Though there are many ways to remove unwanted hair (such as shaving and plucking), lasers are the only permanent method of hair reduction. Also, a large area of the skin can be treated via laser at one time, making the procedure faster and even more cost-effective.
How does laser hair removal work?
When a person shaves or waxes their hair, the broken off or short embedded hair that remains can get trapped inside the hair follicle and grow sideways or can grow back into the skin. This ingrown hair may or may not be accompanied by an infection of the hair follicle or razor bumps and can be painful. Ingrown hair most commonly appears on the face, legs, and bikini line, but can appear anywhere. Sometimes ingrown hair occurs naturally without shaving, as blocked pores, too much dead skin, or tight clothing prevent hair from emerging from the follicle.
Laser hair removal is a permanent hair removal process. It is more costly and takes several treatments, usually between 4-6 treatments.
Treatments will be between 6-10 weeks apart from one another. Depending on the area you are getting lasered it can take anywhere from 15 – 60 min per area. Laser hair removal is a treatment that uses a constant heat source and light beam to target the hair follicle. As the laser goes over the skin the light is attracted to the dark root. The laser will penetrate the hair and kill it at the root.
Do not wax while getting laser treatments as the laser needs the hair to stay in it’s normal growth cycle to permanently get all the hairs, however you may shave in between your treatments.
You will first need to have a consultation with the doctor before you start your treatments. At the consultation they will go over with you how many treatments you will need and how much time in between treatments.
After your series of treatments you may need to go back for a touch-up once or twice. Ask your physician before you start your treatments if they offer free touch-ups after your series is over.
Since the laser is attracted to the dark root of the hair follicle you may not be a good client if you have dark/tanned skin or light hair, some lasers though are able to work with any skin type and hair color.
Home laser hair removal
The most important peice of information about home laser hair removal is that almost every home laser should be avoided. Most do not work as claimed. Some are about as effective as the grocery scanner laser at your local supermarket, not at all, but they at least produce a pretty light. Only use a device that has been cleared by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Home lasers cleared by FDA:
- Silk’n by Home Skinovations Ltd.
- TRIA Beauty
Products to avoid:
- Epila – Does not work as claimed
- LD2K QCW Diode Laser Hair Removal Economy Diode Laser – Does not work as claimed
- LD4K QCW Diode Laser Professional Diode Laser Epilator – Does not work as claimed
- LD120K QCW Diode Laser Epilator – Does not work as claimed
- LD40K QCW Diode Laser Professional Diode Laser Epilator – Does not work as claimed
- LD60K QCW Diode Laser Professional Diode Laser Epilator – Does not work as claimed
- Quazar IPL320 Intense Pulsed Light Hair & Tattoo Remove – Does not work as claimed
- Quazar IPL600 Intense Pulsed Light Hair & Tattoo Remove – Does not work as claimed
- Viatek Hair Pro Laser Hair Removal – Does not work as claimed
- Vector – Does not work as claimed
Websites to avoid:
These are all associated with the same disreputable manufacturer, Global Electrolysis Supply:
In general, do not buy any hair removal device on eBay unless you have done careful research. It is the distributor of choice for several doubtful hair removal products. eBay has been notably unresponsive to attempts to get doubtful products taken from their site. Hair removal products sold on eBay should be avoided unless you have confirmed they can work as claimed.
Below is only a PARTIAL list of questionable products frequently featured on eBay.
- American Hair Removal
- Bare and Beautiful
- Bold and Beautiful
- DMD “laser” series
- Emjoi Beauty Forever
- Epil-Stop & Spray
- Ever So Smooth and Painless
- Finally Gone
- Guaranty Hair Removal
- Hair No More
- Hammond and Weis
- IGIA Ultra
- Liquid Laser
- One Touch Painless Tweeze
- Super Phaser Gold
- Transdermal electrolysis
Dangers of Laser Hair Removal:
Before considering laser hair removal treatments consider whether the potential risks outweigh the benefits for you. So, since Laser hair removal is quickly becoming the most popular cosmetic procedure and since it is also considered a medical procedure because it involves the use of a laser that penetrates the skin it’s important that everyone considering laser hair removal be aware of the potential risks. While laser hair removal is very safe, as with any medical procedure, there are some risks and some possible side effects.
Laser Hair Removal Short Term Side Effects:
Since the laser is actually burning the hair follicle using an infrared beam one side effect suffered from laser hair removal treatments that is fairly common, but not very serious, some mild pain during the procedure. Generally, this pain goes away very quickly and can be stopped with the use of any simple topical anesthetic that can be purchased at any drug store or pharmacy if your Med-spa doesn’t provide it for you. Some redness or swelling of the skin surrounding the area treated is also a possible, but inconsequential side effect.
