Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Will laser hair removal work for me?

Let us explore this question by reviewing how the laser targets the hair follicle. The laser emits a gentle beam of light that passes through the skin where it is absorbed by the melanin (color) in your hair. As it is absorbed, the laser energy is transformed into heat which then disables the hair follicle and prevents further growth.

The key to this question is whether you have sufficient melanin in your hair in order for the laser to be able to selectively target the hair follicle, rather than the surrounding skin. So, if you, for instance, have grey hair, that has very little or no melanin left at all, laser hair removal will not be effective at all. Due to the fact that a laser targets melanin, the more melanin an individual has in his/her hair, the more effective a laser will be. Therefore, someone with gray, red, or blonde hair is not as good a candidate for laser hair removal.

But there is also the other side of this same equation. Melanin is also what gives our skin color. Therefore, the more melanin in your skin, the darker it looks. The laser targets melanin, and since the laser does not distinguish between melanin in hair and melanin in skin, the more melanin present in the skin, the more the laser is going to target the skin rather than the hair. Therefore, someone with darker skin is not as good a candidate for laser hair removal. Technology has however developed to the point that laser hair removal can successfully be done on all skin types, but the more melanin present in the skin, the more care should be taken by the treating clinician.

Light skin and dark hair are the best combination for laser hair removal. The more closely an individual's skin tone matches his/her hair color, the less likely he/she is to benefit from laser hair removal.

A consultation is normally required to determine if you really are a suitable candidate for a laser hair removal procedure. As a rule, dark, coarse hairs on any part of the body usually respond well to the laser hair removal procedure. On the other hand, very fine or very lightly colored hair — whether it's white, gray, or red — do not respond well to treatment.

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