Want to avoid shaving at all costs? Many people are turning to laser hair removal. But is it really permanent? Find out here.
Have you been suffering from unwanted body hair since puberty? Do you wish you could get rid of it once and for all?
If so, you may want to consider laser hair removal.
While the procedure is not permanent, it does provide a long-lasting reduction of unwanted hair.
Here is some information about laser therapy and the permanency of the treatment:
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Hair follicles are responsible for the growth of hair. They live underneath the skin. If these follicles are destroyed, then your hair will struggle to grow back as it once was.
With laser therapy, beams are used to damage the hair follicles. Like a form of mild radiation, these lasers leave the follicles incapacitated.
This means that hairs cannot grow back as thickly or as healthily. The lasers are suitable for both men and women and are appropriate to target most parts of the body. The most popular ones include:
- Bikini area
The lasers target hair melanin, the color of the hair. By lightening the hairs, they become less visible on the skin. This is one of the key reasons laser hair removal works best on darker hairs.
Some hairs also shed completely after one session.
When shaving, tweezing, and waxing, the follicles are not targeted. With the use of a laser, hairs are targeted above the surface of the skin. They do not stop the hair from growing back.
Does This Procedure Work For Everyone?
The quick answer is, no. People with lighter hair tones may not get the results they want. Because lasers target the melanin in the hair, results are most apparent in men and women with darker hair.
That said, hair color is not the only factor to take into account. There are various types of lasers as well.
To get the most out of your treatment, you should know your skin type as well as learn about the different lasers and wavelengths available. Additionally, each laser can treat a different type of skin type.
According to the Fitzpatrick Scale, there are six skin types. Skin type 1 is the fairest and skin type 6 the darkest.
To identify a skin type, this scale also takes into consideration the color of a person’s eyes and hair. It also considers what reaction a person’s skin has to the sun, i.e. whether it burns, tans, or freckles.
While the scale won’t help you find your exact shade, it can identify risk levels.
From this, you can learn which lasers and wavelengths can treat your skin in a safe way.
There are four commonly used lasers in hair removal treatments.
An Alexandrite laser has a 755nm wavelength and is best for people with pale skin. It is not safe for use on dark skin.
A Ruby laser has a 694nm wavelength and is not common for hair removal therapy anymore. There are a few occasions where it can be used on skin types 1 or 2.
A Pulsed Diode laser has an 810nm wavelength and is common for laser therapy on people with skin types 1 through 5.
Nd:YAG lasers have a 1064nm wavelength and are safe for all skin types. They are most effective on skin types 4, 5, and 6.
The Advantages of Laser Hair Removal
1. It Reduces Hair Growth
The only FDA-approved procedure for permanent hair removal is electrolysis. While that may be the case, laser hair removal reduces hair growth drastically.
It also ensures that the hairs grow back lighter and thinner. For best results, you have to undergo numerous sessions. But, with time, you may find that you can stop using other forms of hair removal altogether.
2. You Can Get It Anywhere
Laser therapy is suitable for virtually any part of the body. This makes it perfect for both men and women.
From the legs to the arms, the chest, or the back, laser hair removal can target large areas, quickly.
This type of hair removal is also perfect for treating smaller and more delicate areas such as the bikini line or face.
3. It’s Not That Painful
If you’re used to waxing, laser therapy will seem like a walk in the park. The procedure is not as painless as shaving but nowhere near as painful as waxing or electrolysis.
To keep pain to a minimum, technicians numb the area with ice. They do so both before and after the laser treatment.
Additionally, laser therapy gets less painful over time. This is because, during the first session, the hairs are thicker. As the hairs thin, they become easier to treat. Plus, the treatment becomes more effective.
4. Laser Therapy is Quick
During laser therapy, each pulse of the laser takes less than a second to treat numerous hairs at the same time.
In fact, every second, the laser can treat an area the size of a coin.
This means that smaller areas such as the upper lip or chin can take less than a minute to treat. Larger areas such as the back, chest, and legs can take about an hour.
If you want to find out more about the benefits of laser hair removal, then check out our in-depth blog post here.
The Disadvantages of Laser Hair Removal
1. The Process Is Long
While a laser therapy session on the upper lip or chin can take under a minute, you will need more than one session to achieve your desired results.
In fact, depending on your skin type and hair color, it can take up to eight sessions to see results.
Not only this, you will have to wait for more than a month between sessions. That said, laser therapy does offer some of the best results on the market.
2. It’s Expensive
Laser therapy can range between $200 and $400 per session. While the cost of each session is high, you may find that you spend that much on razors or waxing sessions in your lifetime.
The average woman spends over $32,000 on waxing and over $9,000 on shaving in her lifetime.
With this in mind, laser therapy is a beauty investment that can save you a lot of money in the long run.
3. It’s Not For Everyone
Lasers pick out target areas more easily if there is a contrast between the color of the skin and hair. It is, therefore, more effective on people with lighter colored skin and darker hair.
If you have dark skin, your skin tone will compete with the hair follicle. That said, laser therapy is possible for all skin types. All you have to do is choose a facility with the right equipment.
4. There Are Some Risks
Some of the most common risks of laser therapy include skin irritation and pigment changes.
Skin irritation is temporary and disappears within a couple of hours. Pigment change can occur if the technician uses the wrong laser or the wrong setting.
Blistering is not common but is more likely in people with darker skin.
It is worth noting that after your treatment, the skin may feel and look sunburnt. Use moisturizer and cold compresses to treat the area.
Stay out of the sun or wear suncream to not change your skin pigmentation before your next session.
Is Laser Removal Permanent?
As mentioned above, laser hair removal is not permanent. The results of laser therapy vary from one person to another. These also vary according to the area treated.
While hair regrowth is possible, multiple sessions can make hairs dormant for up to a year in some cases. That said, you may witness a 10 to 25% reduction in hair after one treatment.
Opting for four to eight treatments for six weeks between each will ensure the best results. Additionally, periodic maintenance treatments every six months to a year can prolong results further.
Preparing For Treatment
To achieve the best results and avoid any damage or irritation to the skin, you must prepare for your procedure.
Stay out of the sun for the 6 weeks leading up to your treatment. This is because a tan can increase the chances of skin lightening.
The combination of sunburnt skin and laser therapy can also increase the chances of burns, blisters, and irritation.
Additionally, avoid waxing or plucking your hairs. These methods will affect the hair follicles and disturb the treatment.
Some doctors will recommend you shave your hairs so that the laser targets the hairs below the skin. This will reduce the chances of any burns to the skin.
Choosing the Right Provider
You must choose a clinic with trained professionals. By opting for cheaper and less reputable clinics you may suffer from burns and scars to the skin.
To ensure you get the best treatment, find out what licensing your chosen clinic has. You can also ask about your technician’s certifications before going ahead with your procedure.
At Skin Deep Laser MD, our Cynosure Vectus Laser directs laser light into the skin to disable hair follicles.
We only use the latest high-powered technology to ensure you get the results you want. Plus, all our doctors and technicians are trained to provide the best results possible.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Riehm to find out more about how she can help you!