Generally, these side effects will dissipate within a few days and are especially common in people who have darker skin or lighter hair. This is because the laser is designed to target the melanin within the hair follicle. The darker the hair, the more melanin it contains. However, the skin also contains melanin. People who have darker toned skin or who tan have more melanin in their skin that can affect the laser. Before beginning any laser hair removal procedures, consult with a qualified clinician if you feel your skin may be too dark or your hair may be too fair.
More Serious Risks:
Darker skinned people or those who tan prior to their treatments may even be susceptible to some moderate to severe skin burning. In order to reduce this risk, be sure you select a qualified technician to perform the hair removal treatment. Also ensure that you are a good candidate for laser hair removal. The darker your skin is, the chances are greater that your skin will absorb more of the laser. Avoid tanning and the use of self-tanning sprays or creams for 4 to 6 weeks before undergoing treatment in order to minimize risk. If you think your skin may be on the darker side, consult a qualified laser hair removal professional beforehand. Some people experience changes in their skin tone as a result of laser treatments. The laser can sometimes either increase or decrease melanin production and make the skin surrounding the treated area darker or lighter. A darker skin condition is known as “hyperpigmentation” and is typically reversible. When the skin is lightened, “hypopigmentation” is the result. Unfortunately, hypopigmentation may be permanent. Using an experienced, highly qualified laser hair removal technician can greatly reduce the chance of changes in skin tone.
In some patients, the medication they may be taking can cause some problems with laser hair removal. Some medicines, or cosmetics (like lotions, perfumes, deodorant, etc.) can interfere with the performance of the laser and either reduce its effectiveness or can react to the laser and cause a potentially serious allergic reaction. To prevent these complications, be sure your practitioner clearly understands all of the medications you take, including vitamins and herbal supplements. Also, be certain that the skin on the area to be treated is completely clean and free of any lotions, perfumes, sun blocks, deodorants, or any other type of product.
Probably the most significant danger to come from the laser hair removal procedure involves the use of anesthetic. Many technicians offer their patients topical anesthetics that they can apply to the area to be treated at home before the procedure begins. In other cases, a local anesthetic is injected into the skin if a larger area will be treated or the possibility of increase pain exists. Although it is rare, some people may experience severe allergic reactions to these types of anesthetics that can result in some serious consequences. If you have ever had any type of reaction to any type of anesthesia in the past, be sure your laser hair removal practitioner clearly understands what happened.
As with any medical procedure, laser hair removal can provide a significant benefit to patients with unwanted hair. However, also like any medical procedure, there are some risks involved. The best way to minimize your chances of suffering from side effects following treatment is to choose a qualified, experienced technician, carefully describe your medical history to them, and follow all of their instructions prior to receiving treatment.
If you’re interested in laser hair removal, it’s important, as a first step, to learn how it works. Laser hair removal technology is the use of an invisible beam of light and a constant source of heat that penetrates the hair follicle, disabling and then destroying it at its root while preserving the surrounding skin.
The procedure of removing unwanted hair is simply targeting the follicle and then directing the laser beam at its root. The hair removal process begins as the laser beam finds the hair follicle that it is targeting by first finding the melanin (the dark color of the hair).
Who can benefit from Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal works best on those people with dark hair and fair skin.
Melanin is also found in skin, so those people with dark skin either from suntans or by birth will not be ideal candidates for laser hair removal. Neither will red headed or light blond haired people — simply because the laser is solely attracted to the darkness of the hair.
Laser hair removal is most successful when the hair is in its anagen phase (the phase when a hair follicle is its active growth). This phase lasts several years — 85% of our hair is in that phase at any given time. During this phase, the hair is easily targeted and more easily destroyed.
<h2>Are there any problems with Laser Hair Removal?</h2>
Unlike other hair removal methods such as electrolysis, waxing and, of course, shaving, laser hair removal is the most state-of-the-art and high-tech method in removing unwanted hair for longer (and even indefinite) periods of time. It is the only proven method available for easily removing hair from mass areas of the body including back, chest, legs and face. Laser hair removal is effective, precise and cost efficient.
The laser simply and directly pinpoints the root of the hair and removes it from the body. Although the process is precise and beneficial, it can be irritating to the skin — therefore it is important that the surrounding skin be cooled with a gel, a spray or a cooling device throughout the procedure. These cooling systems prevent the laser beam from causing harm or discomfort to the surrounding skin.
