Laser Hair Removal

Laser Hair Removal Guide

Laser hair removal is becoming more popular. It is a simple way to get rid of hair across the body, sometimes permanently. While the removal process is becoming more mainstream, there are things that should be known, including the types of lasers, the risks involved, and what questions need to be asked prior to having the procedure.

The more you know about laser hair removal, the easier it will be for you to decide if it’s right for you. It’s not for everyone and if you do decide to move forward, finding a reputable place is critical to ensure you have it done professionally.

Why Laser Hair Removal?

Men and women alike deal with hair in places they don’t want hair. This includes the back, legs, under arms, and other places. Laser hair removal is a permanent solution so a person does not have to worry about hair growth in these areas in the future.

Laser hair removal works by using wavelengths that are designed to destroy the hair follicle. Most places will advertise “maximum” hair reduction as opposed to total removal because it is nearly impossible to eliminate every single hair. However, most people will never have to worry about the hair in the areas where it is treated after they go through all of the procedures.

Laser hair removal is an alternative to other hair removal processes such as:

–              Shaving

–              Waxing

–              Hair removal creams

–              Electrolysis

Each of these hair removal processes have been used, with shaving and waxing being of the most common. However, some of these can lead to significant amounts of irritation. People who shave often experience shaving bumps and may also end up with scabs as they nick the surface repeatedly with the blade. With waxing, it can be painful, lead to redness, and if a person is allergic to the wax that is used, swelling.

Deciding on laser hair removal is a personal decision. If you are tired of waxing, shaving, or using other means of getting rid of hair, there is a permanent solution that you can explore.

While laser hair removal can be expensive, it is the convenience of it all. Think about how much time you could save every morning if you don’t have to shave. What if you never had to worry about going into a spa to have your back waxed?

Razors, shaving cream, waxing treatments and more can also add up financially over the cost of your life. The sessions are going to be a few hundred dollars each, but once they are spent, the hair is not going to grow back, which means you may be able to throw out your razor and never have to book a waxing appointment ever again.

There are several benefits to laser hair removal.

One of the first is that of precision. The lasers are able to select an area of skin where there are dark and course hairs and remove them without damaging any of the surrounding skin. Permanent hair loss is also experienced by approximately 90% of the people who go through 3-4 sessions.

Another benefit is that the procedure can be done quickly. It is considered a “lunchtime” procedure because it can be done on your lunch break. An area about the size of a quarter can be treated every second. This means an area such as the upper lip can be treated in under a minute. Larger areas, such as legs or arms, may take as long as an hour to treat.

There’s no a whole lot involved with a laser hair removal procedure. Some kind of training is involved and then the hair is zapped away. It’s best to leave the hair untreated for several weeks prior to going in for the laser treatment. This will ensure that the hairs’ roots can be found by the laser. It’s also a good idea to minimize sun exposure, plucking, dying, or anything else that you may be do that could complicate the hair removal.

Types of Lasers Used

It is important to know about the lasers used as there are many types. Most states do not have a lot of oversight about the aestheticians that perform laser treatments. Many of the state medical boards will allow for non physicians to use a laser for the purpose of hair removal, so you need to know about what’s going on before you sign on the dotted line for someone to proceed with using lasers on your skin.

If the wrong laser is used or used on the wrong setting, it’s possible to experience such side effects as:

–              Increased hair growth

–              Hyper-pigmentation

–              Burns

Not everyone is going to use the same laser at the same setting. For example, people with dark skin are going to require a different laser than people with light skin in order to get the same overall results. The doctor or technician is going to determine the laser based upon hair texture, color, and skin tone to avoid complications.

The Alexandrite Laser

The alexandrite laser is one of the most commonly used lasers for hair removal. The alexandrite crystal is used as the source of the laser and produces a wavelength in the spectrum of 755 nm. It can be referred to as a red light laser. It can be used as a q-switch laser, which results in a high intensity beam for short pulses. The heat energy that is created with the laser will destroy the roots of the hair follicles.

