Alexandrite Laser Hair Removal | The Alexandrite Laser Guide
Overview of the Alexandrite Laser
|Suitability||As with all lasers the Alexandrite laser is best suited to those with dark hair and light skin. That said, the Alexandrite laser can be used on those with tanned skin, too (always consult your physician for professional advice on what laser is best suited to your skin and hair types).|
|Results||There isn't a single laser on the market today that offers guaranteed results. Even some peope who seem have the perfect hair and skin type for laser hair removal treatment don't experience any results. If you do react well to laser hair removal then you'll likely see somewhere around a 50 - 70% reduction in hair growth after multiple sessions under the laser (usually 7 sessions is recommended).|
|Method||The Alexandrite laser is larger than the ruby laser and therefore is more suited to larger body areas. The Alexandrite laser works by firing pulses of light into the hair follicle - these pulses of light are absorbed by pigments in the hair called melalin - the hair follicle is heated up and damaged. The whole process is called selective photothermolysis.|
|Side Effects||Some people find the treatment painful - most describe the treatment similar to having an elastic band flicked at your skin repeatedly. You may experience a temporary change in skin pigmentation for a couple of days following the treatment. All other side effects (burns, lesions and scars) only occur when the laser has been handled incorrectly. This is why it's really important that you check the credentials of the person who will performing the laser hair removal operation on you.|
Alexandrite Laser Background Information
The Alexandrite laser was cleared in the US in 1997 and is thus the longest serving laser in the hair removal field. Because of this, there's a lot more clinicial evidence and research than for some of the more modern lasers (such as the Ruby laser). The Alexandrite laser is also the most commonly used laser.
Best results, as with all lasers, are usually attained from those with dark hair and light skin. An ideal candidate would be someone with very light skin and dark, course hair. The process of removing the hair is called selective photothermolysis - this basically means that the laser is designed to target the hair without affecting cells in the surrounding area. Unfortunately, for those with dark coloured skin, the light in the laser can be absorbed by the melalin in the skin aswell as the hair - when the high intensity laser is absorbed by melalin in the skin injuries such as burns, lesions and scars can occur. That's why people with dark skin should be cautious before going in for any kind of laser hair removal.
Permanent Hair Reduction
In the US, the FDA has come up with a definition for permanent hair removal:
Permanent Hair Removal - "Hair reduction must be stable over a time greater than the duration of the complete growth cycle of hair follicles".
The complete growth of hair follicles is between 4 - 12 months - so for a laser to legally claim permanent hair reduction in any form of marketing, they have to submit clinical data to suggest that permanent hair removal has lasted at least one year after the last session of laser hair removal. If you're in a laser hair removal clinic and claims such as "permanent hair removal" are being made, then you're well within your rights to ask for the clinical data to back these claims up. It's always recommended that you do your due dilligence before going in for laser hair removal.
The Alexandrite laser is similar to the ruby laser except the spot size is bigger and it has a longer wavelength. Both lasers are ineffective on light or white hair and results are subjective.
If you're considering going ahead with laser hair removal then I recommend that you read this post first to make sure that you ask the right questions during your initial consultation. Choosing the right laser hair clinic is very important - regulations are somewhat slack in both the UK and the US so due dilligence is necessary.