Types of Lasers
There are currently four types of lasers used for hair removal:
- Alexandrite – such as the Candela GentleLase Plus
- Ruby – such as the EpiTouch or Epilaser
- Diode – such as the Coherent Light Sheer
- ND and LP ND Yag – such as the Candela GentleYag and the Altus Cool Glide
Each of these techniques is FDA-approved and proven effective, fast and safe methods for successful hair removal and permanent hair reduction.
What to look for
Although it is the work of the laser that removes the hair follicle, successful laser hair removal depends upon the skill and knowledge of the technician who manipulates and maneuvers the laser. That is, once the laser is selected, it is the mastery of the technician that will yield the best results.
Now let’s better understand the technique involved. Words like <span>pulse</span>, <span>fluency</span> and <span>time</span> are imperative to you, the consumer. These techniques will ensure that your experience is comfortable and effective.
For instance, long pulsed lasers are considered to be the safest. Energy and fluency levels of the laser can be specified depending on your personal skin type. The time allowed between pulses of light allows the skin and follicle to cool for longer periods of time, making your experience more pleasant. The size of the area on your skin’s surface affects the speed and penetration of the laser — a larger area allows the technician to go deeper into the root of the hair follicle, which can give you better results per session.
Laser hair removal is not a one-time procedure. But, in just a few sessions, you can feel like a different person. The power of the laser is unchallenged by any other hair removal method available.
Excessive body hair on men and women can be embarrassing and upsetting and can take a toll on self esteem. But people shouldn’t let unwanted body hair stand in the way of their happiness.
There are many ways to get rid of unwanted body hair, including shaving, waxing, depilatories, electrolysis, and laser hair removal. Each has its advantage and disadvantages and which to choose is a highly personal decision.
This guide offers some advantages and disadvantages of various methods and can help you decide which one might work best for you. Keep in mind that hair removal is often not permanent and is a continual process.
Of all the methods of hair removal, shaving is the most temporary. Shaving merely trims the hair at the skin surface and does not affect the hair at its roots.
You should be sure to apply moisturizer to your skin so the razor won’t cut you. Many men and women find they have to shave on a daily basis in order to maintain a groomed look. If long-lasting hair removal is your goal, this method is not for you.
Waxing is a tried and true method of removing large amounts of hair at one time. Wax can be applied hot or cold. The hair sticks to the wax and comes up when the wax is pulled off. It is fast and can be done at home or at a salon. But it can also be messy, difficult to get consistent results, and you must be careful to avoid infections that can result from burning your skin. What’s more, waxing at a salon can be costly.
Typically, waxing can be done on most parts of the body, the exceptions being the male genitals, nipples, inside the ears and nose, and eyelashes. Hair will generally reappear between three and eight weeks. You might find the hair is finer or that some never grows back.
Depilatories are creams or liquids that are applied to the skin’s surface, dissolving the hair so that it can be wiped or washed away. Depilatories work quickly — doing the best job on the legs, underarms, and bikini area — and are easily obtainable and inexpensive. But, they only last up to a few weeks, are messy, and often smell bad. Some people are allergic to them. People with coarse hair may not find depilatories particularly effective.
If you’re looking for a permanent solution to hair removal, and have only a small area where you want hair removed, electrolysis may be for you. Keep in mind, however, that many people find it painful. (A topical anesthetic may be applied to ease the pain.)
This procedure requires several treatments during which a professional inserts a needle into the hair follicle, zapping it with an electric current and killing the root.
Electrolysis is the most expensive and takes the most time. Nonetheless, people with certain skin and hair types, for whom laser hair removal is not an option, might find electrolysis the option for them. Expect to pay upwards of $150 an hour for electrolysis.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is the most state-of-the-art and high-tech method in removing unwanted hair for longer and even indefinite periods of time. It is the only proven method available for easily removing hair from large areas of the body including the back, chest, legs and face. Professional laser hair removal is effective, precise and cost efficient.
That said, depending on your complexion, it may not be for you, as it works better on people with light skin and dark brown or black hair. Experienced laser clinics generally charge between $200 and $600 per session. Large areas, such as the back or legs will cost significantly more, while small areas on the face, for example, may cost less. Your particular situation will determine the exact pricing.
Excess body hair can be unsightly and embarrassing. Shaving, plucking, waxing and depilatory creams provide temporary fixes that are inconvenient, irritating, and messy. Electrolysis is time consuming, sometimes painful, and is useful only in removing hair from small areas.
Excess and unwanted hair is a common problem shared by both men and women. In many cases, the condition runs in families. Race can also be a factor; Caucasians are more prone to having excess facial hair than are Asians and African-Americans. Some people experience unwanted or excess hair from the time they reach puberty; others find it to be a condition that gets worse with age. Some women experience additional hair growth during pregnancy or menopause. Women who experience sudden hair growth should consult with their physicians, as this may be a sign of other medical conditions.