The alexandrite laser has been approved by the FDA. It can be used on the back, beck, chest, back, legs, under arms, and bikini area. It is most commonly used for people with light colored hair, but can be used for people with dark hair based upon the actual settings of the laser. Most pulse durations only last for all of 2 milliseconds and sometimes less.

Patients who have dark skin may not benefit from the alexandrite laser as it can destroy melanin, leaving patches of white skin in the wake of the laser.

The nd:Yag Laser

The nd:Yag laser is abbreviated for neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet, which is a type of crystal. The neodymium is what’s used to provide the actual laser activity. The wave length is 1064 nm and in a q-switched mode, there are two wavelengths produced, one of 1064 nm and one of 532 nm, making it a versatile laser for doctors and aestheticians to have.

Cells can be destroyed when using the Nd:Yag laser for hair removal. It is used in all of the same locations as the alexandrite laser and can be used for light colored hair and in some instances, dark colored hair depending upon the settings. The light pulses are typically of 2 to 20 milliseconds depending on the coarseness of hair to ensure that the hair falls out and minimizes regrowth.

The Diode Laser

The diode laser provides a deep penetration of the skin with a longer wavelength than some of the other lasers. It is also known for being able to work on darker skin. It can work on large parts of the body, making it ideal for legs, arms, and back, though not as effective on smaller areas, such as the face and under arms because of the spot size. The pulse range is approximately 5 to 30 milliseconds.

There are several diodes on the market and they can vary in terms of the pulse, fluence, and repetition rate. The average wavelength is going to be 800 nm. In some instances, there may be skin discoloration or redness, though it is temporary. It is mostly recommended for people with skin types 1 to 4 on the Fitzpatrick scale.

Other Lasers

Other lasers that may be used can include ruby, which is a long pulsed as well as IPL, standing for intense pulsed light, which is actually not a laser but is commonly grouped with lasers because of the same overall process.

Speaking to a doctor or aesthetician is critical to understand what laser is going to be used based upon skin tone and hair coluor to maximize the results.

What the Procedure Entails

It’s always a good idea to know what to expect when you undergo a laser hair removal treatment.

  1. Hair will be trimmed to be a few millimeters above the surface of the skin
  1. The laser will be adjusted for your hair and skin type
  1. Eye protection may be required for you to wear
  1. Outer layers of skin will be covered with a cooling device or cold gel
  1. Pulses of light will be given to the area to be treated
  1. Upon completion, Ice packs or cream may be used to cool the area

After the procedure, you will then make an appointment for 4 to 6 weeks later until your hair stops growing in the various places where you are getting the treatments.

There may be some redness and it may even feel like your skin is sunburned in the days following the procedure. If the skin is exposed, it’s a good idea to wear sunscreen to avoid temporary pigment changes. Over the next several weeks, your hair will begin to fall out within the treated area.

Top Questions Asked with Laser Hair Removal

There are many questions asked when it comes to laser hair removal. While it’s always important to schedule a consultation prior to visiting a doctor or aesthetician for the procedure, some frequently asked questions have been established to help you get some of the answers – and provide prompts for what you should be asking during your own consultation. This will ensure that you are going in well aware of what’s going to take place.

Q: What are the risks involved?

A: There are not many risks involved with laser hair removal. It is an outpatient procedure that requires no recovery time. Some people will experience redness and since there is no skin removed with the lasers used in hair removal, there is a very low risk for infection or anything else. Depending upon skin tone and the laser used, some people may also experience temporary hyper or hypo pigmentation, which is where the skin is made lighter or darker.

Q: How much will it cost?

A: The costs vary based upon the amount of hair that is being removed as well as the number of procedures that are required in total. Under arms can be more affordable than whole leg simply because of the area that is being treated. It can often be cost effective to have multiple areas of the body treated at the same time to qualify for a discounted price. During the consultation, you will be able to get a better idea on pricing.

Q: When is regrowth seen?

