There’s nothing more annoying than having your hair stick out in places where you don’t want them to. Luckily, there are countless options of hair removal procedures, including waxing, threading, shaving, and tweezing.
However, hair removal is a vicious and seemingly endless cycle. No matter how many times you remove your hair, it always grows back. Good thing there’s laser hair removal, one of the few medical procedures that offer a more permanent approach to getting rid of unwanted hair.
What is laser hair removal?
Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, or LASER, is a strong and highly focused beam of light used in many industrial applications, including the medical sector.
A laser hair removal procedure uses this concentrated laser or light beam to remove unwanted hair in most parts of the body. This method relies on custom-made medical grade lasers that are safe to use on human skin.
What are the potential benefits of laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is one of the most-sought after spa services. Lasers are typically used to remove hair from whichever part of the body you want to it removed.
The potential benefits of laser hair removal include:
- Accurate. Unlike other hair removal methods, lasers can target dark, coarse hairs with precision, leaving the surrounding skin and hair in its normal state.
The short laser pulses emitted by specially made laser machines are used to prevent heat from causing unwanted tissue damage in the areas surrounding the treatment area. Because of this, you can get laser hair removal done on any part of your body—some medical spas even offer customized Brazilian laser hair removal services.
- Fast-acting. Light travels fast, so laser pulses work ultra-fast, too. Laser can cover a lot of hair follicles in a fraction of a second. In fact, laser hair removal sessions happen quickly. For instance, a hair removal procedure for the upper lip lasts less than a minute, while the hair removal procedure for the legs takes one hour at most.
- Effective. Oftentimes, you need to show up for several sessions in order to be hair-free. Some patients report up to 50% hair reduction after their first laser treatment session. Most patients can achieve permanent hair loss within three to seven sessions. Nevertheless, laser hair removal has the capacity to significantly stunt hair growth.
Laser treatment patients often grow their hair back in matter of months following their last session, but these are typically finer, lighter, and generally less conspicuous than the normal or untreated hair. After enough treatments, it may eventually stop growing back.
As laser lights are more attracted to dark hair, the impact of laser hair removal is said to be less obvious on persons with blond, reddish, or grey hair.
- Generally safe. Laser hair removal can only cause minimal side effects in most cases. As the procedure damages the hair follicles in the treatment area, the body reacts mildly by displaying common signs of irritation, most notably redness and irritation, a tingly sensation, or slight swelling. These minor types of discomfort are temporary, lasting only for a few days.
Anyone who experiences these symptoms persistently, or who develop blisters, skin discoloration, or scarring, should consult their dermatologist. These cases are extremely rare, though.
- Cost Effective. The upfront cost for laser hair removal may be off-putting and pricey, but if you compare it against the long-term costs of razors, regular waxing, hair removal creams, and other methods of hair removal. A few sessions of laser hair removal can save you a lifetime’s cost of temporary hair removal treatments.
You no longer have to spend too much time shaving and plucking or tweezing, too.
- Say bye to ingrown hair. Say goodbye to itchy, unsightly, and painful ingrown hairs. With laser hair removal, you no longer have to suffer from ingrown hairs that grow back after waxing, threading and epilating. Razor burns and skin irritation will also be a thing of the past.
- Removes the smallest of hair. Unlike other forms of hair removal, you don’t need to wait for hair to break outside of the skin surface before availing of a laser treatment. Many clinics advise patients to shave shortly before their scheduled session to avoid the possibility of burning surface hair in the treatment area.
What to expect before, during, and after laser treatment
- Limit plucking, waxing and other hair removal methods prior to your session
- Avoid sun exposure before and after treatment, as sun exposure reduces the efficacy of the procedure. Too much sun after treatment increases the risk of complications.
- Prior to the actual treatment, your hair will be shaved
- A topical numbing ointment or gel is applied in the treatment area
- In some cases, a special cooling device is also slathered on our skin to facilitate better laser penetration.
- The laser technician will adjust the settings in the machine. You and the technician will have to wear eye protection.
- After the session, you will be given ice packs and anti-inflammatory creams to ease soreness and other symptoms of irritation.
- You’ll be advised to return after six or seven weeks for your next session.
- For the first two days, your skin will display signs of irritation such as redness, itching, and a tingling sensation. Weeks later, you’ll start losing your hair.
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal works when the light emitted by the laser is absorbed by the pigment in the hair, called melanin. This process allows for the conversion of light energy to heat energy. This intense heat energy destroys the hair follicles where the blood, stem cells and oxygen are supplied, resulting in hair regeneration. With the hair follicles damaged by the heat, hair growth is delayed or inhibited.
How much does a laser hair removal cost?
The ballpark figure for laser hair removal is $285 per session. Some dermatology clinics and skincare salons may charge an average of $1,050 for up to eight treatments of underarm laser hair removal, and the same number of sessions for $2,450 on a man’s chest.
The cost, however, varies based on various factors which include the size of the treatment area, the number of treatments required, the type of medical professional carrying out the procedure, and in which state you’re having the work done.
Laser hair removal is generally safe and effective as long as it’s done correctly. The treatment doesn’t promise a permanent and overnight solution, though. Most patients will need multiple visits to the clinic to remove unwanted hair completely.
While generally safe, a laser treatment may cause scarring if done inappropriately. Before engaging the services of a specific medical spa, check the certifications and credentials of the clinic and its staff, particularly the medical professional who’s going to treat you.