Warm weather is setting in as the birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and body hair continues growing. If you follow the “no-shave” winter rule, chances are your legs are an unsightly mess and long overdue for a shave or wax. Rather than dealing with this nuisance, people have turned to a more permanent solution — laser hair removal.

So, how does it work?

In the video, “Science of Laser Hair Removal in SLOW MOTION,” Derek Muller, host of Veritasium, a YouTube science channel, shows just what happens when a technician begins to “zap away” the hair on his biceps. The laser treatment used has a wavelength of 1,064 nanometers, meaning it is infrared radiation that is invisible to the naked eye. When the laser is applied to the skin, the body hair heats up to more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit, burning the hair follicles.

“This puffs the hair up a little bit like a Cheeto,” says Muller in the video. A cloud of smoke is also visible in this scene, called a laser plume.

Typically, cells are damaged when exposed to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit, making them break apart, also known as denaturation. The hotter the beam is, the longer that temperature is maintained, the more denaturation occurs. This boosts the likelihood the cells will die. The laser also uses dead hair to destroy the cells in the follicle.

Until last year, laser hair removal didn't work on people with darker skin. The pigment in dark skin would absorb the laser's energy and heat up along with the hair follicles, which led the skin to burn. However, new equipment, like the YAG 1064, has allowed dark-skinned people to have the procedure.

If you keep on zapping away with this laser treatment, it will damage hair follicles and deter the growth of future hair.

Published by Medicaldaily.com