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Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Laser Technology

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of laser technology.  The Reflections Center for Skin & Body utilizes a number of lasers for all kinds of beauty treatments, including lasers for tattoo and hair removal, lasers to treat scars and wrinkles, lasers to help us lose fat or even to tighten skin.

LASER is actually an acronym whose letters stand for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. It was originally conceived by Einstein in a 1916 paper about Plank’s law of radiation—the idea is that when an atom in an excited state encounters a photon of the same energy, another photon with the same energy is released. Of course, in 1916 most scientists thought this was a rare phenomenon, if it happened at all. As history proves, Einstein was right.

The very first working laser was created in 1960 by Theodore Maiman, but the ability for a laser to perform work took a step up later that year when Javan, Bennet and Herriot created a gas laser with helium and neon. This kind of laser, that emits a continuous beam, is used to read UPC codes, among other purposes in industry. It wasn’t until the Vietnam war (when laser weapons were needed to target and scout the enemy in the jungle) that funding for laser research began in earnest, ultimately allowing lasers to be used for communications in our telephone, televisions and in space.

In 1996, the first hair removal laser was approved by the FDA. Before laser hair removal, electrolysis was the norm—a slow going, fairly painful process that involves sticking a needle into each of your hair follicles and shooting in some electricity to kill the root. It usually took years to remove hair from both legs, let alone underarms.  Alternatively, laser hair removal can be accomplished in only 5-6 visits, it is not painful, and it isn’t invasive.

Since the initial laser approval by the FDA, lasers have transformed the way aesthetic beauty enhancements are approached. One of the most popular uses for laser technology here at the Reflections Center is that of hair removal. At this time of year, we’re ramping up for the many patients who visit us for hair removal before summer (and the beaches) hit us full tilt! Don’t hesitate to call us to remove unwanted hair before you bare your skin to summer’s rays!