The 1064nm Nd:Yag laser targets blood. The laser energy heats and destroys the blood supply of the stem cells at the base of the hair follicle, which essentially kills the hair follicle. The hair will then fall out about 2 to 3 weeks after the treatment. Our Fotona Nd:Yag 1064nm laser has a computerized scanner that allows an area to be scanned quickly, safely, comfortably, and effectively. It fires each beam of the laser in a pattern to minimize the risk of overheating any area while it spaces each beam of the laser to ensure a 13% or more overlap so that no follicle is missed. Additionally, cool air is blown on the treatment area during the procedure (and sometimes a gel is applied to the skin) to further prevent overheating of the skin ensure patient comfort.
Hairs go through different phases of growth and only hairs in the active growth phase have enough blood supply to generate enough heat to kill the stem cells of the hair follicle. Follicles in other phases of the growth cycle will not be affected or killed during the treatment. Thus, multiple treatments are needed to kill each of the sequentially actively growing crops of hairs to result in significant hair reduction. Most people need at least 6 treatments usually scheduled 6 – 12 weeks apart. Certain body areas and certain people may require more treatments.
You may shave or cut your hairs, but you shouldn’t pluck or wax between treatments because that damages the hairs and their blood supply, making a poor target for the laser and then those damaged hair are likely to be “missed” with the subsequent treatment, only to likely regrow some time later.
Other treatment modalities are available elsewhere for permanent hair reduction such as electrolysis and IPL laser treatments but they have their drawbacks. Electrolysis uses a small electrical current applied to a single hair follicle at time, which is why it is much more tedious and time consuming to perform. IPL or intense pulse light lasers targeting the melanin or pigment in the hair itself. This type of treatment is not effective for light (blond or white) hairs that lack sufficient pigment and for patients of color or with darker skin, the IPL treatment can stimulate the pigment (melanin) in their skin and cause abnormal skin pigmentation that may be permanent. The Nd:Yag laser, in contrast, can treat lighter hairs and is safe for all skin types.