Skin type and pigmentation can affect the type of treatment needed for laser hair removal. Because of this we offer two different options to our clients: The Cutera Coolglide and the ProWave 770.
The ProWave 770 treats almost all skin types I-V and is offers faster treatments with its larger treatment window. ProWave uses a programmable wavelength technology to emulate three different laser wavelengths and tailors the treatment to the patient’s unique skin characteristics.
The Cutera Coolglide is the Gold Standard laser for treating skin with darker pigments. With the Cutera Coolglide we can treat all skin types from the palest to the very darkest.
Both devices feature real-time calibration technology as well as built in cooling systems to protect the skin.
Lasers work by sending a beam of light at a specified wavelength to target melanin, the dark pigment found in skin and hair. Melanin is prevalent around the hair follicle, at the base of the hair. The light is converted to hot energy, which in turn disables the follicle and causes the hair to fall out (between 1 – 2 weeks after treatment).
It is for this reason that laser hair removal works best for those with light skin and dark hair; dark skin naturally contains more melanin, making it more difficult for the light to focus on its target.
It should be noted that technology is advancing rapidly in this area and there are now some lasers that have had success with darker skin.
Laser treatment is not effective for grey, white, blond or red hair.
The hair growth cycle consists of three stages: the growth stage (known as Anagen), the end of growth stage (known as Catagen) and the resting stage (known as Telogen).
Whilst the hair is in the Anagen, active growing stage, the cells in the papilla divide to produce new hair fibres and the follicle buries itself into the dermal layer of the skin to provide nourishment for the strand. This can last anything from 1 – 4 years, and is followed by the Catagen stage.
The Catagen stage (also termed transitional stage) lasts approximately 2 weeks, during which the follicle shrinks and the papilla detaches, cutting the hair strand off from its blood supply. As the follicle shrinks it pushes the hair upwards.
During the Telogen, resting stage the follicle remains dormant, and this can last from 1 – 4 months. At some point, the follicle will begin to grow again, the hair base will break free from the root and the hair will be shed. Within a couple of weeks, the new hair will begin to emerge.
The growing, or Anagen, phase then begins the cycle again.
The growth cycle is significant because laser hair removal treatment is only effective on actively growing hair i.e. during the Anagen stage, which is also when the melanin is at its most abundant.
All hair is not in the same growing stage at the same time, so when an area is treated only a percentage of the hair follicles will be affected. Therefore, it is necessary to re-treat these follicles once they have completed their cycle and returned to the growing stage.
The length of the growth cycle varies dependant upon a number of factors, most notably being the area of the body where it is growing. The table below shows the average hair growth cycle by body part:
It is important to understand that hair growth is determined genetically, and will vary from person to person, so the table illustrated is for guidance only and represents average timings.
The part of the body being treated will affect the length of time between treatments and how many are likely to be required.