How Laser Hair Removal Works
During laser hair removal, a laser emits light energy that travels through the skin and is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle and hair shaft. Pigments are the substances that give skin and hair its color. The laser works by selective photothermolysis, which means that the light energy is selectively absorbed by pigmented areas. Hair follicles that are in the anagen, or active growth phase, have the largest amount of melanin, or pigment, and can absorb light energy from the laser. However, hair follicles that are in catagen or telogen growth phases are less pigmented. Therefore, these follicles do not absorb light energy as well and hair growth is not impaired. The energy, or heat, from the laser damages the hair follicle, which impairs its ability to grow hair. With time, the hairs that were present in the damaged follicles will fall out, resulting in a smoother appearance and less hair growth.