Shaving and waxing have now given way to laser hair removal. It sounds painful with the word “laser” incorporated into the title, but what is laser hair removal really like? How effective is it, and is it affordable?
It can be quite awkward for some people to let someone else get so up close and personal, especially with your more sensitive areas. So the question is, are beauty and convenience really worth all this trouble?
What Exactly is Laser Hair Removal?
For one thing, it’s significantly less scary than you think. It doesn’t involve violently pulling out hairs at the roots, and it doesn’t involve burning your skin. What it does entail is damaging your hair follicles without hurting you at all.
The laser is focused: it destroys the hair follicles and inhibits hair growth. There are laser hair removal products for home use, but before you click “order,” there are a few things to note.
The laser targets your pigments, so you need to set the laser a certain way, depending on your skin tone. If you use the wrong setting, you could potentially hurt yourself.
How Much Does it Cost?
So you have decided to opt for professional help, but just how much is it going to set you back? It can be pricey, but it depends on where you are and what area you want to target. Another thing to pay attention to and keep in mind is that it takes multiple sessions for the effects to be somewhat permanent.
You need to multiply the amount you pay per session by however many times the doctor estimates you need. It will range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand.
Laser Hair Removal Fun Facts
There are some facts you need to know for before and after the treatment.
- It takes multiple sessions and can be as long as six months!
- The pain varies from area to area.
- It’s better to schedule treatment during colder seasons because sun exposure beforehand can cause
- your skin to burn. You can also recover just in time for the summer months.
- Skin exfoliation will help the process.
- Thicker hair with more pigment (color) will respond better than thinner and lighter hair.
- Even after the full treatment, you may still experience some fuzz.
- Laser hair removal isn’t a permanent treatment.
How Do I Prepare for Laser Hair Removal?
We would always suggest getting a consultation first before booking. In many clinics, it’s required for the doctor to take a look at you, decide what you need, and reach an agreement on sessions and pricing.
While laser hair removal shouldn’t be unbearably painful, there’s still a level of discomfort. You should shave hair from the area before the treatment.
If you have a surprisingly low threshold for pain, it’s also advised to take painkillers 30 minutes before the session.
What to Expect
Luckily, the process is quite quick. Each session shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. The pain level is comparable to being flicked with an elastic band (which is less painful than tattoos, in our opinion). The process is described to be uncomfortable, at best, not really painful.
Of course, more sensitive areas will be more prone to pain, but it shouldn’t be unbearable. If you’re concerned about the pain, be sure to voice your worries to your doctor beforehand.
As mentioned in the fun facts section, this is not a permanent solution to combat unwanted hair growth. You will see a significant reduction, sure, and with each session, the difference will be noticeable.
You will need to shave the area getting treatment. Once you get comfortable in the doctor’s chair or bed, you will most likely be given a pair of goggles for eye protection. Some gel should be applied to the area, and the doctor will get all the equipment ready.
It should feel like a rubber band flicking you repeatedly, but some people claim it’s a bit more uncomfortable than that. It’s also worth noting that it’s more effective on coarser and darker hair, it also hurts more.
This is because more energy is needed to target such hairs, which means more pain. It’s also said that the first session is the most painful, but as the hair begins to lighten and become sparser, the pain will also lessen.
You will notice redness and perhaps even red bumps on your skin after the first couple of sessions, but that just means it’s working!
Are There Side Effects?
Similar to most people doing their due diligence beforehand, you want to know if there are any considerable side effects. Laser hair removal has come a long way, and the longer a procedure is in effect, the safer it becomes.
Sure, you will experience some redness and tenderness, but that’s to be expected. If you imagine a particular part of your skin being subjected to consistent flicks of a rubber band, you would be tender and sore too.
If you went against our advice and, most likely, your doctor’s advice, and got a decent amount of sun exposure before the procedure, you could be looking at some long-term and potentially devastating side effects.
Your skin could become too inflamed by too much heat exposure. Burning and scarring are the more severe side effects that can come with this. So it’s essential to limit the amount of sun you get before the process.
Also, try to refrain from any activities that will compromise your immune system. We’re talking about drinking.
Don’t irritate the sensitive area. You can ask your doctor if there are soothing creams or anything you can do to help the process. As mentioned above, exfoliating in the shower can also help speed up the hair loss process.
How permanent is it?
We said before many times that laser hair removal isn’t permanent. But if it’s not permanent, is it even worth your time and money? If you think about it as a hair reduction process rather than a straight up hair removal, you will get a clearer picture.
It damages and sometimes destroys hair follicles, but that doesn’t mean your body can’t develop new ones. What you will most likely be seeing after a completed process is complete hair reduction.
The effects of the procedure can last anywhere from a few months to years! It depends on the person, and their hair texture and thickness, the color of their skin, and the lasers they use. However, reduction is promised.
Are there any risks involved?
Other than the potential to scar and burn, the one other risk is not what you may think. Damage to your eyes is a big one. That’s why we mentioned that doctors will wear and provide goggles during the process. Even with the goggles, try not to look directly at the laser if you’re worried.
Will it work for me?
We also touched upon the fact that laser hair removal treatments aren’t the best for those with fine or light-colored hair. Unfortunately, if you have blonde or light red hair, you would need to go in for a thorough consultation.
Can I do it anywhere?
The procedure can be done anywhere except areas where the skin is very thin. These areas include: around the eyes, temples, and upper cheeks.
Generally, there won’t be any downtime since laser hair removal is considered a light and non-invasive procedure. There may be some minor side effects such as swelling, redness, and tenderness, but it should subside in a matter of days.
While it may not be for everyone, laser hair removal is an effective process to reduce hair production by 70% and above. The process is relatively easy to handle, and there is virtually no downtime. Just make sure you follow all the tips given by your doctor. Watch out for sun exposure and a crazy night out before the big day!
Whether you are looking to remove armpit hair, leg hair, or to go Brazilian, laser hair removal is a quick and pretty affordable way to do so.