SCIENCE
03/31/2016 12:03 pm ET

Laser Hair Removal In Slow-Mo Is Horrifying Yet Mesmerizing

Here's an up-close look at how the nonsurgical cosmetic treatment works.

Laser hair removal has become an increasingly popular cosmetic procedure for getting rid of unwanted hair -- but how exactly does it work, scientifically? What does the procedure look like up close? Well, your questions have been answered. 

A new video (above), released by the YouTube science channel Veritasium on Wednesday, shows the effects of laser hair removal in incredible slow motion.

The magic behind the laser treatment's success in removing hair is that it targets a molecule in the hair called melanin. The melanin absorbs energy from short pulses of laser light during the treatment, which burns the hair to a crisp.

Jump forward to 2:03 in the video to see the action for yourself.

The video's host, Derek Muller, describes the procedure as "a shootout" at the O.K. Corral. "All of the hairs are just getting, like, slaughtered," he exclaims in the video. "That is amazing."

The objective, however, is not to destroy the hair itself. Rather, the treatment aims to destroy the cells in the hair follicle that produce the hair in the first place, Muller says in the video.

"So it's kind of like using the hair to kill the hair," he says. "If you cause enough damage to the cells in the follicle that make the hair, the hair will never grow back, and that is the goal of laser hair removal."

Now you know.

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