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Laser Hair Removal Dangers and Shortcomings

Updated on August 21, 2011

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This hub reveals some of the dangers and shortcomings that may arise in a typical laser hair removal.

Why can laser be used to remove unwanted body hairs?

Laser has been used in clinical surgeries for many decades, it has been proved to be an effective way to cure many diseases, among which

hirsutism is one of the most annoying one, hirsutism is the over growth of excess body hair, it can occur at almost any part of the body, unwanted hairs keep growing at places where you would never want them to grow, such as inner thigh, back, stomach, or under lip in some women. Does excess body hair do harms to your health? The answer is no, but they have great impact on your appearances and can reduce your self-confidence. That's why most people would try to use at least one way to get rid of their unwanted body hairs. Among all the methods of body hair removal, laser surgery has been proved to be a safe and effective treatment to prevent the growth of body hair in most cases.

So what is the basic principle of laser hair removal? To know the secret, we will need to first look at the structure of our body hair. The human hair is composed of hair shaft and hair follicle. The former constitutes the large part of the hair that we can see, while the latter is located deep under the skin, it is where the hair grows, at the deep end of each hair follicle, there is a swelling part called dermal papilla, the center of which is a compact ball. Dermal papilla is the exact place where hair grows and re-grows, So in order to prevent the growth of unwanted body hair, the most important thing to do is to effectively destruct the dermal papilla, to destroy its functions of hair growing, and by effectively, it means the dermal papilla is very hard to destroy because it is buried deep under the skin and it is very tiny to be precisely targeted. That's why laser hair removal comes to use, through the focused, high pulsed laser beam, the light can reach the hair follicle and its dermal papilla very little damage to the epidermis, the black pigmentation of the hair can absorb the laser light energy and produce heat that can destroy the dermal papilla permanently.

Laser hair removal is currently the most popular hair removal method that can effectively remove unwanted hair. In fact, like many other surgeries, laser hair removal is not perfect, it has some dangers and shortcomings too, in some cases, it may pose dangers to the human skin, and so what are the possible dangers and shortcomings during a laser hair removal?

1, laser hair removal requires a number of treatments and long treatment cycles.

Hair growth cycle is generally divided into three phases, they are anagen phase (when new hair starts to grow), catagen phase (When the hair begins to stop grow) and telogen phase (when the hair gradually dies). Normally, about 80% of the body hairs are at anagen phase, while the remaining 20% are stopping growing at the same time. Hairs at their anagen phase has the highest amount of melanin pigments contained in their hair follicles, these black pigments are most sensitive to laser beams, they can absorb the most amount of pulsed laser light and convert the light into energy to effectively make dermal papilla be destroyed. However, hairs at catagen phase or telogen phase are not sensitive to lights due to their lack of activities; you will have to wait until they start a new round of hair growth before you can fully destroy their dermal papilla and effectively remove the hairs. Hairs at different body parts have completely different growth cycles and each part of the body has hairs at completely different growth phases, which makes the situation even more complicated. That's why people can not get rid of unwanted body fat in just one laser treatments, typically, for the hair removal in one body part, people have to undergo three to five treatments before they are able to completely remove the excess hairs. Moreover, for different body parts, treatments have to be done at different intervals due to different growth cycles of the hairs. For example: laser facial hair removal has to be done at an interval of three weeks, lower limbs need about an interval of two to three months, and underarms can be done once every month. At any time of the treatment, there bound to be some hairs at their telogen and catagen phases, and are not sensitive to the laser light. Moreover, studies have shown that there is a 10% rate of hair regeneration after the first removal treatment, but the new hair will become sparse, pale and not obvious.

2, second, high cost of treatment is the biggest drawback of laser hair removal.

Laser hair removal has the shortcomings as an expensive treatment; usually it requires a number of treatments, at an interval from three weeks to several months, and there will be some untreated hairs left, and a regeneration rate of new hairs, all the above factors make the treatment not a quick choice for those who want to get rid of body hairs instantly.

On the other hand, laser hair removal equipment, especially brand machine, is very expensive with high operating maintenance fees, which makes the treatment even more expensive.

3, possible dangers of laser hair removal

More and more people are choosing laser hair removal as their way to get rid of excess body hairs, however, there are also some dangers that may pose harm to your health, and you should pay special attention to:

  • There are many types of long-pulsed laser that can be used in laser hair removal, among them are the long-pulsed ruby laser, long-pulsed alexandrite laser, long pulsed diode laser, and long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser and so on. During the treatment, the melanin pigments in the hair follicle will absorb laser energy; destroy the hair follicles through the heat generated by the laser beams. However, the heat produced can also bring damages to the skin, and the laser beams may also hurt the normal pigments of the skin, both will result in skin spots after treatment.
  • Laser hair removal is more like an art than a science, the treatment effect is based largely on the skills of the doctors. The laser machine can control the volume of energy to be generated, in case of too much laser energy, the skin may also get hurt and have a scar left.
  • Typically, after treatment, there will be swollen, red spots left on the skin for two to three days, and you have to wait until they can fully disappear. There may also be some residuals left on the skin during the treatment.
  • Laser hair removal may cause pigmentation, making the skin darker, and it takes the skin a long time to fully absorb the pigments
  • So when you are considering choosing a hair removal method, you should take into account which body parts to be treated and its size before you make any decisions. Also, it is recommended that you should do some research beforehand if you decided to choose laser hair removal, that way you can minimize the risks and achieve better results.


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    • mekoshark profile image

      mekoshark 7 years ago

      Thanks Mersaydee!

      After reading your comment, I am full of energy again to write more hubs on health related topics.

    • Mersaydee profile image

      Mersaydee 7 years ago from Europe

      I've been considering this option - your article was useful and brought to lights some things I hadn't thought about. Thanks!