Lasers are go-to weapons in science fiction and fantasy (and Mike Myers movies involving frickin’ sharks), but in the real world they’re used more frequently for less nefarious purposes, like blasting off people’s unsightly hair patches. Derek Muller, the host of the popular science edutainment YouTube channel, Veritasium, took a look at this process for his most recent video, but do be warned before you watch it: you’re about to see a follicle tragedy unfold before your very eyes.
In the video, Muller explains how lasers remove unwanted hairs by using the hairs as weapons against themselves. Laser hair removal works because it kills off the germ cells in the follicle around the hair with extreme heat. This killing off of cells is known as denaturation, and happens in this case because energy from the laser heats up the melanin in the hairs to 100 degrees Celsius, which in turn burns the surrounding follicle germ cells, damaging and disrupting their protein and nucleic acid structures.
Muller told Nerdist what surprised him most about watching the procedure in slow motion was the fact that there were “six micropulses in each shot, each one doing more damage than the last.” That, and also probably the stinky “laser plume” that went directly into his nose at around :43 in the clip.
Muller said that what was really shocking to him about the whole process was the way “the water in the hairs vaporized, puffing… up like Cheetos.” Really, really gross Cheetos.
What do you think about this slow-mo slaughtering of hairs and hair follicles? Are you more thankful for your Melanin and its light ray-absorption powers now? Let us know in the comments section below!
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