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Can Laser Hair Reduction cause Cancer?

Laser hair reduction is a new trend nowadays. It has become a really popular solution to get rid of unwanted hair. It is a long-term solution to get rid of unwanted hair. But to understand why people fear that laser can cause cancer you need to understand the mechanism behind laser hair reduction.

What happens in laser hair reduction is that we use a laser beam to target the hair follicles which are basically hair roots. The first step is to shave the target area. Shaving helps expose the hair roots and then the laser machine is used to target the hair follicles. What laser beam actually does is target the melanin present in the hair follicle which arrests hair growth. Therefore, with each progressive session, the hair growth is delayed and eventually it stops growing.  

Now a lot of people fear that this concentrated beam of light might cause cancer. First of all laser treatment does not use light which contains ultraviolet rays which is what triggers skin cancer. The laser light does not penetrate deep into the skin it only works superficially. You need multiple sessions because hair follicles on the skin are in different stages of growth. Therefore, it requires multiple sessions to get rid of hair completely. 

Now let us talk about lasers, they are radiation and they are of a safe kind. The lasers used for hair reduction consist of non-ionizing radiation which produces a laser beam created to target the hair follicle and nothing else. But laser treatments are not limited to just laser hair reduction other treatments include tattoo removal, skin rejuvenation, skin resurfacing, Lasik surgery, etc all these treatments use non-ionizing lasers. In fact, it is also used in the treatment of cancer itself.

The radiation that is capable of causing cancer is called ionizing radiation and they are generally present in X-rays and gamma rays. These may be carcinogenic in nature and can cause cancer because they have high-frequency ionizing radiation. Yet we use X-rays to capture images of our bones. What actually happens when ionizing radiation enters the body, is that it reaches at the cellular level where it can alter the DNA and may cause the cell to lose contact inhibition which can trigger the cell to mutate and become cancerous. But lasers used for laser hair reduction do not have this ability. 

The US FDA states that these lasers do not have the ability to trigger cells in our body to become cancerous. Moreover, there is not enough research done to back the claim that the long-term effects of laser can cause cancer or increase the risk of cancer. In addition to laser hair removal, laser therapy is used for other cosmetic purposes like tattoo removal, dental procedures, varicose veins, prostate and eye surgery, removal of kidney stones, etc. In fact, it is also used for treating cancer.         

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