Never having to shave again may seem like a distant dream. Laser hair removal does work well, however. If you’ve never had it done, you probably have questions in your mind about how exactly it works. What follows are answers to seven questions that people often quietly wonder about when they consider laser hair removal.
Is laser hair removal permanent?
In a way, laser hair removal certainly is permanent. When you fully treat an area, the laser targets every hair follicle that the area holds, and burns it all off. Those hair follicles don’t grow hair again. Nothing stops your skin from growing new hair follicles, however. Weight changes and changes to your body’s hormone balance can cause new hair follicles to show up over time. For this reason, maintenance treatments once a year are normally needed.
Is there risk involved?
When you are around powerful lasers, the potential for eye damage is the greatest area of risk. Both you and the operator need to wear protective goggles that are designed for the specific laser used. If you wear the goggles the entire time that the laser is in use, your eyes stay safe. Skin damage is another possible area of risk.
While it’s normal for a certain amount of temporary skin inflammation to occur, blisters, burns, and discoloration are not acceptable. Sometimes, inexperienced operators end up using the wrong kind of laser for a skin type and cause injuries of this kind. You need to make sure that you go to a reputed, well-reviewed laser hair removal center.
Is there any pain involved?
A certain amount of discomfort comes with laser hair removal. Most people liken the pain involved to the sting of a rubber band snapping against the skin. The pain only lasts a few milliseconds, however. The stinging can cause the skin to become reddened and delicate, but not actually painful.
Which is the better choice for hair removal: a dermatologist or a spa?
It’s always a good idea to get laser hair removal done in the presence of a dermatologist, an ENT doctor, an eye doctor or a plastic surgeon. Doctors who specialize in any one of these core areas receive training in the use of lasers, which is important. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go to a clinic, however. Medical spas and hair removal clinics often have doctors on board.
Choosing the right kind of laser for each specific type of skin is the most important part of successful laser hair removal. There should be a dermatologist, ENT doctor, eye doctor or plastic surgeon present to determine exactly what kind of laser should be used. It’s also important for the doctor to check you to make sure that you aren’t on any medicines that are likely to over-sensitize your skin to lasers.
Some spas that don’t have doctors present in person have patients speak to doctors over a video call. This kind of compromise doesn’t usually work out well, however. You should always use a hair removal spa or clinic that has a doctor present in person.
Does your skin type or hair color matter?
Different kinds of laser are used for different skin types. There is no one laser that works for everyone. If you’re light-skinned (a type I on the Fitzpatrick scale), the doctor will usually recommend a diode laser. People with dark skin usually have their hair removed with Nd:YAG lasers.
Some laser clinics advertise that they use lasers that work on every hair type. Lasers tend to not work well with light hair, however. What these clinics actually mean is that they use intense pulsed light. IPL, unlike lasers, is broad-spectrum light. It doesn’t target hair follicles with precision. For this reason, it may cause skin burns.
How long does laser hair removal take?
How long the procedure takes depends on the area that you treat. Each hair follicle only takes a fraction of a second to zap. If you’re treating a small area like an armpit, it should take you no longer than five minutes. Larger expanses, such as the legs, may take a half-hour.
If you’re buying laser treatments at a discount, you need to remember that you won’t need more than six treatments. If a clinic wishes to bundle more as part of a package, it’ll probably be more than you need.
What parts of your body should you remove hair on?
Laser hair removal is safe everywhere on the body, except for the area around the eyes. Bringing a laser anywhere near the eyes can be risky. You will need to always keep tweezing or waxing the part of your face that is above the nose. In general, most people get hair removed on the armpits, the legs, and the bikini line. Many take it further and go full Brazilian.
Laser hair removal is a mature technique and tends to deliver excellent results. Unlike other methods of hair removal, there is only a little maintenance required. If you’d like to hang up the wax and razors for good, lasers can certainly help you.