Laser hair removal: practice and science

February 21, 2005

Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, notes two recent advances: improvement in techniques for treating people with darker skin tones; and development of faster, more powerful intense pulsed light and laser devices that incorporate skin cooling features.

Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, notes two recent advances: improvement in techniques for treating people with darker skin tones; and development of faster, more powerful intense pulsed light and laser devices that incorporate skin cooling features.

"My technique depends on skin type and hair thickness," she says, "but I generally advise patients they will need treatment once a month for three to five months, depending on where they want hair removal."

She adds that because some components of the follicular unit do not have significant amounts of melanin, researchers are now beginning to suggest longer pulse durations that will induce thermal injury throughout the follicular unit and, hopefully, lead to permanent hair reduction.