Laser hair removal is a viable option, especially if you want a more flawless finish. By far, it is the best alternative to the usual shaving, plucking and/or waxing. In fact, laser hair removal is the second most executed non-surgical, non-invasive cosmetic procedure in the United States, next to Botox.
Laser hair removal is more suitable to light-skinned people with dark and coarse hair strands. And although results from laser hair removal are more lasting compared to other methods, permanent hair removal is never an assurance. Several laser treatments and, maybe, a few periodic maintenance treatments are necessary to extend satisfying results.
Laser Hair Removal: The Procedure
The hair in the area to be treated might be cut off before the actual laser hair removal. You will also be provided with protective eyewear to guard your eyes from the harmful effects of the laser beam. A topical anaesthetic might be used by your doctor to minimize any discomfort during treatment.
Depending on the type of laser to be utilized, a cooling device or a cool gel maybe used to protect the skin. When the laser is activated, the beam will pass through the skin into the hair follicles, wherein the hair within the follicles is destroyed and eventual hair growth is restrained.
How long the treatment will last will depend on the area being treated. Laser hair removal can be done on the upper lip, back, legs, underarm, bikini line, etc.
Redness and swelling is noticeable after a few hours following the procedure. To minimize any discomfort brought about by the swelling, ice can be applied to the treated body part. Aloe gel, creams, lotions, and pain relievers can also be used. If, however, skin irritation occurs, a steroid cream might be required.
It is advisable to use sunscreen or, better yet, avoid sun exposure after laser hair removal.
Laser Hair Removal: Benefits
- Accuracy – lasers are capable of specifically targeting dark and coarse hair while leaving the surrounding skin unscathed
- Swiftness – each laser pulse takes a fraction of a second, allowing treatment of multiple hairs all at once
- Effectiveness – 90% of those who undergo laser hair removal experience permanent hair loss after around 3-5 sessions
- Minimal discomfort
- Zero downtime
Laser Hair Removal: Risks
- Pigment changes – darkening or lightening of the affected skin, especially when improper laser or setting has been used
- Blisters, scars, or changes in skin texture
- Permanent hair removal not guaranteed
- Skin irritation
- May cause severe eye injury
Laser Hair Removal: Treatment Frequency
But because no two persons possess exactly the same hair growth pattern, it is quite difficult to foretell how often laser treatment should be done to completely remove unwanted hair. Usually, around 4-6 sessions, once a month, are necessary to permanently remove unwanted hair at any body part.
Laser Hair Removal: Cost
The average cost for laser hair removal is $429. This is according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Nevertheless, the cost can greatly vary, depending on how big the are to be treated is, the time needed for the treatment, the number of sessions called for, the location, and who will do the procedure (if it’s a doctor or someone else).
Laser Hair Removal: Types of lasers used
1. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Hair Removal
In reality, IPL devices are not lasers, per se. But yes, they are quite similar in that both use the same idea, which is selective photothermolysis, to effect hair removal. IPLs must only be used by experienced professionals since they are harder to operate, as compared to lasers.
The beauty of IPL lies in the fact that it can work on all skin types, regardless of color and hair type.
IPL devices popularly used today are EpiLight, Quantum, PhotoDerm, Aculight, and Vasculight.
2. Ruby (694 nm) Laser Hair removal
Ruby laser is actually the oldest type to have been used for hair removal purposes. It is suitable for the fair or light-skinned with fine hairs. Compared to other lasers, Ruby lasers include lesser area coverage during treatments. Not only that, Ruby laser hair removal is relatively painless.
Ruby lasers used today are Palomar E2000, RubyStar, and EpiPulse Ruby.
3. Alexandrite (755 nm wavelength) Laser Hair removal
Alexandrites are considered to be the quickest of each and every type of lasers. This is recommended in treating larger areas of those who are light- to olive-skinned.
This laser is the fastest of all the laser types. It is good for treating larger body areas among patients who are of light-to-olive complexion. It is one of the most widely used hair removal lasers. It has also been proven to be effective on finer hair, which has long posed a problem to hair removal by lasers.
4. Diode Laser Hair removal
For the dark-skinned, Diode laser is highly recommended because of its longer wavelength; although it can also be used for other skin types.
Diode lasers available today are: SLP 100, F1 Diode, MeDioStar, Light Sheer, LaserLite, Apex 800, and Epistar.
5. Nd Yag Laser Hair removal
Like IPL devices, Nd Yag laser can also be used regardless of the skin type. It is also effective for fine hairs. Studies have shown that Nd Yag can notably delay hair growth, compared to other lasers. Unfortunately, this type of laser is more painful compared to others.
Nd Yag lasers are: CoolGlide, Athos, Medlite IV, Varia, Lyra, and Image.