Laser hair removal is fast becoming one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the beauty industry.
But is it really permanent?
Well, the short answer is yes and no.
Laser hair removal is best thought of as a way to permanently reduce unwanted hair, however it cannot guarantee the permanent removal of all hairs.
So, if you’re sick and tired of constantly shaving, waxing, or tweezing, then laser hair removal may be able to help.
Make sure to keep reading to find out if laser hair removal is right for you.
What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is a simple procedure that uses highly concentrated beams of light to target individual hair follicles on the skin. The light is absorbed by the melanin in the hair, which damages the hair root and stops new hair from growing.
Who is it suitable for?
Mostly anyone can receive laser hair removal treatments. Your hair color and skin type can influence the processes’ success. It is most effective on those with light skin and dark hair. In recent years however, technological advances have made it possible for those with darker skin to use laser hair removal as an option.
It is more effective for those with dark hair and light skin because the laser beam of light targets the melanin or pigment in the hair. It is generally ineffective for those who have gray, white, red, or blond hair because the light from the laser cannot see the lighter hair, making it difficult to destroy the follicle. Treatment options for these types of hair are currently being investigated, however.
Does it hurt?
While there may be discomfort during the process, it is not overly painful. Most patients describe the process as feeling like rubber bands being snapped against the skin. Doctors typically give you goggles to protect your eyes during the procedure and apply a topical anesthetic to the skin to help reduce any discomfort from the removal process.
This hair removal treatment can cause pigment changes. It could lighten or darken your skin, but it is usually only temporary, especially if the wrong laser is used for the treatment. The treatments can also irritate the skin, causing temporary discomfort. It can also create redness and swelling after the removal process, but any discomfort or redness typically disappears after a few hours.
On very rare occasions, laser hair removal could cause scarring, crusting, blistering, or other changes in your skin texture. Graying of hair or excessively growing hair in affected areas is also a possible side effect, but very rare ones.
Is laser hair removal permanent?
Laser hair removal is absolutely permanent, but you may have to come in for multiple sessions to achieve a certain level of permanency. Only a 10 to 30 percent growth rate is to be expected in the process, with that percentage being only a representation of how much may grow back. Laser hair removal provides a permanent reduction rate of 70 to 90 percent of the follicles in the treated areas.
The percentages of follicles that can be permanently removed depend on which phase the hair is in. Hair experiences three phases during its life- the growth (Anagen), shriveling phase (Catagen), and resting phase (Telogen). Since the treatment works by destroying follicles, it is only effective during the hair’s Anagen, or growth phase. Most of the follicles in the area will be in this phase at one time; up to 75 percent of them. This is why multiple sessions are required; in an attempt to get rid of the remaining 25 percent.
How many sessions will I need?
Sessions would be determined by many factors, such as hair type, skin type, and location of treatment. Small areas like the upper lip may only take a few minutes to treat, and only a few treatments overall. Treating larger areas like the back and legs may take much longer per treatment and result in a larger quantity of treatments needed.
Finer hair will need fewer treatments; coarser hair will need more treatments. The doctor doing the procedure can give you a better idea of how many sessions an area would need, after examining your skin type and hair type.
Multiple treatments help prolong the duration of the hair loss. For the best results, doctors recommend between four and six treatments with six weeks in between each treatment for the best result. Periodic maintenance treatments are sometimes necessary, usually every 6-12 months.
How long will it take to see results?
Within the first couple days after treatment, many people experience some hair shedding experience which is commonly mistaken for regrowth of the hair. Results vary per person, based on skin type, hair type, and removal location.
If you have fairer skin and dark hair and are getting the removal on the upper lip, you may see results after just a session or two, whereas if you have darker skin and are getting the treatment on your legs or bikini area, you may not see results for at least 4-6 treatments.
What about at home laser machines?
If cost is a concern, at home hair removal machines can help to treat your unwanted hair without the high price tag of a clinic.
While it always best to see a doctor for any of your laser hair removal needs, new technology has made it possible to treat yourself in the comfort of your own home.
Some of the best home laser and IPL machines include:
Remington ILight Ultra: This machine is cost-effective and can treat extensive areas like the back, chest, and legs. The machine does not need to be charged with every use, so it is meant to be used for prolonged time periods. While most at-home machines are less intense than the in-clinic ones, this machine has increased strength of 4 flashes per square inch of skin. It can deliver up to 65,000 flashes, lasting 30 times longer than most other machines.
Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X: This machine is known for its lasting results. Most people have experienced a stable decrease in hair after only 3 treatments. It does not require cartridge replacements like many other machines and it even contains a built-in skin tone sensor to help decide suitability. It is cordless and small, making it ideal for treating delicate areas like the upper lip, bikini areas, and underarms.
Silk’N Flash & Go: This machine is very straight forward and easy to use. The size is ideal for both smaller and larger areas, and it uses pulse light technology instead of laser light. This technology makes it virtually painless in comparison to in-clinic treatments.
In summary, laser hair removal treatments are generally effective with little discomfort and side effects. If you’re looking for a more permanent solution to your hair removal needs, then laser treatments could be the way to go.
As always, do your research and base your decisions on what is best for you and your body.