Although laser hair removal may seem like a recent advancement in hair removal technology, its history dates back to the 1960's when new uses for lasers were being discovered. Modern laser hair removal is a result of the development of several waves of laser technology.
Early Laser Treatments
Continuous laser beams were first the first type of laser to be used for hair removal. This type of beam proved ineffective at removing hair due to the uncontrollable nature of the beam, often causing damage to the skin. The Q-switch was later developed to emit this beam in pulses but remained ineffective at removing the hair.
Late Century Improvements
Later waves of laser beam innovation for hair removal targeted individual follicles. These lasers were also ineffective and damaging to the skin, and were falsely advertised in the market before being adequately tested (and without proper approval). These lasers were pulled from the market when customers complained of the manufacturer's false claims of permanent and painless hair removal.
Modern Technological Advancements
Modern hair removal lasers target the dark pigment, or melanin, in the hair. Heat from the laser beam is directed into the melanin in the hair follicle to destroy it, while a cooling mechanism alleviates discomfort and potential damage to the skin.
Laser hair removal has come a long way, but is still a relatively new technology. Thus, reporting on the results of long term effectiveness remains fairly limited.