Men and women from all walks of life are turning in increasing numbers to the laser to remove unwanted hair from their bodies. The most popular areas are faces, backs, legs, armpits and bikini lines. The latest machines allow specialists to remove hair from virtually any part of our bodies, as long as it is fully grown hair and not just peach fuzz. After six months of treatment, we can expect that somewhere between 60 and 95 percent of the treated hair will be gone.
Does hair removal laser work for everybody?
Hair removal laser works best with people who have light-colored skin and dark hair. The latest lasers work with almost all skin types, but generally speaking, people with darker skin and light-colored hair (white, gray or red) are not good candidates for the laser.
If laser does not work for you, there are many other techniques you can explore, such as waxing, sugaring or electrolysis.
How does it work?
Hair grows from follicles, which are located underneath the skin. Follicles are dark in color because they contain melanin in the protein that gives color to our hair. The laser generates heat as it goes through the skin and it is attracted by the darker color of melanin. The laser rays generate enough heat to kill the follicles and prevent new hair from growing while not damaging the surrounding skin.
Our hair grows in cycles, which means that only some hairs are growing at any given time while others are dormant. Laser techniques can only target active hair so you usually need several sessions a few months apart to target all the hair in a particular area.
What about hair removal laser costs?
The American Association for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery estimates that the average session costs $388. Hair removal laser prices vary according to the area that you want to be treated. For example, the price of treating your upper lip is significantly lower than treating your legs or your back. Generally speaking, you can expect hair removal laser costs to range somewhere between $200 and $600, depending on the area you are treating and your clinic.
Even though hair removal laser prices can be steep, you should keep in mind that laser techniques are much more comfortable than the alternatives of electrolysis or waxing and that the results will last for years.
What should you look for in a doctor?
There are literally thousands of places offering hair removal laser, but not all of them employ certified technicians. To be on the safe side, it is best to consult with a dermatologist trained in hair removal laser. During your initial consultation, your doctor will first decide whether you are a good candidate for hair removal laser. After that, he or she will explain the procedure, ask for your medical history and give you a number of instructions to prepare for the session.
How can I prepare for my session?
Avoid tanning. Tanned skin increases the chances of skin discoloration. Also, avoid waxing or plucking the area to be treated. Instead, shave the area one night before your appointment. Some doctors might recommend that you apply a cream with lidocaine or a mild anesthetic an hour before the session begins.
Is it safe?
Hair removal laser is a safe technique. After each session, you might experience some redness and mild swelling, but this should quickly go away. It is recommended that you avoid the sun and strenuous exercise for a few days after the treatment. In some rare cases, patients might experience pain and blisters. In extreme cases, permanent scarring or skin discoloration can occur.