Body hair removal can be traced back as early as Ancient Egypt and Roman times. Back then it was believed that having less body hair meant being more civilized and of a higher social class. People have been trying to rid their bodies of unwanted hair ever since.
The 1960s was a big year for laser development. Theodore Maiman invented the first laser using a high-power flash lamp, ruby and silver. Several other lasers were invented soon after including the Argon, CO2 and Nd: YAG (neodymium-doped YAG) lasers.
The Nd:YAG laser proved to be the most beneficial for cosmetic applications and was used in skin resurfacing. It was soon noted that the byproduct of other dermatological applications was hair loss.
Lasers during this time were somewhat effective, but overall, they were too bulky, too powerful and caused severe damage and scarring to the treated skin.
The first alexandrite laser was invented. This laser proved much safer than its predecessors, but it did not heat the hair follicles enough to effectively treat body hair issues.
As practitioners experimented with lasers for dermatological purposes, it was observed that some laser treatments were more damaging to certain skin tones than others. Dermatologist Dr. Thomas B Fitzpatrick developed a phototyping scale that classifies human skin color. This scale is still used to determine which laser treatment will work best with different skin tones.
Scientists Anderson and Parrish developed a laser technique known as selective photothermolysis that utilizes a specific wavelength of light and pulse duration to target and destroy pigmented tissue without damaging the surrounding tissues.
Selective photothermolysis theory was used in laser hair removal procedures and proved to be successful as reducing unwanted hair while minimizing collateral damage to the skin. In 1997 the first laser hair removal device was approved for use by the FDA.
Since lasers were approved for hair removal, there have been major refinements in their safety and efficacy. Today, laser systems, like the GentleMax Pro, are safe for use on all skin types and provide cooling devices for more comfort. Laser hair removal is now one of the most sought-after treatments for reducing unwanted hair permanently.