You have a medical practice or a spa and you want to offer laser hair removal services. For business, it is a good bet as hair removal is one of the most common forms of cosmetic treatments. There are many cosmetic laser machines that can let you add hair removal to your business. But, which is best? Before you jump into the machines, you should understand a bit about the technology behind laser hair removal.
What Happens During A Laser Treatment?
Lasers emit a tight beam of light that is absorbed into the hair follicle and damages it by heating it up. While all lasers operate on the principle of damaging the hair follicle, the different technologies reach the hair follicles in different ways. The settings on the lasers allow the operator to treat hair while not damaging the surrounding tissue by emitting light that is only absorbed by the targeted hair and follicle. The damage to the follicle can prevent the hair from growing back.
The laser’s beam can treat an area approximately the size of a quarter each second, heating each hair follicle in the scope of the beam. For experienced technicians, treating hair on the upper lip can take as little as 1 – 2 minutes. However, that treatment time is only for the application of the laser treatment. The laser must be calibrated for each patient to be sure surrounding tissue is not damaged.
While the basic premise of the procedures are the same, how this is achieved differs by laser technology. Variations in the technology mean some are faster, but perhaps limited in the skin and hair types they can treat. Others may be more gentle, but require multiple treatments. This may even take from 3 to 7 treatments for some types of lasers (see below). As you review the different types of laser technology, keep your clientele in mind; you may want more than one type of laser.
Skin type considerations for treatment options
No two people have exactly the same skin. Lasers must be set to operate with parameters that are determined by the patient’s skin attributes. Some laser technology can treat a broader range of skin types without changing the adjustments. Before providing any treatment, technicians must fully understand the functions of the particular laser being used.
Types of Laser Technologies For Hair Removal
Alexandrite lasers are best for light skin to olive skin complexion patients, and usually better suited for larger areas like the back. The Alexandrite laser offer faster pulsing (speeding up treatment), but causes more discomfort for the patient. Typically a single treatment will be sufficient to prevent regrowth of the hair. However, if hair does grow back, it will much thinner.
The original laser technology applied for removal of lighter or finer hair, the Ruby laser is not appropriate for darker or tanned skin. The pulse is slower, leading to less irritation for the patient. While treatment times may take longer, it is more comfortable for your client.
Diode Laser Treatments
Diode laser treatments are not a 1-time session. Several treatments will be required for reliable hair removal. Each diode treatment can be done relatively quickly, with minimal irritation, though there may be some redness that will go away soon after treatment.
IPL Treatment For Hair Removal
Intense Pulse Light (IPL) hair removal is a relatively gentle method of laser treatment. IPL technology is best suited for patients with lighter skin and darker hair as the light pulse is absorbed by the darker color pigment.
Nd:YAG Laser Technology
Nd:YAG lasers are capable of treating a range of cosmetic needs including hair removal. Treatment involves the application of a carbon lotion that aids in the hair follicles’ absorption of the specific Nd:YAG laser wavelength. This treatment may cause some patients more irritation that other laser technologies.
Providing hair removal treatments is a great way to boost revenue for your spa or practice. Before you select a laser, you should consider your client base, typical skin types (if any are typical) and how you want to treat patients – offer single visit treatments or quick multi-visits. You may be able to start with a single laser type, but more typically you may want to have several laser technologies in order to offer more treatment types.
Of course, if you would like to discuss your plans, we can help you identify the right laser to offer hair removal services at your practice.
For more about laser technologies in cosmetic treatment, click here.