When laser hair removal was first developed in the mid-90s, the only candidates for treatment were dark-haired, light-skinned patients. Fortunately, today's manufacturers are continually developing new types of laser technology, to enable those with grey hair, red hair and blonde hair to fully enjoy laser hair removal benefits as well.
What's In a Laser?
There are several types of lasers used today. They all have their pros and cons, and they all produce results, but sometimes their results are determined by patients' physicality. To simplify things, it's easy to note that all laser hair removal technology uses light and/or heat energy, which is absorbed by hair pigments, to disable unwanted hair follicles below the skin's surface. The method and mechanics of how these lasers accomplish this task is where the differences in lasers lie.
Going more in-depth, the five main types of hair removal lasers are the Alexandrite, Ruby, Diode, Nd:YAG and ELOS™ technology lasers. While all of these lasers have been used with great success in laser clinics and by hair removal specialists for years, the choice of laser will be different for a tan brunette patient than for a light-skinned blonde patient.
Hair-Free Blondes Have More Fun
The reason it's more difficult to remove blonde hair through laser hair removal, and this is true for grey and red hair as well, is because of the lack of pigment in the hair shaft. Light and heat is attracted to darker colors, so the less pigment in a patient's hair, the harder it was for some laser technology to target and remove that hair. So, which laser systems will effectively remove blonde facial hair and body hair?
There are a couple hair removal lasers specifically designed to remove unwanted hair for blondes, whether they're interested in hair removal for their face or their body. The Nd:YAG laser and the lasers that utilize ELOS™ (electrical-optical synergy) technology are both reputed to remove lighter-colored hair better than most other lasers.
Nd:YAG lasers are some of the most popular for hair removal, and are reputed to adequately treat all six skin types on the Fitzpatrick skin and hair typing scale. Their effectiveness in achieving the most long-lasting results, on the other hand, is not always the Nd:YAG laser's strong suit.
Syneron's Aurora laser is one of the most popular Elos technology laser systems. It uses radio frequencies to minimize the amount of light, or optical, energy necessary to eliminate hairs. In other words, the radio frequencies allow for a lower level of light and heat energy to be required; they help the laser command greater focus, and enable the optical energy to more effectively target and destroy the hair. By minimizing the optical energy used, patients will also experience a lower risk of burns and side effects.
I'm a Blonde. What Can I Expect With Laser Treatments?
No matter what your skin and hair type, a laser hair removal patient should go through the necessary motions of growing out hair on treated areas prior to a session, following all the instructions set forth by the laser technician, and expect to feel some slight discomfort with treatment—most patients liken laser hair removal's sensation to the snapping of a rubber band against the skin. The length of results may vary from patient to patient as well, but around six hair removal sessions can reportedly achieve hair-free results for most patients for up to two years!
Blonde hair removal patients are typically susceptible to the same risks and side effects that other patients are. Because of this fact, blonde-haired patients should be just as prudent when it comes to researching hair removal methods, talking to a professional hair removal provider before undergoing treatment, and making sure they select the best hair removal laser and treatment for their specific skin conditions.
Blonde laser hair removal patients will want to be extra cautious when selecting a laser technology with their provider. Because of the special circumstances surrounding light hair types, your odds for hair removal success and safety will greatly hinge on choosing the right laser system.