Laser Hair Removal: 10 Things You May Not Already Know
1. Laser hair removal is the best, seriously THE best method out there for dealing with unwanted hair! And remember, when comparing laser hair removal with other forms of depilation, laser and electrolysis are the only treatments that you will ever be finished with. (Electrolysis is so much more time intensive and painful though.) Waxing, threading, plucking, shaving, all of these methods will be annoying and painful daily or monthly endeavors for the rest of your life!
2. Just Get Started! It takes approximately 9 – 15 months to complete a series of laser hair removal treatments. This is because, depending on the area being treated, the treatments must be spaced 4 – 10 weeks apart and 6 or more sessions are needed. All too often people put it off until the ‘right time.’ But, by the time you find the ‘right time’ you could be finished with your treatments and enjoying being hair-free!
3. You do not need to grow your hair out at all before receiving laser treatment 🙂 This is another BIG benefit over waxing. In fact, you need to shave it – and the closer the shave, the better. If there is any length to the hair during your treatment, that hair will melt and burn and irritate your skin (and stink!)
4. You really shouldn’t be tan or have on self-tanner when having your treatment EVEN IF your laser practitioner tells you that their lasers are safe on tanned skin. In general, the greater the contrast between the skin color and hair color, the better. Regardless of the type of laser, increased pigment in your skin means increased heat in your skin from the laser. So, if you’re tan, the settings will have to be much more conservative in order to protect your skin from being burned. What does that mean for you? A less effective treatment and maybe more sessions. Great for the laser center but not great for your wallet. And, keep in mind that 99% of significant adverse effects occur when the skin is tanned or is exposed to the sun in the days before or after a laser treatment.
5. It really is less painful than waxing! If the pain is something that’s holding you back, don’t let it! If you’ve been tolerating the pain of waxing, you will definitely be able to tolerate the pain of laser hair removal. You know how your skin still smarts for a while after the wax strip is pulled off? Well, the pain of laser is gone immediately after each zap. If you’re very sensitive, a few things can help like a couple advil, over-the-counter numbing creams and good old fashioned ice.
6. Worried about side effects? Don’t be! It is incredibly rare to experience anything beyond some redness, slight tenderness (like a mild sunburn) and some temporary bumps. Most often by the time you get home you won’t be able to tell anything was done! Blisters or burns almost never happen and when they do, 99% of the time it is because of sun exposure – which is under your control. If you are tan or have had sun exposure prior to a treatment OR if you expose your skin to UV rays in the first 5 days following your treatment, your likelihood of experiencing a burn increase. Also keep in mind that even if a burn does occur, it will heal. It’s incredibly unlikely to see any permanent damage as a result of laser hair removal.
7. Think it’s too expensive? Think again! The cost of laser hair removal treatments has come way down since the early days. Now waxing and laser are almost the same price and it’s definitely more expensive to get waxed when you consider that you’ll have to pay for waxing every month for years and years to come.
8. It works better on some clients than on others. There are so many factors that go into this. Thick, dark hair combined with pale skin works the best. Those with a darker complexion or with lighter hair may need more treatments. But other factors play a role as well. Laser is only able to permanently disable follicles that are in the active phase of the growth cycle. Normally about 15-20% of your hair is in the active phase. But, this varies from person to person. Genetics could dictate that only 10% of your hair is in the active phase – and this would mean that you need more treatments than average. Also, hormones play a significant role in how successful laser treatments are. Androgens like testosterone are present in men and women (although much lower in women) and androgens cause increased hair growth on the body. Some people have elevated androgens or are more sensitive to their effects and this can mean that they have more difficulty getting results and need more treatments. Also, androgen levels are higher in young people and decline as we get older. We see that young clients tend to need more laser treatments than older clients.
9. It really is permanent in the vast majority of cases! Keep in mind, this refers to permanent hair “reduction”and not permanent hair “removal.” Laser hair removal does not get rid of 100% of the hair. It’s closer to 80 or 90% but this is still amazing! The hairs that are left behind are so thin that they are barely noticeable. Once you complete your treatments you most likely won’t have to have laser ever again. There are a few things that might put a wrench in this though. Pregnancy can cause new follicles to form and we’ve noticed this especially on the underarms. We also see a need for more frequent touch-ups on women’s faces as they get older and in men in general – all due to those pesky hormones. Some clients periodically come in for a touch-up after they notice a few new hairs growing in but normally it’s no more than that – just a few new hairs.
10. Laser hair removal will be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. It may seem insignificant compared to other things but the freedom of not having to deal with unwanted or embarrassing hair really will change your life for the better. A client once told us that laser and Jesus were the two best decisions she had ever made!