Laser and IPL machine based methods, sometimes called phototricholysis or photoepilation, are now most commonly referred to collectively as laser hair removal. One of the first published articles describing laser hair removal was authored by the group at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1998.
The efficacy of laser hair removal is now generally accepted in the dermatology community, and laser hair removal is widely practiced. Many reviews of laser hair removal methods, safety, and efficacy have been published in the dermatology literature.
Mechanism of action:
The primary principle behind laser hair removal is selective photothermolysis (SPTL). Lasers can cause localized damage by selectively heating dark target matter, (melanin), in the area that causes hair growth, (the follicle), while not heating the rest of the skin. Light is absorbed by dark objects, so laser energy can be absorbed by dark material in the skin (but with much more speed and intensity). This dark target matter, or chromophore, can be naturally-occurring or artificially introduced.
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Laser hair removal has become extremely popular because of its speed and efficacy, although some of the efficacy is dependent upon the skill and experience of the laser operator, and the choice and availability of different laser technology at the clinic which is performing the procedure. Some will need touch up treatments, especially on large areas, after the initial set of 3 to 8 treatments. It has also been observed that some people seem to be non-responders this is not confirmed and reasons are not known, and may in fact be due to lack of skill on the part of many laser operators and or the type of machine and settings they are using.
Hair removal lasers have been in use since 1997 and has been approved for permanent hair reduction in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).The FDA is use of the word permanent here is not without controversy. Indeed, many patients have laser hair removal experience near complete regrowth of hair on their treated areas in the years following their last treatment.