Are you sick of constantly shaving, plucking, tweezing, or waxing your hair? Whether you have excessive hair on parts of your body that you want to get rid of, or you want to make it a little easier to have youthful-looking, soft skin, then you might be looking at hair removal methods. One of the most widely used and longest-lasting is laser hair removal, for those who can take the costs. However, this technologically advanced method can sound a little intimidating to those who don’t know it, so let’s take a look at what it is, what you can expect from it, and how to get the best outcomes if you opt for it.
What is it, exactly?
The process of laser hair removal is not all that complicated, although it does use some highly advanced technology. The laser used is a highly concentrated beam of light, which is absorbed by the melanin inside your hair. This light energy turns into heat inside the hair, which then burns away the follicles and hair, which not only removes the hair there and then, but can stop it from growing back for months, or even years, after a full round of treatments. Like every other hair removal method, it’s not permanent, but it does last a lot longer, providing you see through the full course of treatments and the maintenance that is required after the fact.
It’s not as painful as it might sound
When people hear about having lasers run over their skin, then you might be imagining some kind of sci-fi weapon that burns away all life and leaves nothing in its wake. However, that’s not really the case. The light from the laser specifically burns away at the hair, which can cause a little bit of a sting on thinner skin, but not too much. In fact, when compared to waxing, lasers hurt way, way less. The sting from a laser can be managed with a cooling mechanism, as well, so it’s really not all that much to worry about.
So, what can you expect from the treatment?
Aside from the slight discomfort from the treatment, laser hair removal tends to be fairly simple. You simply have to lay back or rest the targeted body part in front of the technician, and let them work away at it. Appointments can be quick, too, as little as 20 minutes. As mentioned, you might have to go back for multiple sittings. Even the most advanced hair removal lasers require a little follow-up just to make sure that they have gotten all of the area. Bit by bit, you will see any growing hair removing lighter, finer, and slower until you don’t see any growth at all. This typically results in up to 90 overall reduction, which isn’t completely bare, but is close enough that you are not likely to need to worry about managing body hair after the fact.
The best way to prepare for laser hair removal
If you want to get the best results from laser hair removal, then you need to take a few steps to prepare. For one, the follicle roots have to be intact, as the heat from the laser needs to run the length of the hair. As such, you should avoid waxing, tweezing, threading, and other hair removal strategies before your appointment, and only shave two days before it. Avoid the sun for the two weeks leading up to the appointment, as well, as this can lead to some side effects.
Should you do it yourself or with some help?
There are at-home options, such as IPL devices, that you can use to try the benefits of laser hair removal yourself. However, these devices are nowhere near as strong as the ones that professionals use. You wouldn’t want to use devices that strong as, with incorrect operation, they can lead to burns and scars. As such, if you’re looking to use laser hair removal, then you should work with a team that provides in-office unlimited laser hair removal. This way, you can make sure that you’re working with those who have experience in taking good care of your skin while offering the most effective results. You can also get plenty of help and advice with aftercare.
What are the side effects you can expect?
There are two kinds of side effects. The first is the expected side effects, which are normal after every treatment, like a little pinkness, swelling, and some little raised bumps on the skin as the injured hair follicles recover. You might see what looks like black specks of hair growing but is actually dead hair being shed. The other type of side effects are the unwanted ones, which don’t typically happen in the event of a successful treatment. This can include blisters, pigmentation issues, and permanent. None of these side effects are permanent, but you can talk to your doctor or dermatologist for some skin cream to soothe them and help get rid of them more quickly in the event that they do pop up.
Where on the body will it work?
Unlike some forms of hair treatments, which may only be effective on some parts of your body, there is no spot on the body that laser hair removal cannot treat. Basically, if that part of the body is visible and reachable, then it can be treated, even on your nipples, chest, stomach, and face. However, the skin on the face does tend to be a bit more sensitive, so you might not want to opt for laser hair treatment on that quite as often. The main limiting factor for some laser treatments is the hair color as well as background skin, not the location.
Providing some aftercare
As with every treatment, you want to make sure that you’re putting in some effort to ensure the best results with some aftercare. First of all, don’t wax or pluck any areas of hair that have undergone laser hair removal, as you still need to keep what remaining follicle there is intact so it can be targeted again. To soothe any lingering redness or irritation, you should exfoliate the area gently. You want to avoid hot water, direct sunlight, and the use of deodorants for some time after each treatment as well. Different laser technology has different levels of aftercare, so be sure to ask your technician for specifics, which they will likely provide without prompting, anyway.
Switching up your skincare
One aspect of aftercare worth paying extra attention to is the changes that you might need to make to your skincare routine. In particular, you’re going to need to avoid certain products and ingredients, including scrubs, glycolic acid, and retinol creams. You might want to opt for more mineral skincare options but, for the best results, always ask your laser treatment providers if they have any recommendations. They might even sell some then and there. Some people also use a little more in the way of hydration, such as face mists, and the treated skin can feel a little dryer after you have been through a session. You also want to avoid chemical peels and fake tans for a couple of weeks after each session.
Who does it work best for?
Everyone’s mileage may vary with the kind of results they can expect from any hair removal treatment, including laser hair removal. Laser hair removal can be highly effective for a lot of people, but for some, it may be less effective. A lot of laser hair removal devices, especially those that are a little less recent, are not as effective for people with dark skin, for instance. This is due to the fact that lasers target pigment in hair, but this pigment is also in darker skin, which could leave some with a risk of skin discoloration or burns. That said, in recent times, there has been a development of more advanced laser technology that can work better for people with darker skin, so it’s worth asking the provider if they have the right option for you.
How long can you expect it to last?
The specifics of how long your hair removal is going to last can differ for a number of reasons, such as the lightness and thickness of hair, not to mention the stage of the growth cycle that you catch it in. Laser hair removal treatments typically require multiple sessions. While nowhere near as much as the ten or more sessions you might have needed a few years back, you shouldn’t expect complete and immediate results. That said, one you do get through those treatments, you can expect them to last for a few months even up for a few years. If you want a better idea of how long, specifically, then it’s best to ask the professional who’s carrying out the treatment for you.
With the information above, you should hopefully feel a bit more confident about laser hair removal and the benefits it can have for you. It’s not for everyone, but it can be a great help.