Laser Hair Removal Treatments 101


Laser hair removal treatments are an FDA approved method for permanent hair reduction, but not permanent hair removal. It requires multiple treatments to have the best results.

How Does It Work?

A hand-held laser device sends out pulsed light on the skin to seek out the dark pigment (color) of hair and impairs the hair follicle. Hair will begin to fall out within the next 10 - 14 days after treatment.

Hair grows in different stages: growing, resting and shedding. Because all of the hair isn't on the same stage at any given time, multiple treatments are needed to get the hair in the growth phase, for the laser to be most effective.

The Pros

  1. Hair reduction can make a world of difference. While you might not get totally smooth and silky hair forever, it should be less noticeable and require less shaving or waxing. According to The Mayo Clinic, lasers can reduce hair counts 40% to 80%.
  2. Little to no hair growth is needed for treatments. Depending on the type of laser, hair can either be continually shaved, including the day of treatment or only require a few days worth of growth.
  3. Laser hair removal treatments aren't extremely time-consuming. Large areas can be treated all at once, as opposed to electrolysis which requires each follicle to be individually treated. A laser treatment done on the back takes about an hour.

The Cons

  1. Scarring, blisters, and burns can occur. Although it's not very common, these are still possible side effects, especially from someone inexperienced.
  2. It's not cheap. The average rates are below. Laser hair removal costs are going to depend on where the place is located, and the type of facility. Each visit averages $200 - $900, based on the size of the area being treated.
  3. Multiple treatments are needed. It's not a one-hit wonder. Usually, 4-6 treatments are needed, spaced out about a month apart to achieve the best hair reduction results.
  4. Not everybody is a candidate. Because laser targets darkness, people with dark hair and light skin are better suited for laser treatments. Some lasers are available to give results to those with light skin/light hair and dark skin/dark hair, but advancement is still being made.

Ouch Factor

The discomfort level varies according to the type of laser used, person's hair type, body area getting treated, and one's personal threshold. Getting a laser hair removal treatment is likened to a rubber band snapping against the skin. The first session generally hurts the most and then subsides with further visits. People with very thick, dark hair often feel a bit more pain than those with thin hair, because darker hair absorbs more of the laser light.

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