Shaving, waxing, depilatories, and electrolysis – hair removal can be time-consuming, expensive and painful! But is going under the laser the answer to your hair-removal woes? Here are the benefits (and risks) to laser hair removal.
How does laser hair removal work?
There are several laser devices currently available but they all use the same basic technology. A device delivers laser energy (heat) to the unwanted hair, which penetrates each strand right to the root and damages the follicle. This disables the follicle and prevents it from producing new hair.
In comparison, electrolysis involves removing hair by applying electric current to the follicle with a fine needle that destroys the root of the hair. Electrolysis requires needle probes to be inserted into every hair follicle you want to target which can make sessions quite long and uncomfortable (laser hair removal can treat larger areas at a time). However, electrolysis is approved by the FDA for permanent hair removal vs. permanent hair reduction for laser treatments which means there is less chance of regrowth with electrolysis.
What are the pros?
One of the biggest advantages of laser hair removal is the speed of the treatment in comparison electrolysis, which is much more time-consuming.
The technique is considered to be safe if performed properly.
It is considered to be less painful than other methods (particularly electrolysis).
The process works – most people experience long-lasting hair removal or even permanent hair reduction.
The method is effective for removing hair from large areas such as backs or legs.
What are the cons?
Laser treatments are only approved by the FDA for “permanent hair reduction” NOT “permanent hair removal”. This simply means that some regrowth is to be expected, this is not a permanent hair-removal solution for most consumers (though reduction of hair can be expected).
There can be side effects that can range from itching or swelling (which will disappear after a few days) to more serious (but rare) side effects like burning, skin discoloration, blistering and infection.
Since the laser targets melanin ( the consuming pigment that gives skin and hair color), people with dark hair (more melanin) have more success with this treatment than people with light hair.
Several treatments are needed (usually 6-8) to remove hair from the desired area. The time each session takes will depend on how big the hair removal area is.
Treatment can be expensive.
Laser hair removal certainly gives you longer lasting results when compared to more conventional methods like shaving, waxing, and depilatories. Additionally, it is generally thought to be less painful and lot consume than electrolysis. However, electrolysis is approved as a permanent hair removal treatment while some regrowth can be expected with laser hair removal. If you are considering laser treatment just be sure to talk to a reputable aesthetic medical provider to be sure you understand the benefits and risks of the procedure.