laser hair removal

laser hair removal guide

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Face and body hair has to be one of the most annoying things to deal with – no matter how many times you get rid of it, it just keeps coming back! If you’re into your body hair, that’s totally cool, but if you’re a fan of that silky smooth, fresh feeling, then no doubt you’re curious about laser hair removal – the hair removal technique that will actually get rid of your hair for good! Although it’s more expensive than razors and at home wax strips, if you’re into waxing at the salon, you’ll save yourself money in the long-run if you invest in laser hair removal.

Not only will you save thousands of dollars in bikini and leg waxes over the years, but you’ll save time, and perhaps even more importantly, all the pain! Whether you’re done with shaving your legs, having peach fuzz, a fluffy mustache or your bikini line is just way too much effort to maintain, having laser is the ultimate solution. So we spoke to expert dermatologist Dr. Doris Day, who specializes in laser, to get all the deets on everything you ever wanted to know about laser. And before we get started, we can tell you that the pain really isn’t that bad, and it’s actually far less painful than waxing!

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Here’s the ultimate DL on laser hair removal:

How does laser work?

Laser hair removal works by targeting a pigment called melanin that lives in the bulge region deep within the hair follicle. This heats up, which damages the follicle and either completely destroys it, which eliminates the hair growth or damages it enough to dramatically slow the growth of the hair in that follicle. It can take several treatments for best results.

Can everyone have laser?

Because the laser is targeting pigment, it’s best used in those with darker hair and lighter skin. The problem with using laser for those with darker skin is that the pigment (melanin) in the upper layers of the skin will also absorb some of the laser light and heat up, which can create a burn in the skin. Similarly, if you have fair hair, the laser will be much less effective.

Where does laser work best?

The best areas are lower legs, underarms, and bikini. Facial hair can be more challenging because the hair is often finer and is also more hormonally driven and stubborn.

Typically how many laser sessions are needed?

Depending on the area being treated it can take anywhere from 5-10 treatments. Areas of coarser darker hair, like the lower legs, bikini and underarms do the best with the fewest treatments. The face can be one of the more persistent areas and may require more sessions, as are the arms.

Once treatment is complete, some of the hair will never grow back, but some hair may still need intermittent treatment every year or so. Any hair that regrows will likely be finer and grow more slowly than the original hair but may still need occasional treatment for complete clearance.

How often should you have laser?

On average, treatments are done at one-month intervals. If the hair is growing very quickly you may do treatments more often, even 2-3 weeks at the start, and then decrease to 4-6 week intervals to match the slowed hair growth cycles. You can shave in between treatments as needed.

How should you prepare for laser?

The hair should be shaved a day before your appointment. Otherwise, the entire hair will absorb the energy and heat up, which can burn the skin, as that singed hair hits the skin. It also means less energy will reach the base of the follicle, so the results will be less than optimal.

What should you avoid before and between laser sessions?

Avoid sun exposure as having a tan will increase your risk of burn and hyperpigmentation from the laser treatment. Avoid waxing before your treatment, as waxing removes the hair and follicle, so there won’t be anything for the laser to target.

Are there different types of laser that are more effective?

Several lasers are good: The gold standard is the light sheer diode laser. This covers a range of skin types as long as you don’t have a tan. For darker skin types I recommend the long pulsed Nd:Yag laser: It has a longer wavelength and goes deeper but can be more painful and should be done by a dermatologist for safest results.

How much does laser cost?

This completely depends from country to country and clinic to clinic. Treatments are usually sold in packages of three or six treatments, and the cost varies on the size of the area:

Small treatment areas: Upper lip, side burns, chin, nipples, abdominal line, eyebrows.
Medium treatment areas: Underarms, bikini line, buttocks line, inner thighs.
Large treatment areas: Lower legs, shoulders, lower back, arms.

We highly recommend checking out Groupon for deals, where you can often find between 50% to 80% off discounts. And finally, read reviews, make sure you choose a certified clinic, and when we say don’t go tanning before your treatment, don’t!