Unsightly and unwanted hair has been a problem since before the invention of the bikini, yet at no time in our history have we been in such a good position to actually remove that hair permanently. You want to look as smooth-skinned as the princess from Clash Royale – her smooth, gel-like skin! However, as with all medical procedures, laser hair removal has its risks. There are some things that you should know before you commit to laser hair removal.
How does it work and who does it work for?
Hair removal lasers do their job in two parts. First, they use a pulsing light to specifically target the melanin or the pigment in your hair. Once targeted the light then breaks down the melanin. The light can only target melanin. This means that it can only work on hair that has enough melanin in it so that it can be targeted. Light hair cannot be targeted. Some unscrupulous people will try to convince you that ‘their’ laser will work on light hair. Without melanin in your hair, the laser cannot work.
Unfortunately, the light cannot distinguish between hair and skin. It is designed to target and destroy melanin and will do so without prejudice. Dark skinned or tanned people will experience skin discoloration from a hair removal laser.
Using a hair removal laser on a dark-skinned person or on a person with light colored hair should be a crime. The treatment will not work as described.
There is a new machine which utilizes both the pulse light and a radio frequency that is supposed to treat fair-haired people. But according to recent studies, it is effective only about 50% of the time.
How long does it take to see results?
Generally speaking, if the procedure worked then, the unwanted hair should start falling out in about 10 days. To speed things along you can use a mildly exfoliating soap or scrub on the 10 days or as soon as your doctor recommends.
How many treatments does it take?
This depends on quite a bit on how much hair you are trying to remove. Once again, generally speaking, 4-6 sessions stretched out over 4-6 weeks will produce a reduction of about 80% of the unwanted hair.
Once you have the area free of as much hair as can be affected then, you need to have touch-ups at least once a year. Eventually, you can discontinue the touch-ups.
How long is a treatment?
An experienced aesthetician using a pulsed light laser can treat a back or the back of both legs in about 2 hours.
Can I remove the hair from anywhere?
Pretty much anywhere hair grows can be treated. The exception is the sensitive area around the eyes. You can, however, remove from just about anyplace else. You can get that perfect bikini line, for those spontaneous moments.
Does it hurt?
The pain is nominal and depends greatly upon location and individual pain tolerance. The sensation of the light laser pulsing on your skin can feel a lot like a pinch or a light popping from a rubber band.
Ask your technician or aesthetician if they recommend any kind of pain medication or numbing lotion to be taken or applied prior to your session. They can recommend something safe.
What do I do before my appointment?
Any type of preparation that you might do before your appointment should be discussed with the technician or aesthetician that is performing the procedure. It is best to check with them when you make your decision to have the procedure, not after you have shaved.
How do I choose where to go to have my treatment?
Start by looking up all of the experts in your area and then visiting their shops. You can tell a lot about a company from the way they keep their shop. Also, check testimonials, ask your regular doctor, they cannot recommend but, you can get a feel for someone by what someone else does not say. The bottom line is, do your homework.
How much does it cost?
Prices vary from around $25 a session to $2000. There are a lot of factors that influence the cost. So, once again do your homework and know what it is that you are paying to have done.
Kiran has lived in New York, Afganistan, Russia, and China. He has been to enough countries to know that ignorance isn’t bliss. He started this blog to inspire curiosity and share medical discoveries.