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Light-based Hair Removal


As summer approaches, hair removal is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments along with anti-sweat treatments.

Recently, a beauty clinic introduced a hair removal method called “optical hair removal technology” which claims to be better than using a shaver, and reportedly targets younger women. For those unfamiliar with cosmetic medicine, it may be unclear what optical hair removal is and how it relates to laser and color light treatments. Of course, they also do not have the time to read relevant medical literature.

Optical hair removal can be divided into laser or color light. Laser has a single wavelength, concentrated and strong energy, while color light is a mixed polychromic light source with dispersed and mild energy. The optical technology used by this company uses a wavelength of 700-950nm, which is not a single wavelength, in other words, it is color light. As a consumer, you should know the advantages and disadvantages of color light.

Color light devices are generally cheaper than laser devices, and there are no consumables. In addition, the spot size of color light is larger than that of laser, so for larger areas (such as the back and lower legs), the time is faster. Based on these two points, color light hair removal is generally more cost-effective than laser hair removal.

As color light is a mixed polychromic light, different chromophores in the skin such as hemoglobin, melanin, and water will absorb its energy and cause damage. Therefore, compared to laser, the side effects of color light are greater, and its safety margin is narrower. When the thermal energy is slightly higher, the chance of burns increases. If the operator lacks experience, problems are more likely to occur. Occasionally, news reports show pictures of square-shaped burns on legs caused by color light hair removal. On the other hand, new laser devices have different cooling technologies to protect the epidermis, unlike color light, which uses a gel for cooling, which may not be effective enough and can lead to burns.

It is unclear why “color light hair removal” is called “optical hair removal”. Nonetheless, as a consumer, you must clearly understand the expected effects and possible side effects of the treatment you are purchasing. If you are unsure, it is best to consult a doctor!