Laser hair removal (LHR) has been around now for almost 15 years and has proven to be safe and effective when performed by qualified operators.
The treatment is more comfortable today than in the past, but patients can still use a numbing cream if they so desire.
We use lasers approved by the FDA to treat light and dark skin types as well as tan skin. However, we much prefer to perform LHR on skin that is not tan, i.e. at its lightest. That way, we can use maximally effective light energies.
During treatment, the laser beam traverses the skin until it reaches the pigment in the hair root. The interaction between the two shatters and partially destroys the hair matrix. Over the ensuing 2 weeks, the pulverized hair is slowly eliminated and the follicle tries to repair. With every subsequent treatment, the hair follicle shrinks and the resulting new hair becomes smaller in diameter and lighter in color until it looks like peach fuzz.
At any point in time, 30% of hair follicles are dormant and therefore not amenable to treatment. Location of the hair determines the speed of the hair cycle. Facial hair grows much faster than leg hair and therefore requires more frequent and more numerous sessions. Number of sessions may vary from 4 to 10.
White, gray and red hairs do not respond to LHR.
Black hair on white skin responds the best.