next great advancement in laser hair removal technology was the Intensive Pulse Light (IPL) technology. Although technically not considered a laser, this process has grown in popularity due to its much cheaper and more efficient results. IPL actually uses xenon flash lamps that emit full spectrum light. When applied to the skin, this light travels through the skin right down to the root of the hair and effectively vaporizes both the root as well as the hair shaft.
As the pulses of light are quite short in duration, the pain is much less than IPL's predecessor (the laser). Most people only feel a slight discomfort similar to that of a sun-burn. This discomfort, however, does not last very long with most people resuming their normal physical activities the very same day.
Photo Therapy Flash (PTF)
The latest in hair removal technology, the Photo Therapy Flash (PTF) technology is an upgraded version of the IPL technology. By effectively widening the light pulse duration, the heat energy is able to penetrate deeper into the skin using less energy therapy causing less damage to the skin. This technology is essentially painless and is the only technology that can provide results for all skin types.
Although none of these technologies provide instant hair removal, each session will result in less and less hair growing back. Tomorrowmore, the new growth will be more and more clear, thin and slow. Most people obtain satisfactory results after four to eight treatments, but these results vary according to medical and genetic factors. Even with the latest PTF technology, light hair may still require more treatments than dark hair.
Perhaps the next great accomplishment in laser hair removal will be the "one-time-all-hair-be-gone" treatment!