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Hair removal methods
Laser hair removal is one of the newest hair removal methods and is widely advertised as a "permanent" hair removal treatment. Light at a specified wavelength from a laser targets the dark colored hair follicle and causes mechanical and thermal damage. It works best on light skinned (fair) people with dark hair, since melanin, the colored pigment absorbs more light from the laser. Laser hair removal is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in the United States
The skin is waxed first to remove hair and open the follicles or the hair is cut just above the surface of the skin. A carbon based light absorbing lotion is massaged into the skin. A cold gel or a special cooling device may be used to protect the outer layers of the skin. When the laser is passed over the skin, the carbon left in the hair follicle absorbs the heat and the hair root is destroyed. Clinical data shows that this laser treatment results in reduction of hair, but not permanent hair removal for most people. Newer hair removal lasers use ruby or alexandrite lasers and do not require waxing and a carbon lotion. Redness or swelling of the hair follicle are normal during laser hair removal.
Laser hair removal lasts for a long time and some customers have reported permanent hair removal. Laser hair removal typically requires multiple sessions , usually a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks apart, because hair grows in a cycles. It is convenient and can be performed on large areas. Compared to other hair removal methods like waxing, laser hair removal is less painful and safe if performed properly. When the hair grows back, it is usually finer in texture or lighter in color and is less conspicuous.
Since laser hair removal is relatively new, long term studies on the safety and effectiveness are not available. Laser hair removal is an expensive treatment and a number of sessions are required. If the treatment is not carried out properly, it could cause burns, skin discoloration (hypo or hyper pigmentation) and inflammation. Occasionally, it can cause more hair to grow than what was originally present.
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