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Hair Removal System

Hair Removal System

How does laser hair removal work?


Laser hair removal works by targeting hair at the root to damage the follicle. The light energy from the laser enters the skin and is absorbed by melanin surrounding the hair follicle. Melanin is naturally present in the hair follicle , it is considered the primary chromophore for all hair removal lasers currently on the market.  


Melanin occurs naturally in the skin and gives skin and hair their color. There are two types of melanin in hair. Eumelanin gives hair brown or black color, while pheomelanin gives hair blonde or red color. When melanin targeted with the laser in the right stage of hair growth, the hair follicle overheats damaging the bulb, preventing further hair growth.


The primary principle behind laser hair removal is selective photothermolysis (SPTL), the matching of a specific wavelength of light and pulse duration to obtain optimal effect on a targeted tissue with minimal effect on surrounding tissue. 


Because of the selective absorption of photons of laser light, Laser works best with dark coarse hair. Light skin and dark hair are an ideal combination, being most effective and producing the best results, but lasers such as the Nd:YAG laser are able to target black hair in patients with dark skin with some success.

Hair removal lasers have been in use since 1997 and have been approved for "permanent hair reduction" in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

There are three main types of lasers.

Several wavelengths of laser energy have been used for hair removal, from visible light to near-infrared radiation. These lasers are characterized by their wavelength, measured in nanometers (nm):



755 nm


All skin types


1064 nm


Darker complexion

Intense pulsed light (IPL is not a laser)

650 nm

Not a laser

Pale to medium

Pulsed diode array

810 nm


Pale to medium


Alexandrite: The Alexandrite laser has a higher repetition rate than other lasers and an increased spot size capacity ,therefore its a excellent choice covering larger areas of skin rapidly. Alexandrite laser has excellent depth of penetration( light bypasses the melanin in the epidermis and aims straight for the dark matter in the hair follicle), making it one of the quickest and most effective methods available requiring fewer than average number of treatment.  

ND:YAG: Nd-Yag is the newest type of laser in the market, specifically developed for safe and efficient hair removal on taned and darker skin types. It is less effective for light or fine hair when compared to other types of lasers.

IPL: IPL-based  called "phototricholysis" or "photoepilation", use xenon flash lamps that emit full spectrum light. . IPL works better on thick, dark hair.

Diode: Diode boasts good melanin absorption and high depth of penetration into the hair follicles, allowing for safer treatment as the upper layers of the skin are protected against the laser beams. This makes the Diode laser safer for darker skin types.


Spot Size

Another important aspect of laser treatment is Spot size, or the width of the laser beam, that directly affects the depth of penetration of the light energy . Larger beam diameters or those devices that has a linear scanning results in deeper deposition of energy and hence can induce higher temperatures in deeper follicles. Hair removal lasers have a spot size about the size of a fingertip (3–18mm).


Fluence or energy density is another important consideration. Fluence is measured in joules per square centimeter (J/cm²). It's important to get treated at high enough settings to heat up the follicles enough to disable them from producing hair.

Epidermal cooling has been determined to allow higher fluences and reduce pain and side effects, especially in darker skin. Three types of cooling have been developed:

· Contact cooling: through a window cooled by circulating water or other internal coolant. This type of cooling is by far the most efficient method of keeping the epidermis protected since it provides a constant heat sink at the skin surface. Sapphire windows are much more conductive than quartz.

· Cryogen spray: sprayed directly onto the skin immediately before and/or after the laser pulse

· Air cooling: forced cold air at -34 °C


The difference between Laser and IPL hair removal


The key difference between laser and IPL is the type of light. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is a broadband pulsed light source, whereas laser is a monochromatic coherent light source. Both methods target the melanin in the hair follicle and permanent results can be expected from both.


Professional laser treatment is working more selective and therefore the very high energy will focus on the hair follicle rather than surrounding skin. Therefore Professional laser will lead to fast results as well as being suitable to darker skin tones. Energy, frequency and hair colour are all determining factors in the efficacy of the treatment, while the light source, whether it is a laser or an intense pulsed flash light plays a minor role.


Laser Monochromatic coherent light source     IPL Broadband pulsed light source


A 2006 review article in the journal Lasers in Medical Science compared intense pulsed light (IPL) epilators and both alexandrite and diode lasers. The review found no statistical difference in short term effectiveness, but a higher incidence of side effects with diode laser based treatment. Hair reduction after 6 months was reported as 68.75% for alexandrite lasers, 71.71% for diode lasers, and 66.96% for IPL. Side effects were reported as 9.5% for alexandrite lasers, 28.9% for diode lasers, and 15.3% for IPL. All side effects were found to be temporary and even pigmentation changes returned to normal within 6 months.


IPLs offer certain advantages over laser, principally in the pulse duration. While lasers may output trains of short pulses to simulate a longer pulse, IPL systems can generate pulse widths up to 250 ms, which is useful for larger diameter targets. Some current IPL systems have proven to be more successful in the removal of hair and blood vessels than many lasers.

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