A: Regrowth typically takes a few weeks to be seen. For most people, after the first procedure, it will take two weeks or more to see any regrowth. Treatments will then need to occur until no new growth is seen, which signifies that the follicle has been sufficiently destroyed through the laser treatment.

Q: How many procedures are required?

A: The number of procedures that is required will vary based on many factors, including the skin tone, color of the hair, as well as coarseness. Some people will only need three or four treatments while other people may need seven or eight in total to experience permanent hair removal.

Q: Will it hurt?

A: Everyone’s pain thresholds are different, though many people liken the sensation to a rubber band being snapped across the skin. There will be numbing cream available to apply before and after the procedure if you find that your skin is more sensitive.

Q: Does a facility have to be licensed?

A: Yes. A facility should be licensed to use the laser equipment. While some salons are now offering the procedure, it should be done by a doctor or licensed aesthetician to ensure that the settings on the laser are programmed specifically for your skin type.

Q: Is a home hair removal device the same?

A: No. there are home hair removal devices that use lasers, though they are not the same. The lasers for home use are considerably lower, which means it will require many more treatments. To avoid complications, it is best to have a medical professional work with the lasers for hair removal.

Q: Is there a difference between laser hair removal and electrolysis?

A: Yes. Laser hair removal handles a patch at a time. Electrolysis takes longer because it is handling a single strand of hair at a time.

Q: Is there an age limit?

A: No. There are people of all ages going in to get laser hair removal. If you are tired of shaving or waxing, it can be a good option for you to explore. Youth are still growing their hairs and therefore it is not recommended for people under the age of 13. People who are already experiencing gray hair may also not respond appropriately to the laser.

How to Find the Right Location

Since there are no certifications for people to get that allow them to conduct laser hair removal sessions, the research is up to you. Questions can be asked during the consultation and you can also go to find a licensed dermatologist that offers the hair removal sessions.

Rented vs. Owned

You can ask to find out whether the lasers are owned or rented. It is cost effective for a location to own the lasers if they are doing a number of procedures. If they are renting, it is likely that they are only doing a few procedures each month, which may speak volumes about the amount of experience that they have with laser hair removal.

Tan vs. No Tan

There are questions that you can ask to find out whether a doctor or aesthetician knows what he or she is doing. For example, if you have a tan, it is going to impact whether you are a candidate for hair removal or not. Studies have been shown that people with a tan are not going to experience the same level of hair removal because the wavelengths will not be able to penetrate sufficiently. The only way for the skin to be treated with a tan is to cause burns or use settings that are so low that they won’t be effective.

Cost

You have to look at how much the procedures are going to cost. Package deals can help to make the sessions more affordable because you already know that you’re going to need more than one session in order to get the results that you want.

In the end, you are responsible for wear you go to get laser hair removal procedures. Dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, med spas, and other places offer the procedure, so you have to look at experience and cost to determine where the right place is so you get the desired effects without spending a fortune.

14 replies
  1. Kathy says:

    I saw that the clinics near the place I live in Sydney offer a lot of different permanent hair removal options with lasers such as the alexandrite, light sheer, cool glide... What else.. I also saw that some have special payment plans which offer you the possibility to pay according to your personal likings. It seems to me that if you do decide to opt for laser hair removal you really can get a great service for a lifetime. I don’t speak from my own experience, but my friends had hair removal treatments for her bikini zone, and she is so happy right now, persuading me to go and try, but I’m still a bit short with cash. And I also don’t know if my skin is good for that kind of thing, she said that the laser is a bit harsh and that she always had to be really careful for a couple of days after the treatment.

    Reply
  2. Alexandrite says:

    Hello. I am Sarah and I’ve been a frequent guest of a Melbourne clinic lately. What my doctor told me is that the best option is the alexandrite laser hair removal, because it’s the most common and is approved by the FDA. Also it can be used on different areas, so my hubby had his back done, and I did my bikini zone and my legs and underarm area. We are both happy with the results, and had a great experience with the clinic and the doctor. Laser hair therapy is like a life saviour, especially with the summer days. Hopefully till summer we will both just chill and not think about going to any treatments. I really do hope that the I fall into the category where the hair doesn’t start growing back like it used to, because then I would feel like I wasted money. But, to cut the rant short, I feel positive and so far I’ve been satisfied with the results.

