This celestial object looks like a delicate butterfly. But it is far from serene. What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to nearly 20 000 degrees Celsius. The gas is tearing across space at more than 950 000 kilometres per hour — fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in 24 minutes! A dying star that was once about five times the mass of the Sun is at the centre of this fury. It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow. This object is an example of a planetary nebula, so-named because many of them have a round appearance resembling that of a planet when viewed through a small telescope. The Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), a new camera aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, snapped this image of the planetary nebula, catalogued as NGC 6302, but more popularly called the Bug Nebula or the Butterfly Nebula. WFC3 was installed by NASA astronauts in May 2009, during the Servicing Mission to upgrade and repair the 19-year-old Hubble. NGC 6302 lies within our Milky Way galaxy, roughly 3800 light-years away in the constellation of Scorpius. The glowing gas is the star’s outer layers, expelled over about 2200 years. The “butterfly” stretches for more than two light-years, which is about half the distance from the Sun to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri. The central star itself cannot be seen, because it is hidden within a doughnut-shaped ring of dust, which appears as a dark band pinching the nebula in the centre. The thick dust belt constricts the star’s outflow, creating the classic “bipolar” or hourglass shape displayed by some planetary nebulae. The star’s surface temperature is estimated to be over 220 000 degrees Celsius, making it one of the hottest known stars in our galaxy. Spectroscopic observations made with ground-based telescopes show that the gas is roughly 20 000 degrees Celsius, which is unusually hot compared to a t

What to do when things get hairy… 

When it comes to methods of hair management, laser hair reduction holds a special place in my heart. There is minimal downtime, low maintenance, and long-lasting results, and it can be totally tolerable in the pain department.

What is laser hair reduction? 

LASER is an acronym that stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Laser hair reduction is a procedure that uses a laser; a concentrated beam of light, to remove unwanted hair.  During this treatment, the laser emits a light that is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair. The light energy is converted to heat, which damages the hair follicles and as a result inhibits or delays future hair growth. There are various laser hair reduction options utilizing wavelengths that have been proven to be effective. This includes the ruby, alexandrite, diode, and Nd:YAG lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL).

Anatomy of the pilosebaceous unit

How does it work?

During laser hair reduction a laser beam passes through the skin to its target or chromophore; an individual hair follicle. The intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth. After the treatment, the follicles are damaged and unable to produce new hairs or can produce only very thin, tiny hairs that are virtually invisible.

Laser Hair Reduction Mechanisms:

  • Selective photothermolysis; melanin in the hair is the chromophore (target) which absorbs laser light energy
  • Hair conduction theory; a significant amount of heat is conducted through the hair shaft and follicle causing thermal damage
  • Extended theory of selective photothermolysis; follicular stem cells in the bulge and dermal papilla are secondary targets by heat diffusion

“The theory of selective photothermolysis enables precise targeting of pigmented hair follicles by using the melanin of the hair shaft as a chromophore. To achieve permanent hair removal, the biologic “target” is the follicular stem cells located in the bulge region and/or dermal papilla. Due to the slight spatial separation of the chromophore and desired target, an extended theory of selective photothermolysis was proposed that requires the diffusion of heat from the chromophore to the desired target for destruction.”(George J. Hruza MD, MBA, in Lasers and Lights: Procedures in Cosmetic Dermatology, 2018)

Hair follicles are continually cycling through three phases: anagen (growth phase), catagen (transitional phase), and telogen (resting phase). Hair is most susceptible to this treatment while it is in the anagen phase. Due to this timing it’s not possible for any laser treatment to achieve 100% hair removal, however it is possible to significantly reduce the number of growing hairs. For this reason, multiple treatments are recommended in order to target as many follicles in the anagen phase as possible.

Phases of the hair growth cycle

Results

Results vary significantly from person to person depending on a number of factors. Most people experience hair removal that lasts for several months or even years. However, laser hair reduction doesn’t guarantee permanent hair removal. Initially, multiple treatments are needed for optimal results, and maintenance treatments may be needed for long-term hair reduction. As with all other treatments, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a treatment plan for laser hair reduction. It will differ depending on these hair reduction efficacy factors;

  • Skin type (Fitzpatrick)
  • Hair type (color, thickness)
  • Hair topography (depths, density)
  • Hair growth stage (anagen, catagen, telogen)
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Hormonal background

This is why we require a thorough consultation in order to receive laser hair reduction treatments at Sapien Skin. We’ll map out a plan based on the factors above and determine the right hair reduction device for you, frequency and number of treatments, discuss expectations, cost, and maintenance along with the risks and benefits.

Wanna learn even more? Visit our Laser Hair Reduction FAQ page here

Interested in scheduling a consultation? Click here

XO, 

Kristen


“Soprano Ice Platinum – Laser Hair Removal Device: Almalasers.” Alma Lasers, 29 Nov. 2021, https://www.almalasers.com/alma-products/soprano-ice-platinum-edition/. 

Laser hair removal – Mayo Clinic. (2022, May 4). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/laser-hair-removal/about/pac-20394555

Laser hair removal: FAQs. (2021, November 22). AAD. https://www.aad.org/public/cosmetic/hair-removal/laser-hair-removal-faqs

Haedersdal M, Wulf HC. Evidence-based review of hair removal using lasers and light sources. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2006 Jan;20(1):9-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2005.01327.x. PMID: 16405602.

Bhargava, A. (2012, November 27). Beauty and the Geek: The Engineering Behind Laser Hair Removal – USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Illumin Magazine. https://illumin.usc.edu/beauty-and-the-geek-the-engineering-behind-laser-hair-removal/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/laser-hair-removal

 

Leave a Reply