Is the Diode laser best for laser hair removal?

As both a laser trainer and laser practitioner, I often get asked, ‘which is the best laser for laser hair removal?’ I also get asked whether a Diode laser which works at 810 nanometres (nm) is the most effect for laser hair removal.

Whilst the Diode laser is certainly very effective for laser hair removal, it is by no means the best and most effective for permanent hair reduction.

Lasers and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) systems used for laser hair removal operate at wavelengths of between 650nm and 1064nm. Lasers use one single wavelength, so one single colour of coherent, non-divergent light. Think of the Star Wars light sabre, or single beam red laser pens often used at corporate presentations. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), on the other hand, which is made up of white light (like a light bulb, non-coherent and divergent), is made up of several different wavelengths generally spanning from 650nm, to 1064nm. The advantages of IPL therefore, mean you get a variety of different wavelengths all targeting the same hair follicle. It also allows more flexibility in terms of being able to treat different skin types.

Lasers like the Alexandrite (755nm) and the Diode (810nm) mean you can’t treat darker skin types. Laser hair removal is a constant balancing act between targeting the melanin in the hair shaft (and heating it to 60 degrees) and protecting the skin, which also contains pigment. The technical term for what we do when lasering your bikini line for instance, is called ‘selective photothermolysis’, directly translated meaning ‘selectively heating a target using light’. If the laser or IPL does not selectively heat the target (the hair) then it will also heat the skin and could cause burning and blistering. That’s why there is no such thing as ‘the best laser for laser hair removal’. In the end it doesn’t come down to which is the best laser, but rather which is the best laser for your skin and hair type.

If you are fair skinned with dark hair, you can pretty much be treated with any laser (wavelength). That’s not to say there aren’t better lasers than others for this skin/hair combination. But if you are a skin type VI (black skin) you should only ever be treated with an Nd:YAG laser. Certain mixed race skin types can still use an IPL providing the machine has the scope for working at pulses of 5 with a 50ms delay. Alexandrite lasers should only be used on fair to Mediterranean skin types.

IPLs are without a doubt more versatile and can be used to treat the widest variety of skin types. The key thing to consider when choosing a laser clinic is whether your chosen clinic has a choice of both laser and IPL. At Laser Skin Solutions we only operate medical grade lasers and IPLs, meaning you get treated with whichever system is most appropriate for your hair and skin type, and not because it is the only system we happen to have.

Our advice is, do your research. Always ask whether there is a choice of both laser and IPL and whether your laser practitioner holds a specific laser qualification or whether they have simply received manufacturer training. For more information on choosing a clinic, check out our website article. Or book in with us today for your free, no obligation consultation by calling 01202 985 029

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