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Laser Hair Removal – Understanding How It Works

THE OLOGY APPROACH TO LASER HAIR REMOVAL

The fundamentals of our treatment program is based on scientific evidence and research on the nature of the hair growth cycle.

1) HAIR GROWTH CYCLES

Growth Phase

ANAGEN Active hair growth phase. It is during this stage that the hair follicle is

directly connected to the blood vessels. It is ONLY during this stage that
we can permanently disable hair growth. The life of the hair is in the
blood. If we cut off the blood supply, we can prevent re-growth.

Dormant Phase

CATAGEN The hair has stooped growing. While we can still see the hair, it is no
Longer connected to the blood supply. Thus, while the hair can be
destroyed during this phase, it cannot be permanently disabled. The hair
will grow back in time.

Shedding Phase

TELOGEN During this phase, the hair is completely dormant. It is no longer connected
to anything and it is preparing to fall out. This hair will shed once a new
Anagen hair begins to form below.

Because of the hair growth cycle, this is why there are 5 treatments spread out over the natural hair growth cycle of the specific body part. Not all hairs are in Anagen at the same time.

Understanding the nature of the way hair grows is the foundation of our laser treatments. Since medical science has determined that the only time hair can be permanently disabled is during the Anagen growth phase, it remains only to determine the length of the growth cycle.

2) DIFFERING HAIR GROWTH CYCLES

Medical research has conclusively shown that hair growth cycles differ on various parts of the body. This means that different areas must be treated differently. Not all body hair is alike. For example, any any given time, 85% of the hair on your scalp is in the Anagen phase and lasts between two to six years. So, most of the hair on your head is actively growing at any given time. Conversely, your eyebrows have only about 10% of the hair in the Anagen phase at any one time and the phase lasts between three to nine weeks. Have you ever wondered why the hair on your head can grow long while your eyebrows remains fairly uniform in length?

Since the hair growth cycle varies so dramatically on different parts of the body, it is important to know these cycles in order to effectively treat the hair. The lip and chin have different cycles than the legs and underarms. You must treat the hair on each part of the body at the right time!

3) LASER TECHNOLOGY AND THERMOSELECTIVITY

Treating hair at the right time is important, but that is not the complete picture. To be successful, we must also treat hair in the right way. This is where laser technology plays a role.

The hair follicle is three to five millimeters below the surface. The laser target is in the melanin of the hair. Melanin is the pigment that gives hair and skin color. The darker the hair, the more melanin it contains. Essentially, the hair follicle acts as a conduit, conducting the laser energy (heat) to the hair bulb (where the blood vessels are). As the hair is heated, the connection to the blood vessels are cauterized. As a result, blood can no longer supply the necessary nutrients and hair growth is no longer possible. All the hair in the target area will be affected during the laser procedure but only the hair follicles in the Anagen phase will be permanently disabled

The important issue is how to deliver enough power to destroy the hair follicle while leaving the surrounding skin unharmed. This is done through the long-pulse 1064nm Alexandrite laser or high-intensity broad band light. (BBL) The laser energy is delivered in such a way that enough heat is delivered to the hair follicle to disable it but allows the skin cells to shed the energy and not be harmed.

With this understanding of hair growth science and laser technology, it is now possible to understand that laser hair treatments change how the hair follicles grows and may destroy some but not all of the treated hair.

Dr Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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Dr. Barry EppleyDr. Barry Eppley

Dr. Barry Eppley is an extensively trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon with more than 20 years of surgical experience. He is both a licensed physician and dentist as well as double board-certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This training allows him to perform the most complex surgical procedures from cosmetic changes to the face and body to craniofacial surgery. Dr. Eppley has made extensive contributions to plastic surgery starting with the development of several advanced surgical techniques. He is a revered author, lecturer and educator in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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