Laser hair removal is based on the premise of selective photothermolysis; the preferential and selective destruction of the follicular unit, resulting in significant hair reduction in treated areas.
By selecting the correct wavelength of light and then properly adjusting the pulse width, the laser’s light is able to pass, unaffected, through the top layer of skin, and into the deeper dermis, where the hair follicle resides. Here, at the follicular level, the laser energy
is absorbed and transformed into heat that disables the follicle. As a result, hair growth is then impaired without affecting the surrounding tissue. At Suncoast Skin Solutions, we have the premier laser for hair removal, the GentleLase by Candela. This system removes unwanted body hair without damaging the delicate pores and structure of the skin.
The target molecule for the heat absorption is the pigment of melanin of the follicle. For the laser to be effective, the hair pigment must be darker than the surrounding skin pigment. If this is not the case, the treatment will not be effective, and complications may occur. Early in the evolution of the procedure, patients with Fitzpatrick skin types V or VI (very dark skinned) were not candidates, and even patients with skin types III and
IV were at high risk. This is why darker, coarser hairs in paler patients are easiest to remove with laser technology. With newer technologies, however, most patients can now be treated, though caution must still be exercised.