Cosmetic Surgery Tips

How Deep Does Laser Hair Removal Penetrate

Laser hair removal is the process of using lasers to destroy hair follicles. It should come as no surprise that lasers can remove hair because it is the hardest substance in the body. Laser hair removal is used for several different reasons, including body contouring, facial rejuvenation, and hair removal for darker skin tones.

The depth of penetration depends on how much energy you use with your laser and what type of laser you use. Some lasers are more powerful than others and can penetrate deeper into the skin than others. To find out how deep your laser will penetrate, it’s best to consult with a professional who specializes in lasers specifically for hair removal.

This article discusses what is fluence in laser hair removal and laser hair removal settings explained.

How Deep Does Laser Hair Removal Penetrate

Unwanted hair in certain body locations is a real problem for many and may cause considerable psychological distress.

Hair removal, also known as epilation or depilation, is the deliberate removal of unwanted body hair.

Conventional methods of hair removal include shaving, plucking, waxing, the application of depilatory creams and electrolysis. However, these methods only offer short-term results, and fail to provide a truly permanent solution to the problem of unwanted hair. Regular shaving, plucking, waxing, etc. can also be time consuming, painful, laborious and costly.

Laser hair removal can now offer a more permanent solution to the problem, and is increasingly sought after because it is effective and relatively painless. With this technology, laser light is absorbed by the pigment within the hair and converted into heat energy that damages the hair follicle preventing regrowth.

Different lasers are more effective at treating certain hair and skin types than others.

We, therefore, provide treatment with the following different laser systems to ensure that, whatever, your hair or skin type, we can offer an effective and more permanent hair removal solution that achieves optimum results:

  • Alexandrite 755nm LP laser – suitable for fair skin types (Fitzpatrick skin types I-III), large body areas, light and dark hair, coarse and fine hair
  • Diode 810nm LP laser – suitable for slightly darker skin types (Fitzpatrick skin types IV-V) and dark hair.
  • Nd Yag 1064nm LP laser – suitable for darker skin types (Fitzpatrick skin type VI) large, deep hairs and also ingrowing hairs
  • IPL 650 – 950nm light source – available at client request.

Because we offer the entire range of laser hair removal treatments, we can truly recommend the option that is best suited to your needs. Whatever we recommend, you can be assured that we are not using it because it is all we have to offer but because it is the best choice for you.

How does hair grow?

A hair consists of a shaft and a root. The shaft is visible above the surface of the skin and the root is buried beneath. Hairs pass through various stages of a growth cycle including anagen (active hair growth), telogen (resting phase) and catagen (where the hair falls out). The length of the cycle varies from one region of the body to another.

Anagen

Anagen

Catagen

Catagen

Telogen

Telogen

How does the treatment work?

Lasers and IPLs deliver a short pulse of light onto the skin’s surface. The light energy is converted into heat within the hair follicle. Heating the follicle prevents further regrowth of the hair. Lasers emit high energy at one specific wavelength (colours) in a single beam of light. Intense pulse light (IPL) is broadband light energy that delivers hundreds of wavelengths (or colors) in a single discharge. Providing the hair is in its growth stage (anagen) the heat can be transferred down the hair shaft to the base of the follicle, damaging the germination centre responsible for its regrowth.

How many treatments are needed?

On average 6 to 8 treatments are needed at 6 to 10 week intervals. The exact number of treatments required depends on several factors including hair colour, skin colour, hair density and the site of hair growth.

Can all hair colours be treated?

Lasers and IPL work highly effectively on dark hair because the pigment melanin absorbs the laser light. Fair hair can respond well, but white hair, grey hair, very blond hair and red hair respond poorly to lasers and IPL’s.

Can all parts of the body be treated?

We are able to treat all areas of the body safely, quickly and effectively.

Is the treatment permanent?

The permanence of laser hair removal is often questioned. In practice, no single laser system destroys all hair follicles. Some follicles are destroyed, others are miniaturized and some enter a prolonged resting phase. It is possible that, with a sufficient number of treatments, true permanent hair removal can be achieved.

What other treatment methods are available?

There are a number of traditional methods of removing unwanted hair; shaving, plucking, waxing, depilatory creams and electrolysis – all of which can be painful, time consuming or only temporarily effective.

Is the treatment painful?

By utilizing refrigerated cold air directed over the skin’s surface during the procedure, we ensure that most patients experience no more than a mild stinging sensation.

Are their any after-effects following treatment?

Redness, and some discomfort of the area (like sunburn) may be present for the first few days following treatment. Blistering may occur in a small minority of patients, and this settles without treatment in a few days. Rarely, the pigment in the skin may be affected, resulting in the treated area appearing lighter or darker. This usually settles in time.

Who performs the treatment?

Our expert medical team has in excess of 25 years laser experience and have completed more than 120,000 successful treatments. Rest assured, you are in safe hands. Doctors, nurses, and practitioners who are fully qualified to perform all procedures work at our Cambridge Laser Clinic.
To ensure the highest ethical standards are maintained at all times, our staff are never offered bonus incentives to sell treatments.

Is laser treatment safe?

There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that laser treatment can lead to skin disorders or an increased risk of skin cancer.

What Is Fluence In Laser Hair Removal

In radiometry, fluence is the radiant energy or exposure received by a surface area. In other words, it is a precise measurement of the energy that any point on a surface area, in this case the skin, receives.

Alexandrite Laser Hair Removal

To ensure superior results for all the different combinations of hair types and skin colour, multiple laser wavelengths are required. We offer the entire range of 3 laser systems and IPL enabling us to take advantage of each technologies strengths without being limited by its weaknesses.

