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Selecting Lasers (Part 1)

Lasers have been around for a while and I believe they will continue to be an important tool in the arsenal for skin care treatments. When I first started in this field, I was intimidated by them, but these feelings passed as I got experience and learned about their wonderful applications. So today, I would like to discuss lasers for hair removal; do stay tuned, since I will discuss other uses in the next blogs.

When choosing a hair removal laser, I recommend you start by analyzing your skin type. Some machines are safer than others due to the wavelength of the emitted light. For example, the 1064 nm YAG is the safest for all skin types, specially the darker ones, since the laser can bypass superficial layers of the skin reaching the hair follicle at deeper levels, while being less selective for melanin. However, when dealing with lighter or thinner hair, it may not be as effective. In this case, other options are considered such as the alexandrite at 755 nm, the diode at 800-810nm, the ruby at 694nm, and the IPL (although not a laser).

The ruby was the first laser introduced and should only be used on fair skin. It has a slow repetition rate, which may mean longer, more painful treatments. The alexandrite’s wavelength is very close to that of the diode, but is not used to treat darker skin types either. It’s the fastest laser available. While IPL is not a laser, these systems typically output wavelengths between 400nm-1200nm. Filters are applied to block shorter wavelengths. Many studies show that although the IPL can be as effective as laser when used properly, the risk of unwanted side effects and pain associated with it are higher. Finally, the diode penetrates deep enough into the skin to avoid epidermal injury, yet shorter than the NDYag, so it can treat lighter hair more effectively. It can be used on all skin types as well.

Just remember, one machine is not the solution to all situations. They each have traits that make them more suitable than others in certain circumstances. Have more questions? call Med Aesthetics Miami at 305-356-7402. 

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