Hair does not come in any one size or type. Follicles in different parts of the body produce differing types of hair. Hair can grow in thick, bushy patches or in long thin strands. In addition, hair is produced in follicles that can be found at different depths and densities — as close to the skin’s surface as a millimeter or as deep as five millimeters or more. Until recently, this great variety in hair types and body locations made long-lasting hair removal a significant challenge. Advanced technology lasers and light sources are rapidly changing hair removal treatment as they provide gentle, non-invasive, and long-lasting solutions to unwanted hair.
A Better Treatment Option: Laser Hair Removal
Innovative, light-based devices have revolutionized the treatment of unwanted hair; offering gentle, effective and convenient solutions for both men and women. The Laser System uses targeted flashes of light to block the regrowth potential of the hair follicle. These treatments do not damage surrounding tissue and the laser targets numerous hair follicles simultaneously, allowing for the treatment of large areas quickly and effectively.
FAQ about Laser Hair Removal:
Q. What causes unwanted hair?
A. Excess and unwanted hair is a common problem. Women frequently experience this condition on the face, especially the upper lip and chin area, at the bikini line, under their arms or on their legs. Men often have unwanted hair on their back or chest, between their eyebrows or on other parts of their face. In many cases excessive hair growth runs in families. Race can also be a factor — whites are more prone to having excess facial hair than are Asians and blacks. White women of Mediterranean descent are more likely to have unwanted hair than women who have a Scandinavian background. Hormones also play a role. Some people experience unwanted or excess hair from the time they reach puberty; others find it to be a condition that gets worse with age. Some women experience additional hair growth during pregnancy or menopause.
Q. How is unwanted hair treated?
A.Conventional treatments include shaving, plucking, waxing and depilatory creams. These methods provide temporary fixes that are often inconvenient, messy and irritating for the skin. Electrolysis can have good results, but is time-consuming, painful and is useful only in removing hair in small areas. Laser technologies are rapidly changing hair removal treatment, providing gentle, non-invasive, long-lasting solutions to unwanted hair on any body area.
Q. How do I know which laser works best for my hair removal needs?
A.Different skin types require different approaches for laser hair removal. Unlike smaller clinics, The Laser Center of Marin is able to invest in multiple technologies for hair removal. Our clinic has three state-of-the-art lasers which allow us to address unwanted hair for everyone, from the lightest to the darkest complexions. We utilize Diode, nd:Yag and IPL technologies to ensure your laser treatments are appropriately matched for your specific skin type.
Q. How does the laser remove hair?
A. This laser targets the pigment located in the hair follicle and shaft. The light is absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle and this energy is converted to heat which results in damage to the hair follicle. This damage causes delayed re-growth of the hair, and in most cases permanent destruction of many of the hair follicles. Unlike electrolysis, which kills one hair follicle at a time, the laser reaches and treats hundreds of follicles at a time.
Q. What does the treatment feel like?
A. Most people tolerate the treatments very well. Discomfort is often described as a slight tingling or a pinch similar to the snap of a rubber band. Topical anesthesia can be used when treating particularly sensitive areas of the body.
Q. Are there any possible side effects?
A. The appearance of the treated area immediately following treatment will vary from patient to patient depending on the extent of the procedure and skin type. Side effects, if any, are usually minor. There may be some redness and swelling around the treated hair follicles; this is a desired clinical result indicating that the follicle has responded to treatment. This reaction typically disappears within hours. Most people return to normal activity right away. On rare occasions, some blistering may occur, but this typically resolves quickly. The skin can become darker or lighter following treatment, but will generally return to normal within a few weeks. Limiting sun exposure before and after each treatment will minimize the risk of complications.
Q. What kind of results should I expect? Does this technology really remove hair long-term?
A.Yes. Scientific studies show that the use of targeted, light-based energy actually damages or destroys hair follicles at the cellular level. A permanent reduction in the number of regrowing hairs is usually achieved following each treatment. The Laser Center of Marin also uses a process called the TLC Concept. The TLC Concept will ensure we are targeting active hairs at the right time of the hair growth cycle. This method coupled with the effective lasers we use leads to success levels exceeding 95%.
Q. Are the results permanent?
A.Laser Hair Removal causes permanent hair reduction and delayed re-growth of the treated hair follicles. A long-term clinical study was done to evaluate the LightSheer Diode Laser for hair removal. Of 92 patients, all had temporary hair loss and 89% had long-term hair loss. Also, re-growing hairs were shown to be thinner and lighter than previously. Because the laser tends to treat hair follicles that are in an active growth phase, more than one treatment will be required to disable hair follicles that subsequently enter this growth phase. The average range of treatments needed vary from person to person but 5-7 treatments is the average number for most.
