Navigating hair removal can be challenging for women, as the process of buying multiple shaving sticks and hair removal creams can become tedious, and waxing can be painful. If you’re seeking a more long-term solution for unwanted body hair, laser hair removal may be a consideration. However, it’s important to be informed about the procedure before booking an appointment.
Laser hair removal is a non-invasive procedure that uses concentrated light beams from a laser to remove unwanted hair. The treatment targets the melanin in the hair, causing damage to the hair follicles and preventing regrowth. The procedure is popular and demand is expected to continue to increase. However, it does come with risks and side effects that should be considered before undergoing the treatment.
The procedure has a prolonged effect, but it is not permanent.
Laser hair removal is not permanent. While it can effectively reduce hair by 15-30% per session, it does not permanently remove hair as it only targets hair follicles in the active growth stage, leaving those in the dormant stage untouched. It is important to note that hair growth cycles vary from individual to individual and multiple sessions are typically required for best results.
Laser hair removal may not provide permanent results, but it can significantly reduce hair growth and make regrowth lighter and less noticeable. Repeat treatments can also lead to longer-lasting results.
It will take multiple sessions to attain the desired outcome.
Be aware that laser hair removal is not a one-time appointment process. According to the Mayo Clinic, it typically takes 2-6 appointments spaced out over a few weeks to achieve hairlessness. The frequency of appointments may vary depending on the area being treated, with faster growing areas like the upper lip requiring less time between appointments compared to slower growing areas like the back.
As you continue laser hair removal sessions, you will likely notice a decrease in hair growth in the targeted areas. This is because regular laser treatments prevent damaged hair follicles from regenerating, and also target new, previously inactive hair follicles. With each appointment, you can expect to see more hair reduction and better maintain your desired hairless appearance. Keep in mind that individual results may vary, and some people may require additional maintenance appointments for long-lasting results.
It can become a costly beauty expense.
Laser hair removal is a top beauty investment due to the time saved from traditional hair removal methods and the long-lasting results of smooth skin. The average cost per session is $389, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. However, prices can vary greatly, with the most expensive treatments reaching up to $1,600 per session, depending on the qualifications of the practitioner and location.
The cost of laser hair removal can add up, as it is not typically covered by health insurance and may require multiple sessions. However, the cost may also depend on the area being treated, with larger areas costing more. Additionally, women in the US spend over $10,000 on hair removal products over the course of their lives. Therefore, laser hair removal may be a more cost-effective long-term investment.
It is crucial to adhere to the instructions provided before treatment.
To maximize the benefits of laser hair removal, preparation is key. Follow the instructions and advice of the laser specialist, and consult with them to ensure the treatment is suitable for you. Before your appointment, inform the specialist of any medications you are taking and any health concerns. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends discussing the number of appointments required and determining if your hair is suitable for laser removal.
According to Body Details, pre-treatment instructions for laser hair removal include avoiding hair removal and bleach in the area to be treated for 4-6 weeks prior, abstaining from makeup and heavy creams before the appointment, and limiting sun exposure or tanning as it can affect the treatment outcome.
It may cause discomfort depending on one’s ability to tolerate pain.
The procedure for laser hair removal can cause discomfort, but it is generally not considered to be painful. Factors such as the treatment area, laser power, and hair texture can affect the level of discomfort. Some lasers now have a cooling feature or use advanced high-speed lasers with a vacuum, which can minimize pain during treatment. According to Dr. Manjul Agarwal, a dermatologist at Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh, when the proper parameters are used, the procedure is now practically painless.
Pain tolerance varies greatly among individuals. The sensation of a beauty treatment may be similar to a mild sunburn, but numbing cream can help reduce discomfort. However, those with sensitive skin, large areas of hair removal, or low pain tolerance may experience more pain during the procedure.
It is common to experience redness and swelling following the procedure
It is normal to experience redness and swelling on the skin after a laser hair removal procedure. These are common minor side effects of the treatment, according to Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin. Perifollicular edema, which is swelling in the areas where energy is absorbed and hair follicles are disabled, can occur similar to how ingrown hairs or bumps appear after shaving. This is a normal condition, as stated by Westerville Dermatology.
