Let’s talk about the pros and cons of laser hair removal. The truth is, when it comes to removing body hair, you’ve got options—and you’ll want to consider all of them before making a decision. You can shave everything away quickly, but the hair grows back in a matter of days. Depilatory creams dissolve hair in minutes, but they have a tendency to smell like wet dog mixed with gasoline. If you want a more thorough hair removal, you might consider waxing or sugaring, which snatches the hair at the root. Hair doesn’t grow back for weeks, but waxing is a painful process, and it itches like hell when the hair grows back. There are more long-lasting options, like electrolysis. Electrolysis uses a super-fine needle inserted into each hair follicle to send an electric current that kills the hair follicle. If you’re thinking it sounds painful, you’d be right and a session can be time consuming. And that brings us to laser hair removal, a popular semi-permanent hair removal option that damages the hair follicle to minimize hair growth. “The laser detects the hair exclusively by focusing on the pigment cells that reside in the hair follicle,” Carlos A. Charles, M.D., founder of Derma di Colore, told SELF in a previous interview. Once the melanin in hair is targeted, the laser burns all the way down the hair follicle and root. After a few sessions, you can throw away your razor and cancel your waxing appointments. But before you sign up for your first session (which will be one of many), we’ve broken down the pros and cons of laser hair removal.
– What are the pros: While laser hair removal doesn’t get rid of hair forever (only electrolysis is FDA-approved for permanent hair removal), it does drastically reduce hair growth—to the point that you can stop shaving altogether. You can get it done anywhere on the body, and the machine can cover large places fast. Legs, back, underarms, bikini line, stomach, face…There is no limit to the places you can get laser hair removal. When it comes to pain level, laser hair removal falls somewhere between shaving (painless) and waxing (holy hell that hurts). The technicians use ice to help numb the area before and after the laser treatment. It also gets progressively less painful as treatments continue and the hair becomes finer, says Charles.
– What are the cons: It’s a long process. A session of laser hair removal on the underarms takes less than a minute. However, it takes multiple sessions to see real results (anywhere between three and eight depending on the size of the area), and you generally have to wait six weeks between treatments. It’s expensive. If you add up how much you spend on razors or bikini wax sessions in your lifetime, it might be worth the $200-$400 per session of laser hair removal. You can think of laser hair removal as a beauty investment. Since the contrast between the color of the skin and the color of the pigment in the hair follicle is what allows the laser to easily pick out what to target, laser hair removal works best on fair skin with dark hair and worse on darker skin. “In patients with darker skin tones the pigment-rich skin competes with the hair follicle for the laser’s attention,” says Charles. This doesn’t mean it’s not a possibility for darker skin types, but you’ll want to make sure the facility you go to is properly equipped. Certain lasers, like the Nd:YAG, are better at distinguishing between hair and skin on all skin types. If done by an untrained technician, laser hair removal could leave burns or scars on the skin. Unfortunately, licensing procedures vary from state to state, and sometimes there are no requirements at all. Beware of “laser centers” and make sure to ask where your laser technician was certified to do the procedure. Even doctors who want to provide laser hair removal treatments need further training. “Laser treatment is not taught in medical school, so physicians performing laser treatments also need training and certification,” dermatologist Marina Peredo, M.D., told. (Source: Self.com)