Q. Are these treatments FDA-cleared? Are they safe?
A.Yes, all of our hair removal lasers are FDA-cleared for the treatment of unwanted hair. These procedures have been done for many years and have unparalleled safety records. Side effects are rare and generally well-tolerated.
Q. Who is a good candidate for the laser hair removal?
A.The ideal candidate for most hair removal lasers has dark hair and light skin. Darker hairs absorb more of the laser light, and lighter skin allows more transmission of the laser light into the hair follicle. Although dark or tanned skin may run a higher risk of pigmentation changes following the procedure, our breadth of lasers allow us to treat most skin types.
Q. Are these procedures covered by insurance?
Q. What happens before and after treatment?
A. The Laser treatment process is as smooth as the results we achieve. Treatment sessions are quick and require minimal personal care for the duration of the treatment process.
No waxing, tweezing, bleaching, depilatories or electrolysis for 4 weeks prior to treatment. Shaving is fine and does not effect treatment. The area to be treated should be shaved before treatment.
Day of Treatment
If you haven’t previously received a consultation, you will receive a personalized treatment plan and price quote at that time. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions during the consultation.
The laser treats many hairs at a time, enabling short treatment sessions. Depending on the size of the treatment area, a session may last between five minutes (lip, chin, etc.) and 60 minutes (back, legs, etc.)
When the laser pulses over your skin, you will feel a momentary, slight stinging or tingling sensation. The sensation disappears the moment the laser stops pulsing. For those with more sensitive skin, a topical anesthetic, can be applied prior to treatment.
Immediately following laser treatment, you may experience redness, similar to a mild sunburn. These normal tissue responses are temporary and will usually disappear over the next several hours. As soon as the mild redness from the day’s treatment subsides, clients may resume normal daily activities.
Following treatment (12-24 hours) treat the area gently. Avoid rubbing, scratching or picking at the treated area. Avoid very hot showers, baths, soaking in a hot tub or swimming in a chlorinated pool. Pat the skin dry after bathing or showering.
Around day 3-7 after treatment you may experience what seems to be re-growth of hair. Actually, most of these hairs are being shed as a result of your treatment and are not re-growing. In-between treatments you should not wax or pluck your hairs but it is permissible to shave. This process can be helped along by gentle use of a washcloth or loofa sponge four to five days after treatment.
Laser hair removal is not just for women and has recently become increasingly popular for men who have hair on their backs, chests or legs. Whether the hair is a normal amount or excessive to the point of looking like a carpet many men strive for an ideal image just as women do. Athletes like swimmers may specifically find laser hair removal effective in saving time and helping them streamline their bodies for increased performance. Many men also opt to have laser hair removal before getting tattoos on their chest or back.
Laser hair removal is a great option for men who are tired of waxing, shaving, electrolysis, tweezing, trimming, and the like. So if your wife of girlfriend has been nagging you about shaving that carpet on your back laser hair removal can be a cost-effective, relatively painless and effective way of achieving permanent hair reduction in areas where it is unwanted.
Keep in mind that results depend on your skin color and hair color, so be sure to find out first if you are a good candidate for the procedure. Men who have light skin and black or dark brown hair have the best results. And really, this is the combination where lots of hair is going to stand out the most and really should be trimmed or removed.
Check out these before and after photos for back hair removal:
Top 5 Reasons to Get Laser Hair Removal
- Improved Self-Confidence — Laser hair removal can help you look and feel your very best, no more questioning how you look when you show off a bit of skin. No more worrying cause you forgot or didn’t have time to shave this morning
- Look Great — Hair removal by laser can help you be free to enjoy smooth and sexy skin all the time. No more uncomfortable in between and grow-in stages. No waiting to get waxed again, no more shaving your legs just before you go out.. or for guys not having to shave your face twice a day, once in the morning for work and once before you go out to dinner just to stay baby ass smooth. lol.
- Save Money —Laser permanent hair removal may seem expensive, but over time you will really be saving money. In the long run, laser hair removal costs less than continued waxing, electrolysis, or even just the ridiculous cost of replacement blades for your bic… not to mention the time you’ll save every day by not shaving.
- Save Time — Free up your time with professional laser hair removal. Eliminate your daily, weekly, or monthly hair removal routines, never again miss your lunch hour to wax! Wake up each morning ready to go!
- Eliminate Ingrown Hairs — Ingrown hairs can cause discomfort, infections and self-consciousness…