    Reply
  3. Opinion says:

    Everyone is entitled to have an opinion, as long as they have tried something out, if they didn’t they better keep quiet. Laser hair removal is expensive, but it’s worth every penny, think about just how many razors you buy in a lifetime, and how much waxes you get and how much they cost as well. Laser removal is nothing compared to the overall cost, but some people just don’t seem to see the big picture. There are some hair removal clinics that are more affordable than others, so if you want to pinch a few pennies, then try to do thorough research about them. Don’t just complain about it.

    Reply
  4. Skin problems says:

    I was always wondering how effective is the laser hair removal, and yesterday I got my first treatment ever. I love near Sydney, and I took a short trip to a clinic I found online. It’s in Sydney, and it’s supposed to be really professional. All of the staff was okay, and everything was fine. I felt a bit of discomfort during the procedure, but that’s normal I guess. I wanted to do just my bikini area, but not too much, if you know what I’m saying. But the woman doing it went overboard, and I got laser burns on a couple of spots! I can’t even explain how much it burns and aches, what should I do now? I clearly stated which area I wanted, but she obviously didn’t listen. And now I am hesitant about laser hair removal, because I don’t think I’d like something like this to happen again. Lasers are great, but they are really dangerous. Skin is so sensitive after all. Be careful, and don’t be shy to state exactly what you want. And repeat if necessary. And also, will this leave a permanent scar or not?

    Reply
  5. Lindsay G. says:

    I had 6 treatments done, and each laser treatment was spaced 7 weeks apart. I checked with many laser hair removal clinics, before I chose the one that does things the fastest. For me it was important to be very quick and decisive, and do things as fast as I could. And to have a great payment plan which I really did. I would consider my hair removal successful, because it has really reduced the amount of hair that grows each day. And I don’t have to think about shaving and things like that! Thank Heavens, because that is really the worst trouble ever. I still get some ingrown hairs, and I’ve been using a lotion for ingrown hairs. The specialist said it usually doesn’t happen but it can to some people.

    Reply
  6. taylo says:

    So, the day after tomorrow I am going to start with the first of my seven session that I have scheduled, or so my specialist predicts I am going to need. I am getting my arms and bikini area lasered. Medical laser hair removal is the safest and best option, because then you know you’re going to get treated right, by a professional who is licenced and is using the right equipment. I went for a consultation and we estimated the cost to be around 3000, which isn’t that much for the entire bikini area and arms. Laser hair reduction might seem pricy to some people, but think about it, you’re getting rid of that hair forever, and also you’re getting rid of obligations like waxing and shaving, and dealing with ingrown hairs, and the stress of shaving in the last minute!

    Reply
  7. Great! says:

    Hi everyone. Before I had anything done on my legs, I read a lot of laser hair removal facts on the Internet, and went through a bunch of laser hair removal reviews. It helps a lot when you don’t know anything about the kinds of lasers there are, what to choose and how to make your choice. It helps to see what people have to say about it, who have gone through it. I have to disagree on one point. It’s not completely painless, although some people tend not to feel anything, I felt sharp zaps, which I couldn’t wait to be over with. After that, I also experienced a little bit of redness on my legs. Not swelling, just red areas where the laser went, and it was all over my legs. Luckily, it subsided quickly, and after a day I could go to the beach with my squeaky clean and shiny legs. This is my fifth treatment, and each time I had less zap

    Reply
  8. Rika says:

    This is my third treatment so far, on my legs, and I am seeing a change. I had no issus what so ever. I was sceptical about what is laser hair removal going to do for me, because I have been shaving since I was 13 and now I am 28. That’s some really stubborn hair, but I am happy that it’s working out. As for the treatment itself, I can really say that it’s not painful at all. Not for me at least. I haven’t experience any bad side effects either, so I can’t complain about that. The only thing is that sometimes I get little hairs that grow back within a week, but only on certain places. I called the laser clinic to talk about that, but they just said they’re going to see with time what happens. On the whole, I am happy so far.