Expert hair removal requires a highly skilled laser operator who has the ability to safely alter the following laser parameters:

  • Wavelength (colour of light)
  • Pulse Width (shutter speed)
  • Spot size (measured usually in mm)
  • Fluence (power)

The appropriate selection ensures optimal destruction of the hair follicle without collateral damage to the surrounding skin.

Laser Wavelength (Colour of light)

Depth of Penetration by Wavelength

Depth Of Penetration By Wavelength

The selection of the most appropriate laser wavelength is essential as it enables

  • The safe treatment of all skin types. Lighter skin types respond well to the Alexandrite 755nm laser whilst darker skin types respond to the Nd Yag 1064nm laser. The diode 810nm laser is very useful for moderate skin types.
  • Effective treatment of multiple depths of hair follicles. The base of the hair follicle can lie between 2 to 7mm below the skins surface and hence, some hair follicles are superficial (e.g. upper lip) whilst others are much deeper (e.g. Bikini). Optimal results hence require multiple laser wavelengths enabling the operator to target all the follicles situated at different depths.
  • The treatment of different colours of hair. Effective treatment of light coloured fine hair requires a laser with a high attraction to melanin such as the Alexandrite 755nm laser. Darker thicker hairs will respond better to the diode 810nm laser or Nd Yag 1064nm laser.

Laser Pulse Width (Shutter speed)

The selection of the appropriate pulse width is essential, as it enables the operator to target hairs of different diameters.

  • Fine hairs heat up quickly but are unable to hold the heat and require short pulse widths, usually in the range of 5–10 ms.
  • Thicker hairs heat more slowly and hence require much longer pulse widths, usually ranging from 40-60ms.

Often as a course of laser hair removal progresses, the follicles miniaturize and hair becomes finer, requiring a reduction in pulse width to ensure continued effective treatment.

Laser Spot Size

Small spot sizes are most effective for the treatment of smaller superficial hair follicles, while larger spot sizes are ideal for deeper targets. The larger the spot size the deeper the laser penetration.

Bigger spot sizes also enable the operator to rapidly treat larger body areas with comfort and ease.

Superior results are hence achieved with a large range of different spot sizes.

Spot Size and Depth of Optical Penetration

Spot Size and Depth of Optical Penetration Chart

Laser Power (Fluence)

The more powerful the laser, the better the outcome. Any cheap, low powered laser system can induce a temporary hair loss lasting between 1-3 months. Permanent hair reduction requires high quality lasers that can produce the large amounts of power needed to heat the follicle to 65–70 degrees Celsius, ensuring irreversible damage to the hair.

Gold Standard hair removal lasers should be capable of delivering the following types of energy:

  • Short pulse durations with high peak power enable energy to be confined to smaller hair follicles.
  • Longer pulse durations with low peak power slowly heat larger hair follicles.
Chart Pulse Durations

The use of high quality lasers with variable wavelengths, variable pulse durations, variable spot sizes and variable fluences enable a skilled laser operator to achieve far superior results.

Irrespective of the hair colour, skin colour, hair thickness or follicle depth, we have a laser for all prospective clients.

The majority of clinics in the UK utilize IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) to deliver hair removal. This is often incorrectly termed Laser Hair Removal (An IPL device is not a laser it is a light source) and described as the superior method of hair removal.

It is clinically proven that IPL is as a rule, far less effective at a given task than a laser dedicated to that purpose.

A high quality laser must be accompanied by a skilled operator for superior results.

Because we offer the entire range of laser hair removal treatments, we can truly recommend the option that is best suited to your needs. Whatever we recommend, you can be assured that we are not using it because it is all we have to offer but because it is the best choice for you.

Laser Hair Removal Parameters

Permanent hair removal requires the destruction of the hair bulb located deep beneath the skin. For this application, lasers are becoming a popular alternative to electrolysis. This shift is occurring because lasers are noninvasive and the precision of the beam minimizes unnecessary damage to the surrounding skin, resulting in less pain and fewer side-effects. Lasers emit short pulses of infrared light that pass through the skin and primarily affect only the pigmented cells within the hair bulb. The heat from the laser permanently damages the cells, which prevents any further hair production.

In order to damage only hair bulb cells and not the surrounding skin, the operator must tune the laser to emit pulses that have been optimized for five important factors:

  • Fluence: the amount of energy delivered within the laser spot
  • Pulse Duration: the length of time of a pulse
  • Frequency: the rate at which pulses occur
  • Pulse Profile: the shape of the pulse
  • Wavelength: the emission wavelength or wavelengths emitted by the laser

The best settings for the laser depend on each patient’s hair color and coarseness, skin color, and skin sensitivity. Because of the large variability among hair and skin types, no single setting works for everyone. For this reason, dermatologists often own more than one type of laser hair-removal instrument.

Diode lasers offer a significant cost advantage when used in dermatologic equipment for three reasons:

  1. Compact Size: Laser diodes are small, light, and power efficient, meaning they can be located within the handpiece of the treatment instrument.
  2. Variable Wavelength: Individual laser diodes emit light at a specific wavelength, and multiple diodes can be bundled to create multiple wavelengths for the treatment of a wide variety of patients. For example: 760nm, 808nm and 1064nm in a single array.
  3. Adjustable Power: The power emitted by a laser diode can be controlled electronically with high speed and accuracy, which gives complete control over the fluence and profile of the laser pulses.

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