A laser is a tool that allows the dermatologist to use light under very controlled conditions to treat skin problems. The word laser is an acronym standing for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers focus a beam of light at select wavelengths and pulses to target specific parts of the skin. For example, hair removal lasers target the melanin pigment found in the hair follicles while leaving the surrounding tissue relatively unharmed. This allows the dermatologist to selectively destroy unwanted hair.
There are other ways to control unwanted hair. For example, one can shave, pluck, wax, or use depilatory creams to remove the visible portions of the hair follicle, but these methods do not destroy the follicle and prevent the hair from growing back, and they all are merely temporary, requiring ongoing and continual use to control excess hair. Laser treatments, on the other hand, are the only permanent method for hair reduction.