    Reply
  9. Hairy and scary says:

    I’ve been literally a victim of wild hair growth on my back, ever since I was a teen. I would avoid pools and taking off my shirt, because I was embarrassed. And, as a guy, I wouldn’t shave or go for a wax, because then I felt emasculated. Then I met the woman of my dreams, who with a lot of love and persuading pushed me into trying out laser hair removal/ She knew I was unhappy, and she knew she could help, although I was so hesitant at first. We searched around for laser hair removal prices, because we both know, it’s expensive, and since we’re saving for a new home, we wanted to find the best option, or at least the most affordable one. Finally, we found a clinic that was great for us, and I was thrilled with the experience. It didn’t hurt at all, and I thought that it was going to be the most painful experience ever. After the first treatment, I was steady for two weeks, but then my wild hair started growing again, although, I did notice it was a bit less wild than it was before. So, I decided to get another treatment, and then another. It’s been six months, and although I still have some hair left back there, I am such a happy man. And all thanks to my lovely wife who persuaded me to do laser hair removal.

    Reply
  10. too pricey says:

    As for my budget, laser hair removal costs are big, personally. It’s just too much. Giving thousands away for something you can do at home. I really appreciate the technology these days, and I didn’t come here to rant, although it might seem like it. It just seems like these clinics should give us better deals or discounts. I’ve read about this nd yag laser hair removal, and it is expensive, girl, to die for. I guess it’s razors and waxing all the way.

    Reply
  11. Boyfee experience! says:

    My boyfriend got a coupon for back hair laser removal from his mom, lol, it was so embarrassing, he got it for his birthday. It was sort of like a hidden message, we all laughed so hard, but in the end it turned out that he was the one who asked for it, and we didn’t know. I never knew that men cared about this stuff until he went for his first treatment. I was impressed! I quote him ’’laser hair removal treatments are the best thing that has happened to me recently.’’ Now you know men!

    Reply
  12. Dry! says:

    After a bikini line laser hair removal I’ve noticed that the skin in that area has become very dry and I don’t know why. I haven’t phoned the clinic yet, but has anyone else had similar experiences? I’ve never had nothing similar happen to me, and I’ve had laser hair removal done before on my legs, and that area was fine, I’m clean as a whistle. What could be the issue?

    Reply
  13. Painless says:

    I was wondering, what is the price of laser hair removal, but only one treatment. I know, you don’t do much with one treatment, but since I don’t really have a lot of hair, I was thinking of getting one treatment. I read in many reviews that they schedule in advance, several treatments, but I don’t want that nor do I think I need it. And besides, I don’t think I would have the cash for it. I want just the simple painless laser hair removal, do it for one time and one time only, and that’s it. Anyone have any suggestions or advice? I’m sure there’s people who think just like me.

    Reply
  14. Recommendation says:

    Hey everyone. Just wanted to stop by and share my experience, which is without any doubt a great one. I am 40 years old, and I had hair on my legs and arms all my life, but nothing too much. I consider myself a great candidate for laser hair removals because I don’t have coarse hair or even lots of it. But I wanted to get it done simply because I don’t want to think about hair removal any time soon. I think that any laser hair removal procedure has its benefits and that your specialist should tell you all that you need to know before you choose to do anything. It’s really a lie if they tell you it’s not going to work. It works, it just takes some time. And the reality is, that all good things in life require patience. That’s the good old saying. I am happy with how things are going. This is my fourth treatment, and I’ve already noticed a great difference. I don’t have that much hair anymore. Also, I don’t have any scars, ingrown hairs or what not... I highly recommend the laser hair removal, no matter what age you are.

    Reply

Leave a Comment/Share your Story

Want to join the discussion?

Leave a Comment/Share your Story

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *