We all have hair. It is either thin or thick, light or dark. On average we lose between 40 and 100 hairs per day. But we all know that like mushrooms after the rain, New hair grows back.
Hair removal - know your enemy
Hair is a keratinous material shapes like a strand growing from the epidermis (the upper layer of the skin). The hair develops inside a hair follicle. The hair is characterized as an addition to the skin. Each hair follicle is attached to a sebum gland which opens into the skin, along the hair follicle. The mature hair follicle comes
form the epidermis (the outer skin layer) to the deeper skin layer. The hair growing from the hair follicle is composed of 2 – 3 layers connected by a large quantity of a proteins called keratins This protein is produced in cells located at the hair follicle. The pigment cell, which is also located in the follicle produces the pigment which gives the hair its color.
there are 3 main layers of tightly packed epithelial cells in the mature hair follicle, these form the internal root. The external root, which is attached to the outer skin layer and the sebum gland forms the outer layer of the hair follicle. People are born with all the hair follicles they will ever have, about 5 million of them. Even though the number of actual hair growing and the number of follicles may change throughout a person’s life time, each person looses about 40 – 100 hairs on average.
The hair undergoes three main cycles:
The growth phase – the hair grows for a few months until it reaches it maximum length.
The rest phase – the hair “rests” inside the follicle and does not grow.
The fall out phase.
Hair removal with Laser
The idea to remove hair using Laser first came up in 1992, when a doctor treating with Laser accidentally shot his own arm that was covered with hair, and had carbon goggles placed on it, and some of the hair fell off. The American Food and Drug administration (FDA) has approve the use of laser for hair removal in 1996
The first laser approved by the Food and Drug administration was the Israeli made Ruby Laser. This treatment covered the skin with black carbon powder which absorbed the laser beam and caused damage to the hair follicles. Since 1992 many attempts were made to find technologies which will remove unwanted hair.
In 1996 the Ruby laser and the Alexandrit laser were approved for hair removal treatment, and since then, many improvements were done on hair removal laser systems. Among these improvements are, the use of longer laser beams, increasing the pulse treatment time, and cooling the skin during the treatment.
A lesson in biology
The protein composing any cell nucleus is built in our body is destroyed at 62oC. The laser beam, which is a strong light energy destroys the cell nucleus at the hair root by heating it. The laser light energy uses the melanin pigment in the hair as a conductor, which conducts heat along the hair strand to the protein at its
root, and thus causes its immediate destruction. The wavelength used by the laser for hair removal is selective. This means – it damages the hair but does not affect blood vessels or glands, which are “transparent” for the laser beam.
The heat energy destroys the follicle and damages the blood supply to the follicle, therefore in areas where the follicles do not grow anymore, the damage is more severe.
Two main parameters impact the success of the treatment:
- Hair color– The darker the hair is it has more melanin and its heat absorption capacity is stronger, therefore, the roots of darker hair will be destroyed faster. In light hair there is less melanin and its heat conduct capacity is lower, therefore, people with lighter hair will need more treatments.
- Skin color– The darker the skin color is, it contains more melanin, therefore, the skin itself (and not just the hair absorbs the beam, and the result may be burns, spots and scars in the skin. Therefore, people with darker skin undergo treatment with a lower beam intensity, and thus they required a larger number of treatments.
The medical decision which sets the laser beam intensity for each patient is done according to these parameters.
Each skin and it’s own laser – equipment
A number of laser devices is used in Israel, which differ in their beam wavelength, in the cooling technology and the scanning ability. Some devices work faster, some less fast, some are suitable to specific hair nature, and others to other hair characteristics, but the fact is that all of them remove hair.
The following is a list of advantages and disadvantages of a number of common methods for hair removal with laser:
The number of required treatments
Hair removal with laser usually requires a number of treatments – the number of required treatments is determined by the treated area, the density of your hair and your rate of hair growth. For example, the face are a very problematic area. You can reach a good thinning of the hair, but, once in a while there is a need to undergo refreshment treatment. The armpits, the crotch and the legs, on the other hand, are areas which are easily treated and good results of hair thinning can be achieved.
The hair growth cycle may last between four to twelve months, depending on the body area when the hair grows. Every single hair may be at a different phase of its growth cycle, and the laser if more efficient when its in its growth phase.
Who is not a good candidate for hair removal with laser?
- People with very dark skin.
- People with very light hair.
- Not recommended for – pregnant and breast feeding women.
- People with Lupus
- People suffering from acne and treated with Roaccutane (depending on the care provider).
- Asthma patients treated with steroids.
- People suffering from skin problems and fungi.
Did you know?
- it is unadvisable to receive treatment during your monthly period, in which the sensitivity for pain increases.
- Due to the concern about pigmentation, sun tanned skin should not be treated. The Laser identifies the melanin pigment (created in the skin as part of the tanning process), so when the skin is tanned the laser might identify the pigment of the skin as unwanted hair, and may cause severe burns.
During the period of the laser hair removal treatments you should avoid removing hair in any other plucking method such as waxing, machine removal or tweezing.
- It is recommended that you shave the hair as close to the treatment time as possible (alternatively, you can use depilation cream hair removal).
- There is no risk of radiation from the laser device since its radiation is unionizing.
The laser technology is a combination of skill and art. Therefore, the most important thing when you go for a treatment is to know who is standing behind the machine.
What should you know and do so you receive the best treatment
- A clinic with medical supervision
- The laser treatments are performed by a skilled staff member such as a nurse or a technician.
- The treatment room door must have a warning sign about the laser device.
- Wearing goggles during the treatment is a must.
- Prepping for the treatment – the skin must be prepped using sterile means and a clean environment.
- You should receive an explanation by the professional team about the nature of the treatment, the work methodology, adverse effects, and adjusting expectations.
- The room and the instruments must be cleaned between patients.
- You should obtain an opinion from a dermatologist so the treatment will be adjusted to your specifics.
- Documentation of the initial condition of the patient and the course of the treatments with photographs and in the patient’s medical records.
- Informed consent.
- Periodic exams by the treating staff.
At Dr. Elman’s Clinics the treatment can be adjusted to each patient according to his needs, level of sensitivity, type of skin and type of hair. Our devoted attending staff will respond to question and request, provide you with courteous service, reliable information, professional care, and, of course, personal care and support throughout your treatment.