Laser hair removal destroys the hair follicle by exposing the unwanted hair to pulses of laser light. The procedure became commercially available in the 1990s and has since become an effective hair-removal option. Intense pulsed light, or IPL, is the most common method and uses interspersed flashes to remove hair.
The laser produces a focused beam of light that targets the melanin in the hair. The beam uses a specific wavelength to detect the melanin in the hair and at the follicle or hair bulb. The melanin absorbs the light after the beam passes through the skin and the hair is destroyed. This procedure works best on patients that have hair that is darker than their skin color. Patients with darker skin may require a "long-wave" laser such as a YAG laser. This laser is safer for darker skin and does not burn the skin while attempting to target and remove hair. Most patients make an average of three to five visits to permanently remove hair. The benefits of using laser hair removal includes precision, speed and predictability. The laser is precise and requires only a fraction of a second to remove multiple hairs in a targeted area. The procedure also results in permanent hair loss more than 90 percent of the time.