What is Diode Permanent Hair Removal ?
Diode Laser hair removal is the permanent removal of unwanted hair. Hair growth occurs in three stages:
- anagen (growth phase),
- catagen (transition phase)
- telogen (resting phase).
Hair must be in the anagen phase to respond to a Laser. At any given time, a certain percentage of hair will be in anagen, catagen and telogen phase. This varies on each region of the body. The follicular cells are heated to 70 degrees. All cells destroyed are permanently destroyed. Cells that are modified result in a temporary reduction of hair or a hair follicle that produces a finer hair that is usually lighter in colour.
Categories of Unwanted Hair:
Hypertrichosis: This is an increase in hair growth which is not androgenic dependant. It may occur with certain medications/diseases.
Hair bearing flaps: These are used in surgical reconstruction and can result in the presence of hair in unusual areas.
Hirsutism: This is an increase in terminal hair growth on androgenic dependant areas (upper lip, chin, sideburns) due to excess androgenic hormones. The most common cause in women is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Social/cultural norms: Society often dictates where men and women should and shouldn’t have hair.
How does Permanent hair Removal work?
Melanin in the hair shaft absorbs light energy which becomes heat energy. The hair must be heated to approximately 70 degrees to cause protein denaturing. Heat radiates from the hair shaft to surrounding follicular cells, causing lysis (death) of some or all of these hair producing cells. Heat radiates from the hair to the follicular cells, while the surrounding skin remains relatively cool.
Efficacy of Permanent Hair Removal:
The effectiveness of each Laser hair removal session is dependant on the following:
Hair colour: Hair containing more melanin will absorb more energy and these patients get a more effective treatment outcome in less number of treatment sessions. Black to brown hair gives best results; brown to light brown hair gives good results. Blonde and red hair will get minimal to no results and grey and white hair gives no results.
Skin Type: The lighter the skin type and the darker the hair the better the treatment outcome. Fitzpatrick skin types 1, 2, and 3 are acceptable. Skin type 4 and 5 are difficult to treat and skin type 6 should not be treated.
Fluence (energy) and delivery of energy: The Fluence of the Laser Device must be adequate to cause permanent damage to follicular cells. The follicular cells are heated to approximately 70 degrees. A low fluence will only give temporary hair reduction; the common fluence used would be 10 to 30 Joules. The pulse width is also very important in the use of Laser. Hair is considered quite large chromophore which means it will have longer thermal relaxation time (TRT). Longer TRT means a longer pulse width is needed.
Hair cycle: Hair grows in 3 distinct phases, anagen, catagen and telogen. It is because of these 3 phases that laser does not remove all the hair in one session.
The hair must be given adequate time between treatments for a new growth of anagen hair to come through. For some patients more hair is visible after the first Laser session due to synchronization of hair growing through in the anagen phase. Usually between 4 to 6 weeks is required between sessions.
Contraindications to treatment:
Recent unprotected sun exposure, 1 week.
Tanned skin (best waiting until tan has lightened)
Fake tan applied less than one week
Waxed epilated or tweezed hair in the treatment area (because you are treating the hair follicle not the surface hair)
Known photosensitizing reaction (discuss this with the doctor before proceeding)
Open lesions, cuts etc.
We will go through a consent form with you before you start treatment. This consnent will discuss side effects of treatment, potential complications and failure to achieve results in estimated number of sessions. Usually 4-6 treatment sessions are recommended and some patients get a maintenance session yearly.
We will carry out a Patch Test on your skin before commencement of laser treatment. Test Patching involves exposing a small amount of skin to 2-4 different parameters. This helps us determine the most suitable parameters for each patient. The test patch must be performed on the proposed treatment site. It takes the guesswork out of treatment, minimise complications and enhances treatment results. Skin types 1 to 3 take approximately 24 hours to show an adverse reaction. Skin types 4 to 5 take approximately 48 hours. If the test patch shows erythema, hyperpigmentation, or blistering the fluence chosen is too high and should be reduced. If none of the above is present treatment will commence on the highest setting performed in the test.
Cost of treatment:
Prices start from €40 for upper lip to €150 for lower legs.