Veritasium, an educational science channel on YouTube, released a video that shows the science behind laser hair removal in slow motion.
Laser hair removal is one of the most common nonsurgical cosmetic treatments in the U.S. The process involves flashing onto hair follicles a beam of high concentration light.
To help viewers understand the concept behind laser hair removal, Veritasium host Derek Muller, with the help of Dianna Cowern of Physics Girl, had his shoulder hair removed by laser.
After a slow-motion and up-close depiction of laser hair removal with a wavelength of 1,064 nanometers, the channel explains that the melanin present in dark hairs are better in absorbing harmful rays from the sun compared to the surrounding light skin.
In the video, as soon as the laser hits the hair, the hair becomes burnt and it loses its moisture. The hair becomes damaged as cellular bonds are broken down in the process known as denaturation. If denaturation occurs several times and bonds are completely broken down, hair can no longer grow back.
"It's kind of like using the hair to kill the hair," Derek says.
Lasers are indeed effective in removing any unwanted hair from any part of the body. Its precision can efficiently target hairs without causing any damage to the surrounding skin. It also takes much less time to remove many strands at the same time. Each laser pulse takes only a fraction of a second. For instance, an upper lip hair removal would take less than a minute, while bigger areas like the legs can take up to an hour.
It is important to note, however, that areas treated with laser hair removal would feel "sunburned" for a few days. Application of moisturizers and sunscreens to the affected area is recommended.
"Depending on the laser, you may have some rednes that lasts for a few hours. Deeper resurfacing may result in up to 8 weeks of redness. This makes it imperative to care for your skin both before and after your laser treatment," advised Sarah Longton Pajaro, a licensed aesthetician and executive training director for LIFTLAB.