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Q&A

A single beam laser treatment to both remove hair and flatten a scar

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In all my reading about laser treatments I always found laser treatments which can be applied either for hair removal or for scar flattening (or other unique uses) but I never came across a laser treatment which can both remove hair and flatten a scar.

Is a laser treatment to both remove hair and flatten a scar feasible (by one single beam, not two different adjacent beams)?

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Easy answer: No

You're using the same technology to do two different things: remove hair and remove or encourage healing of scar tissue.

  • Hair removal uses a laser frequency that's absorbed by the melanin in the hair. As the melanin heats up, it damages the hair folicle (meaning the laser must be applied close to the surface of the skin). Once damaged, the hair falls out and won't grow back for some time (the procedure is not usually permanent). The point here is to not damage the skin.

  • Scar removal can use a variety of frequencies, and the frequency used to heat melanin is as good as any other. The problem is that it's more energetic because it's actually damaging the skin. Infrared lasers can burn holes in the skin below the surface (not unlike aerating soil), promoting the growth of new, healthy skin. Other frequencies burn off the top layers of skin. In any case, we're not just heating melanin, we're actually burning off skin.

And that's why you can't use a single laser to solve both problems: you need different energy levels to solve the two problems. A high energy laser applied to hair would burn the hair above the folicle, but wouldn't damage the folicle itself without damaging the skin around the folicle. Lower the energy and you can't fix the scar.

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