Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow-The Basics of Laser Hair Removal

Author: J. Larry Denton

Unsightly, unwanted, and unattractive hair often makes both men and women feel uncomfortable about their appearance thus lowering their level of self-esteem and self confidence. Constant waxing, tweezing, and shaving is not only time consuming, but highly inefficient and commonly causes bumps, ingrown hairs and painful skin irritations. A rapidly growing number of Americans are opting for a more effective and permanent solution--laser hair removal!

While razor blades haven't yet been relegated to antique status, an increasing number of Americans are opting for laser hair removal to rid themselves of their unwanted hair. According to recent government numbers, laser hair removal is now the leading nonsurgical cosmetic procedure for people younger than 35. Among men and women of all ages, laser hair removal is second only to Botox as a cosmetic treatment. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 1.4 million Americans got laser hair removal in 2006.

Before the development of lasers for hair removal, both women and men helplessly tried to permanently rid themselves of unwanted hair. Such methods as sugaring, shaving, plucking, and waxing have all been attempted unsuccessfully. One time in the not so distant past, electrolysis was one of the most effective methods to safely remove hair. Although it remains one method of permanent hair removal, electrolysis is time-consuming, can cause skin damage, and is thought by many people to be somewhat painful.

Advances in laser technology have created a new solution to the age old problem of removing unwanted hair. Laser hair removal works by targeting the patients' melanin--that dark pigment which gives your hair and skin its color. Light energy from the laser penetrates the skin, is absorbed by the melanin, and the resulting high temperature kills the roots of hair follicles in the area. That is why people with dark hair make the best candidates for this particular procedure. As Dr. Robert Ailes, corporate medical director for Ideal Image says, "We can't treat blonde hair or gray hair because it has no target color that we can isolate."

Because hair grows in cycles and not all hair follicles are at the same stage of growth at the same time, laser hair removal is usually done in a series of sessions in order to accomplish the goal of permanent hair removal. Lasers which are used, cost between $30,000-$150,000, and generally have different size tips that resemble large highlight markers. Operators lightly touch the skin with this laser tip to remove hair in an area about the size of a dime or a quarter.

Although this may sound painful, most patients liken the sensation as being similar to having a small rubber band snapped against the skin. Lasers usually use a chilled tip, a cool spray or a cooling gel, which helps to reduce any possible discomfort. Some practitioners chill the area to be treated with an ice pack 10 minutes before treatment, but general anesthesia or tranquilizers are never used.

As would be expected, this treatment is most popular among women, who currently obtain 86% of the procedures. The areas most often treated are: the face, under arms, legs and the bikini line. But a growing number of men are also finding themselves at laser hair removal centers to remove unwanted hair from their backs, chests, shoulders, necks, and even their legs.

Despite the price tag--a series of sessions for a bikini line or under arms--is about $900, most clients see the procedure as a bargain. Considering the time, cost and inconvenience of waxing or shaving, the costs seem more than reasonable.

If unwanted hair is making you uncomfortable or self conscious, browse the web to locate a reputable, experienced doctor or clinic that can help you by performing laser hair removal.

For a laser hair removal clinic filled with advice, accurate information, reliable resources and useful suggestions about all aspects of laser hair removal, visit



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