Laser

Body Hair Removal For Men


LASER is the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Coagulation is the biological result when light interacts with eumelanin to kill the hair follicle and dermal papilla.

It is a high-technology beam of light that can transfer energy through the skin to a specific part of the body.

The beam of light stays straight and unaltered (collimated) up to the point of contact.

If this device is uncontrolled and misused, it can lead to extreme tissue damage.

Class 4 lasers should be administered by a medical practitioner, or by a therapist under his supervision.

Coagulation is the biological result when broad spectrum visible light interacts with the chromophore eumelanin to kill the hair follicle and dermal papilla.

Laser classification relates to the type of medical device in use. Manufacturers must comply with the United States Federal Laser Product Performance Standard requirements.





History of lasers

The process of stimulated emission was originally described by Albert Einstein in the early 1900s. The first device was only built years later.

The history of these fascinating devices started in 1960 with the Ruby laser.

At the time of writing this page, it is exactly 50 years later, and boy oh boy, have technology made progress with the prototype model!


My personal experience

Soon after this photo epilation hair removal method became available in South Africa, my daughter and I decided to go for “permanent” hair removal treatments. During that time it was still being advertised as permanent. That was during the South African winter in July 1999.

Both my daughter and myself have naturally dark hair and Fitzpatrick classification type III skins. Before this treatment, I had been doing all kinds of hair removal methods for about 30 years, but I preferred waxing. My daughter, Melissa, preferred shaving because she found waxing too painful.

Melissa had just turned 14 and was starting with her life-long battle against unwanted body hair. I decided to spare her this “hell” and rather have it removed permanently! I went for bikini line and full legs and Melissa for underarms, bikini line and full legs.

That was long before the FDA decreed that light-based or photo-epilation methods may only use “reduction” and only electrolysis may use “permanent removal”.


Results of our treatments

Because of the extremely high price, I could only afford two treatments for each of us. To ensure that most of the hair were in the active growing anagen phase, I decided to stretch the time between our two appointments to 12 weeks. I’m very glad I did, because my results were spectacular!

My daughter didn’t get the same huge benefits from the two treatments. I think the reason for my success might have been because of my long history with hair waxing (weakened follicles) and minimal shaving.

My treatment results definitely proved to be permanent. It is more than a decade later and I still simply tweeze out the few hair that make their appearance. Roughly once a month.


Pre-treatment preparation

We had to wait several months for an appointment at the clinic. By that time we were both nicely bleached out after no sun exposure for months. This is VERY important. The only method of hair removal method permitted before and during treatment, is shaving.


Our first treatment experience

I experienced it as quite bearable – not painful, just uncomfortable. It felt like being pricked with a pin over and over again. Some people describe the sensation as being snapped with a rubber band.

I think that is making it much worse than it actually is. It was interesting to notice that the hair continued growing for a few days and then stopped.


Our second treatment experience

This treatment was performed by another cosmetologist. She used too high settings on the machine and we were both burned. It is nowadays common practice to apply some type of skin cooling before, during and after treatment.

But it wasn’t the practice back then. The result was our skins couldn’t cope with the continuous heat that formed inside the follicles when it absorbed the light. Our skins overheated and formed blisters.

The proteins in the hair, the follicle as well as the dermal papilla are killed by this short, but very rapid, heat increase. Both of us formed blisters all over our legs directly after the treatment. The prone position and dark safety goggles prevented us from noticing anything during the treatment.


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After-treatment home care

We were shocked! The doctor calmed us down and assured us that it won’t leave permanent marks. I must confess that we were very sceptical. The treatment should always be performed under the guidance of a medical doctor or dermatologist. After the scabs fell off we were left with brown hyper-pigmentation spots from crotch to ankles.

We looked like guinea-fowl. The doctor prescribed a cream containing Hydroquinone (banned since then) that had to be mixed by the pharmacist to bleach our skins. We kept out of the sun the coming summer (again) and luckily the brown spots totally faded away.


