Different Types of Lasers for Hair Removal

Since the mid-1990’s when the FDA first approved clearance, laser hair removal technology has progressed rapidly. The older generation hair laser treatments were often cumbersome, slow, and painful to the user –especially dark skin types. Thankfully today certain lasers can work on all skin types, even tanned skin, and on all areas, so if you would like to know what kind of machines for hair laser treatment are out then read on.

There a variety of machines used for laser hair removal. They range from the relatively cheap and cheerful wannabe Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy machine to,  Alexandrite system, the diode laser, the ND Yag laser, and the Ruby Laser machine. The truth is no laser is perfect for all customers.

If you are going for hair laser treatment then choose the right machine which meets your needs. Each of the five laser systems below has there advantages and disadvantages.

  • The so-called ‘original’ laser is the Ruby hair laser removal with its deep-red wave at 694nm, which can be very well absorbed by the melanin pigment in hair, making it an excellent choice for fine and light hair. However, because melanin is present in the skin as well, the Ruby laser machines are not safe for use on people with fair skin. This device is less painful than most hair removal machines, and it is usually used on small areas of the skin. Because of this limitation, slow repetition rate, and relatively small spot size, Ruby lasers have become less popular and close to non-existent  these days
  • Then we have the  Alexandrite Laser machines which utilize a continuous laser light wavelength that penetrates the skin at a depth of 755nm. With its large spot size and high repetition rate, the Alexandrite laser is one of the quickest hair removal devices and is suitable for the rapid treatment of large body areas with light to olive complexion.  To put it simply, Alexandrite laser machines are best suited for people with fair skin and dark hair only, for they can produce hypo-pigmentation in those with dark skin
  • The Diode Laser machines can produce a high-power laser diode emitting infrared (invisible) light at ~800-808nm. The longer wavelength penetrates the skin deeper than the Alexandrite device. The diode laser hair removal system claims to work on all skin levels (It has been approved by the US FDA as so). However, its effectiveness is limited on darker skin types due to the limited energy that can be used safely.
  • Now we come to laser hair removal machine, generally regarded as the safest laser overall for all skin types as well as the “Gold standard” for skin types that are non-Caucasian. ND Yag laser machines produce two different types of light(1064 and 532 nm). The 1064nm wavelength targets the hair follicles far beneath the surface of the skin, while the 532nm wavelength penetrates the follicles closer to the skin surface. It is the safest for dark skin. The Nd:YAG laser can be used on all skin types, including tanned skin. With large spot sizes and fast repetition rates, it can treat large areas quickly. Most clinics don’t have these machines, as they a generally the most expensive to purchase.
  • Lastly, we have the most common machine available in Groupon discount ads. Technically it’s not even a laser. IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light and is not a ‘laser’ hair removal system. The IPL laser machine emits multiple light wavelengths through the skin and targets hair follicles at various different levels. These machines can cover large areas of the skin in a shorter amount of time than other devices. It is safe for most skin types, but it is not as effective as other machines on light-colored hair. However, because most of the light energy is in shorter wavelengths, the treatment of darker skin types is less effective than with the appropriate laser.

If you are interested in laser hair removal and would like a free patch test, please get in touch.