Laser hair removal of often said to be ineffective on red hair. However, advancements in technology may mean this is no longer the case – we investigate here.
Laser hair removal works by targeting the melanin in the hair, this is te dark pigment that makes skin and hair a deeper colour. Some people have more of this pigment than others, hence why some people have darker skin than others.
During the treatment, once the laser has locked onto the pigment, the laser beam destroys the hair follicle which means hair growth is unlikely in the future. The problem lays in the fact that lasers have difficulty determining between pigments, red being one of the most difficult to see.
The same goes for grey hair which is another difficult colour for the laser to spot.
In the past, people have tried to colour the hair to make it seen by the laser. Colouring the hair has proven to be ineffective. This is because the hair dye does not reach into the root of the hair, where it is treated by the laser.
A noticeable investigation showed that most lasers still don’t work effectively on red hair, despite claims that suggest otherwise. In an experiment, the laser hair removal treatment cleared darker hair from an area, but left red hair behind. This is because there was red hair mixed in with the brown hair to start with and the laser left the red hair behind. This shows just how effective the laser is in distinguishing between the hairs.
To solve the issue with treating red hair, some clinics combine laser and radio waves which are thought to better target the melanin in the hair itself. It also works better on the follicle.
However, the cost of this combination treatment will often be higher than for regular removal of hair by laser hair removal methods. Also, if you have red hair and are using this method of hair removal then you will need more sessions under the laser to make it effective.
In essence, you should talk to your laser hair removal clinic about how many treatments you will need and what the estimated cost will be. You may not be able to achieve results on red hair with the laser alone, but advancements in technology suggest combinational methods may well work on removing your unwanted red hair.