Types, Hair, Removal, Lasers

Here are the four types of lasers used for hair removal so you can learn more about each option and which one might be suitable for your specific case.

Ruby Laser Hair Removal

The Ruby laser is an infrared laser and was the first laser hair removal system on the market. As such, it has a longer track record than other laser hair removal options but is also an older technology.

Ruby lasers tend to be ideal for people who have light-colored skin and dark hair because the laser it emits is highly absorbed by the skin’s melanin.

Ruby, Laser, Hair, RemovalIt has a shorter wavelength when compared to newer laser technologies so it uses more energy in order to properly penetrate the skin to effectively treat the hair.

A ruby laser works by emitting a pulse of light from a handheld device that is held up against the area of skin to be treated. Once the pulse has been delivered, the practitioner moves to the next area of skin and the process is repeated until the entire area has been covered.

Since it’s an older technology, there are other newer laser hair removal options that are becoming more readily available than the Ruby laser and that might be more effective, too.

Here are some things to think about if you’re considering the ruby hair removal laser option.

Ruby Laser: Benefits

  • Offers good results for people with light skin and dark hair.
  • Tends to offer long term hair removal.
  • Works well on small areas.
  • Hair that grows back tends to be finer and sparser and therefore less noticeable.

Ruby Laser: Considerations

  • Tends to be expensive and requires multiple treatments.
  • Tends to have difficulty successfully treating darker skin types.
  • Can only cover a relatively small area of hair at a time.
  • Has a slow repetition rate (ie. every two seconds) which increases the treatment time involved.
  • Side effects could include scars, burns, skin discoloration, redness and swelling
  • Like other lasers, doesn’t work with light or white hair.

From a laser practitioner’s point of view, Ruby lasers also use a high amount of power to operate so combined with the other considerations, they might look at offering other newer laser hair removal options instead.

Still, the ruby laser has a long track record that generally shows that it can offer long-term hair reduction when operated by a skilled and trained professional. The amount of pain felt by the patient tends to vary on a case by case basis.

Long term success and possible side effects of the hair removal will also vary by patient.

Alexandrite Laser Hair Removal

The Alexandrite laser works in a similar fashion to the Ruby laser but has a slightly longer wavelength than the ruby.

It’s one of the newer forms of laser hair removal on the market and is also one of the most widely used laser hair removal technologies being used currently.

Alexandrite, Laser, Hair, Removal:It can cover a relatively large spot size and unlike the Ruby laser, can treat people with olive complexions but like the Ruby, is still limited to treating people with relatively light skin tones.

As a relatively new hair removal option, the Alexandrite doesn’t have as much research available as the Ruby.

Having said that, a light-skinned, dark haired person generally sees the best results.

People with light or grey hair are not considered “ideal” candidates since these two types of hair are very difficult to treat.

Here are some things to think about if you’re considering the Alexandrite hair removal option.

Alexandrite: Benefits

  • Works best on light colored skin and dark hair.
  • Tends to allow rapid treatment of larger body areas.
  • Has a slightly longer wavelength than Ruby lasers which means it can treat slightly darker skin tones ie. olive skin.
  • A very widely used laser hair removal laser.

Alexandrite: Considerations

  • Tends to be expensive and requires multiple treatments.
  • Tends to have difficulty successfully treating darker skin types.
  • Like other lasers, doesn’t work with light or white hair.
  • Side effects could include scars, burns, skin discoloration, redness and swelling.
  • Long term success and possible side effects of the hair removal will also vary by patient.

Diode Laser Hair Removal

Diode laser hair removal is the one of newer forms of laser hair removal on the market but is currently the most popular of all laser hair removal options.

As with other newer laser hair removal options, the Diode laser has limited research showing evidence of long term results.

Diode, Laser, Hair, RemovalThe Diode utilizes a longer wavelength than both the Ruby and Alexandrite lasers enabling it to achieve deeper penetration of the skin which allows it to treat darker skinned patients than either of these two lasers.

Still, the Diode generally doesn’t treat darker skinned patients as well as the Nd: YAG laser system.

Having said that, Diode hair removal tends to work well on dark, coarse hair. With its ability to treat relatively large spot sizes, it is also an option for large body areas like the back.

Here are some things to think about if you’re considering the Diode hair removal option.

Diode Laser: Benefits

  • Compared to most other lasers, has a longer wavelength which might offer better results for people with darker skin.
  • Works well with dark (ie. black and brown) hair.
  • Tends to allow rapid treatment of larger body areas.
  • Has a long pulse width that can be adjusted by the practitioner doing the treatment.
  • Has a longer wavelength which offers deeper skin penetration and safer treatment of darker skin.

Diode Laser: Considerations

  • Like other lasers, doesn’t work with light or white hair.
  • Generally not as successful as treating darker skin types as the Nd: YAG laser.
  • Side effects could include scars, burns, skin discoloration, redness and swelling.
  • Long term success and possible side effects of the hair removal will also vary by patient.

Nd YAG Laser (Neodymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnet Laser)

The Neodymium: Yttrium Aluminum Garnet laser is also commonly known as the Nd YAG Laser and is one of the newer forms of laser hair removal.

Nd YAG Laser, Hair, RemovalNd YAG lasers are not only used for hair removal but in some cases are also used for tattoo and pigmented lesion treatment.

Perhaps the biggest advantage that the Nd YAG laser has is that it generally works on all skin types and in particular, people with darker skin tones which is something that other lasers cannot always do.

Nd YAG has a long wavelength compared to other laser hair removal options. Longer wavelengths such as the one provided by the Nd YAG laser means it is safer for darker skin because less energy is absorbed by the skin than with other laser options.

Here are some things to think about if you’re considering the Nd YAG hair removal laser option.

Nd YAG Benefits

  • Generally works on most skin types.
  • Unlike some other laser options, can successfully treat darker skin tones.
  • Has the ability to reach deeper layers of skin than other lasers due its high wavelength.
  • Tends to allow rapid treatment of larger body areas.
  • Utilizes a carbon lotion that is spread on the skin to be treated to absorb most of the laser energy (as opposed to the energy being absorbed by the skin).

Nd YAG Considerations

  • If the carbon lotion doesn’t penetrate the skin properly, it can negatively affect the effectiveness of the treatment.
  • Like other lasers, doesn’t work with light or white hair.
  • Tends to be less effective on fine hair than other laser options.
  • Uses high power which can be painful.
  • Side effects could include scars, burns, skin discoloration, redness and swelling.
  • Long term success and possible side effects of the hair removal will also vary by patient.
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