Laser hair removal is not a new process but it has taken a long time for the process to iron out the problems and make it efficient and safe to use. Through 40 years of research, it has been possible to make a laser that is safe to remove hair follicles. Last year alone, 2,000,000 Americans had laser hair removal done on their bodies with minimal side effects. As we move into the future, the technology of laser hair removal will continue to change and improve.
Laser hair removal history in reverse chronological order:
• The Wave 5 Laser was released in 1997 and was cleared by the FDA for use to target melanin in the hair. The Wave 5 Laser was easy to use, had epidermal cooling in it, and greatly reduced the risk of any side effects, making it safe and effective to use. Wave 5 Lasers are the ones currently in use around the world by millions of people who get laser hair removal done on their bodies each year.
• The Wave 4 Lasers were released in the mid-1990s and this is where laser hair removal comes into its modern form. The 1995 form of the laser was the first to be cleared by the FDA for use. These lasers would use a carbon-based lotion as a chromophore. The laser would heat the carbon and release a shock wave to the follicle to destroy it. Unfortunately, that wave could also damage nearby cells in the skin.
• In the 1980s, the Wave 3 Lasers were invented. While these lasers were better at targeting hair, they were still too tedious to use for laser hair removal and were ineffective, which resulted in them being removed from the market.
• In the 1970s, the Wave 2 Lasers came into being. These lasers allowed for the targeting of individual follicles with a targeted laser sending a beam of energy through a fiber-optic probe. Sadly, this was sent to market without any testing done and it was marketed as painless even though it was not. The FDA stepped in and removed it from market because it was difficult to use and ineffective for what it claimed.
• In the 1960s, the first lasers were called Wave 1 Lasers and they emitted a continuous wave of light rather than pulses. As a result, they were no good for removing hair because the beam could not be controlled. As a result, there was too much risk to the skin being damaged. The Q-switch allowed for a shuttering of the light but still, it was not practical for laser hair removal.
Everyone thinks of lasers are new and futuristic, and when people think of laser hair removal, they think the same thing. The truth is that laser hair removal processes, and lasers for the skin in general, has been around for many, many years. Longer than most of the people getting laser hair removal done have been alive.
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