11 Sep The Benefits of Laser Hair Removal
Unwanted hair is a common complaint, and most people deal with it by shaving, waxing, tweezing, threading or using depilatory creams. While these hair removal methods certainly work, you’ll only have a limited time with smooth skin before stubble starts to show.
Shaving is one of the easiest methods of hair removal, but it lasts the least amount of time; some will see new growth within a day. Waxing can be too painful for some to withstand, and those with sensitive skin may not be able to handle depilatory creams. Instead of dealing with fuzz forever — and for longer-lasting results — you can turn to laser hair removal.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser hair removal, which can be performed on almost any part of the body including the chest, back, legs, underarms and bikini line, works by destroying the hair follicle so that it can no longer grow. During the procedure, a laser targets follicles and pulses for just a fraction of a second. The hair, which is a darker color than the surrounding skin, absorbs the laser light and is destroyed. Laser hair removal works best on those with dark hair and light skin; it does not work on blond or gray hair.
In California, only a doctor may perform laser hair removal, though physician assistants and registered nurses may perform the treatment under supervision. Laser hair removal is done over a series of treatments rather than just one. Hair growth occurs in three phases — anagen, catagen and telogen — and it is during the anagen, or growth, phase that laser hair removal can be done. Because not all hairs go through the phases at the same time, it often takes a few sessions to ensure long-lasting results. Treatment sessions are typically four to six weeks apart.
You should not wax before and throughout treatment sessions, as it will slow progress; shaving is permitted, since the hair is still present under the skin. A treatment session, which can last just a few minutes to an hour depending on the size of the area being treated, may feel slightly uncomfortable — it can be described as a rubber band snapping against your skin. Since some areas can be more sensitive, a topical anesthetic may be used to reduce discomfort.
Patients typically need about three to six treatments before achieving the results they want — smooth, hairless skin. Some hair regrowth may be possible, so additional touchup treatments may be necessary every six months to a year.
Laser Hair Removal Benefits
Getting rid of unwanted hair for good is the most obvious benefit to laser hair removal, but there are others when comparing it to other methods.
- Less painful than waxing or electrolysis.
Waxing achieves fairly long results as an at-home or salon treatment — up to six weeks — but it’s known for being painful. Electrolysis achieves permanent results, but can be painful and require dozens of time-consuming treatments. While laser hair removal may cause some discomfort, the sessions are short and spaced weeks apart.
- Proven results.
Laser hair removal has been proven to reduce the amount of unwanted hair, with results lasting months to years. Instead of shaving weekly (or daily, for some!) or going through the painful process of waxing, hair loss can be nearly permanent.
- Save money in the long run.
The upfront costs of laser hair removal may be more than you would spend on a single waxing session, but considering that laser hair removal often achieves permanent results, you may save more money.
- No more razor burn and ingrown hairs.
Shaving is easy, but doing it incorrectly or simply having sensitive skin can cause razor burn and ingrown hairs, which can be particularly painful or become infected. Those who are prone to ingrown hairs can use laser treatment to get rid of them (and the hair) for good.