Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is one of the light-based, permanent hair removal procedures, which also includes procedures like Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Super Hair Removal (SHR). Unlike traditional methods like waxing, laser hair removal is non-invasive and relatively painless. At The Clifford Clinic, we utilise 2 main lasers for hair removal in Singapore: The 808nm Diode Laser and the 1064nm Long-pulsed laser. The combination of these 2 lasers ensure better coverage for a more well-rounded treatment.
Why hair removal?
Some reasons of hair removal include:
- Ingrown hairs. This occurs when the hair shaft does not emerge from the skin and instead grow beneath it. This can cause itchy or painful sores that may become pus-filled. Ingrown hairs may look like acne, and can arise from them, but are not to be mistaken for the same thing.
- Personal hygiene. Excessive hair growth in certain regions like the armpit and groin tend to trap dirt and bacteria. This can lead to foul odours, skin irritation or occasionally bacterial/fungal infection.
- Purely aesthetic reasons. Some people may want to remove the fine hairs on their arms or their facial hair permanently simply because they are unsightly.
How does Laser hair removal work?
Laser removal, like most other light-based hair removal treatments, works by targeting the melanin in the hair and hair follicles. As a dark pigment, melanin absorbs light and laser energy readily and heats up. This causes controlled, localised damage to hair follicles. Hair growth from the damaged follicles cease and any existing hair will shed eventually to leave you with smooth and hairless skin.
The Clifford Clinic uses both the 808nm Diode Laser and the 1064nm Long-pulsed Laser for hair removal. The 2 lasers have different penetration depths, targeting both shallow and deeper-rooted hairs respectively.
Also, Laser hair removal is not instant. Although some may see noticeably less hair immediately after the first session, most people see the best results after 2 to 6 sessions, depending on the individual and the location treated.
How does Laser hair removal differ from Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Super Hair Removal (SHR)?
Like previously mentioned, all 3 treatments work by using light energy to damage hair follicles. However, what sets Laser hair removal apart from the others is its specificity.
IPL and SHR uses bursts high-intensity light for hair removal. IPL releases the light energy in a single, highly intense burst/pulse on each treatment area, while SHR uses several, lower intensity pulses. Both treatments however, employs generic, non-specific light energy which can interact with the surrounding skin, reducing the energy delivered to the hair follicles.
Diode and Long-pulsed Laser hair removal however, are highly specific. The 808nm and 1064nm lasers deliver energy directly to the hair and hair follicles with minimal interaction with the surrounding skin.
Effective hair removal on dark or tattooed skin
Because melanin is also skin pigment, many light/laser-based hair removal procedures can burn or create white patches on the skin. This is especially so for IPL and SHR which utilises non-specific light energy. The more pigment in the skin, the more it will interfere with the treatment. Hence, IPL and SHR are generally not recommended for those with darker skin tones.
On the other hand, the specific laser energy delivered by the Diode and Long-pulsed lasers target the melanin in the hair follicles directly, having minimal interaction with skin pigment. Hence, Laser hair removal is a much safer treatment for darker-skinned individuals.
Most hair follicles are located between 2 to 5mm from the skin surface. The 808nm Diode Laser and 1064nm Long-pulsed Laser are specially tuned to penetrate the skin at about 4mm and 5mm respectively. The lasers’ effective depth matches the depth of hair follicles, allowing accurate and precise delivery of laser energy to the treatment depth, maximising effects while minimising unnecessary disturbance to the surrounding tissue. These make them ideal for laser hair removal.
Firstly, the treatment area may need to be shaved as lasers can singe the hairs and cause minor burns. After which, the doctor administers the desired laser treatment and may make several passes over the treatment area. If the 808nm Diode Laser is used, a cooling gel will be first applied, which acts as both a coolant and lubricant to minimise discomfort.
There is typically no downtime after each session and patients can resume their daily activities immediately.
How long is each session?
Each laser hair removal takes about 30 minutes on average. The actual duration may be slightly shorter or longer depending on the size of the treatment area.
When can I see results?
The best results of laser hair removal come after 2 to 6 repeated treatment sessions over several weeks.
Is there any downtime?
There is typically no downtime and you can resume daily activities immediately after the treatment. However, it is highly recommended to avoid the sun for several days to prevent hyperpigmentation.
Are there any side effects?
Laser hair removal has no serious side effects and is a very safe treatment. Those with more sensitive skin may experience slight swelling and possibly blistering, but these will usually subside quickly with no long-term detrimental effects.
Am I suitable for laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal works like most other laser treatments, making it suitable for anyone who can undergo laser skin treatment. However, because it works by interacting with melanin pigment in the hair, the effects may be slightly reduced on those with lighter coloured hair and darker skin. More treatment sessions may be required in this case.
Those with darker skin are recommended to undergo the 1064nm Long-pulsed Laser treatment as it has the least interaction with the surrounding skin.
Additionally, laser hair removal is not recommended for tattooed skin as the laser can remove the pigment of the tattoos as well.
If you are unsure about your suitability or keen to know more about laser hair removal in Singapore, arrange a consultation session with our doctors. They will provide professional advice on which is the most suitable treatment for you.