Shedding of dead hair

I can’t exactly remember how soon the telogen phase shedding process started, but it continued for a while. The dead hair inside the follicles were visible as tiny little black dots. When squeezing it like a pimple, the dead hair shaft easily popped out.


Laser technology

It is now accepted that hair can be removed for up to one year and will grow back in fewer numbers and will be lighter in colour afterwards. Factors such as type of hair, colour, texture and location of the hair have an influence upon the success rate.

The best results are achieved with very dark terminal body hair on a light skin. Dark and/or tanned skins can be burned, because of the high melanin content. The newest hair removal systems are able to treat brown and black skins.

Results are very poor to non-existent on white, grey, light blonde or red hair because of an absence if dark pigment (eumelanin) to convert the light beam into energy to kill the follicle.

For some unknown reason, some people don’t respond to the treatment at all. The treatment is fast and extremely expensive, but not really painful.

Male hair removal with light based methods is called photo-epilation. Examples of photo-epilation or photo-thermal coagulation are laser and intense pulsed light (IPL).

This is still a relatively young application. The Q-switched Ruby laser was the first laser to attempt hair removal in 1995. The success was limited and other lasers were then tested.

The technique of selective absorption is followed. Most lasers that are suitable for hair removal, either fall in the visible colour spectrum of 380nm-750nm, or infra-red spectrum 750nm-10,000nm.

Wavelengths are measured in nanometer, which is about one billionth of a meter in length. Every type of machine works on just one unique wavelength.

Suitable types for hair removal are Ruby (690nm), Alexandrite (780nm), Diode (810nm) and Nd:YAG (1064nm). Intense pulsed light (IPL) has a standard range of wavelengths between 500-1200nm and is therefore also suitable for hair reduction.


Other uses for lasers

They are applied in the industrial, medical, surgical, dermatological, dental, gyneacological, opthalmological, etc fields. The use and specific purpose dictate which technology will be used to build a specific type of device.

The same basics are used to produce vastly different devices for different uses. Adhere to prescribed maintenance and preventative services.

Other uses are engraving, to remove tattoo, spider vein removal, acne treatment, welding, printers and pointers used during presentations.

All lasers share the same important characteristics which makes this light different from any other light. The specific characteristics are: coherency, collimation and monocromacity.


Body areas that can be treated

Because of the long time span (up to one year) without hair, this treatment is becoming increasingly more popular amongst men and women alike. It can be used safely on ALL areas of the body, but with caution inside the ear and nose canals.

Hair removal is commonly done on lip, chin, ear lobes, shoulders, back, underarms, abdomen, buttocks, pubic area, bikini lines, thighs, face, neck, cleavage, chest, arms, legs, hands, and toes. Very popular for male pubic hair removal.

Many transgender men choose it for permanent facial hair removal (reduction) before their sex change operations. Hair on certain genital areas must also be removed permanently before sex reassignment surgery can take place. These clients normally have to choose between this treatment and electrolysis.

Body hair removal by men is commonly known as manscaping. A hairless back, the end of a unibrow or monobrow, a clean hairline at the back of the neck, or a throat free from ingrown hair (pseudofolliculitis barbae) and razor burn are all very good reasons to seriously consider laser hair removal treatments.


Typical cost laser hair removal

The number of treatments, and therefore the cost, totally depends upon the hair follicle density and size of the treatment area. Very coarse, dense hair on a large area will require more treatments than a few fine hair on a small area.

The laser hair removal prices will differ greatly from salon to salon and from country to country. You should shop around for the best deals. Laser hair removal cost should not be your only criteria when making your decision.

You must calculate all the time spent with different hair removal methods. Also keep in mind the cost of all the things (razor blades, shaving foam etc) you use before deciding against this treatment.

Consider the hair reduction treatment as an investment in yourself, put some money aside, and de-fuzz permanently. Do the area you spend most of your hair removal time on first. Only then move on to other areas you consider as less important.


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