Most swelling, redness, or irritation from laser hair removal typically goes away within one to three days, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. However, if you experience persistent swelling, burns, or symptoms of infection such as pus or discolored streaks, you should seek medical attention. People with hayfever allergies or asthma may experience severe itchy red rashes from laser hair removal, according to medwireNews. To reduce your risk of complications, have a patch test done 24 to 48 hours before your procedure and talk to your caregiver about any concerns you may have.
The skin may appear to have a change in color, either lighter or darker.
It is important for women to be aware that laser hair removal may affect their skin color. This can occur as a result of the skin’s reaction to the laser’s heat or energy, leading to inflammation of the treated area. This can cause an increase in melanin production by the melanocytes, resulting in the appearance of lighter or darker spots around the treated area. These spots can last for one to two months post-treatment, as stated by Dr. Michele Green.
Hyper and hypopigmentation are regarded as risk factors for anyone considering laser hair removal (via ScienceDirect). This risk increases even further when inappropriate laser settings are used or inexperienced doctors treat a patient. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Geeta Yadav told Self that if you have melanin-rich skin, you should be especially careful about the type of laser your provider uses. Some providers like to utilize intense pulsed light technology, which has been known to target melanin in order to destroy hair follicles. Over time this method of treatment can cause darker or lighter spots to appear on deep skin tones.
There are health risks to consider
No beauty treatment comes without risks, which may make you think twice about getting laser hair removal in the beginning. Some risks include scabbing, scarring, eye injuries, and inhaling harmful toxins. While these side effects may sound scary, skin irritations like scabbing or scarring only occur if post-treatment instructions are not properly followed or if the skin is left unmoisturized. Eye injuries, on the other hand, are increasingly likely if the hair being lasered is on a person’s face. This is why laser hair removal isn’t recommended for eyelids, eyebrows, or any area near the eyes .
According to the study, among these released chemicals is a black plume of smoke that is especially prevalent during laser hair removal and is considered harmful to both humans and animals. This poses the greatest risk for practitioners who are continuously exposed to these chemicals and may need smoke evacuators or masks to ensure personal safety. While patients of laser hair removal should worry more about the topical reactions, it is important to consider all health and environmental risks of the beauty treatment.
Treatment may not be safe or effective at home
The cost of these laser devices is typically only $400 or $500 ), which is a lot cheaper than booking multiple professional laser appointments. However, just because at-home laser products are available, doesn’t mean that they are the safest or even the most effective option.
At-home laser treatments are FDA approved , which means that the safety of these devices is questionable. This is why it is important to be aware of the increased risks of an at-home kit, such as a high burn risk, which is especially possible for people with darker skin. The at-home lasers include true lasers and intense pulsed light lasers, both of which use light to heat the hair follicles and vary only in the wavelength. However, these devices are not nearly as powerful as professional ones (via Cleveland Clinic).
Ultimately, while the choice depends on the person, professional hair removal gives you a bigger bang for your buck, dermatologist Rachel Ward told Cleveland Clinic.
Best result on darker hair
However, there are some hair colors that laser treatments work better for. Generally, if you have hair that is darker than your skin tone, then laser hair removal will work better on you.
Laser technology targets the color in your hair follicles to remove hair. According to Body Details, darker colors tend to attract light in the visible light spectrum. Thus, when a laser is aimed at darker hair, it is fairly easy to detect and can quickly get hot and damage the targeted hair. However, this can be a double-edged sword for dark-haired women as this can cause overexposure to damage. To combat this, modern technology now has different wavelengths of lasers that can work on all different skin and hair types to prevent both under and overexposure. This means that even if you have lighter hair, you can still get laser hair removal.
The hair will come back smoother and finer
This is beneficial for clients seeking laser hair removal in the first place as the appearance of your unwanted hair becomes a lot less noticeable and more manageable.
When laser hair removal is performed properly, the procedure will target the rate of hair growth, hair density, and thickness according to Style Craze. Over time, these results will showcase delayed hair growth and smoother or finer hair. However, if the procedure is not performed properly, paradoxical hypertrichosis can occur, where the hair actually grows back thicker and coarser after laser treatment. However, research findings published in “Dermatologic Surgery” indicate that this is a rather rare and adverse side effect that occurs primarily in the face and neck and in only 0.6% to 10% of patients. Don’t let this deter you, as for the majority of patients, the results are typically lighter and easier to manage hair.