A lot of people who are frustrated with visible stubbles, ingrowths, and the pain caused by waxing or shaving probably think about undergoing laser hair removal. The procedure is believed to permanently remove hair in the treated areas, promising a silky smooth and fur-free future. However, these claims aren’t necessarily true. There are several things you must know about the procedure to evaluate whether laser hair removal is really worth it for you. Here’s some information to help you weigh the pros and cons.
Results Aren’t Actually Permanent
Laser treatment for hair removal involves passing a beam of laser light through the skin to every individual hair follicle and damaging it with the intense heat. It is meant to prevent the follicle from producing future hair growth. However, despite the claims, laser hair removal is not permanent. Lasers slow down hair re-growth, but as hair grows in phases, it takes a number of treatment sessions to achieve an extended period of no hair growth.
Skin & Hair Color Matter
When it comes to removing hair, skin and hair color matter because the laser targets pigment. The American Academy of Dermatology advises that lasers work best for people with light skin and dark hair. This is because dark hair easily stands out against light skin, and the laser can target it more effectively.
The treatment hurts, but the pain is minor. The majority of patients only experience mild to moderate discomfort. The sensation is similar to the feeling of being snapped with a rubber band. The level of discomfort correlates with the density and thickness of hair in the treated area. If you have darker skin, the skin absorbs more energy from the laser, which can add to the discomfort. For small areas like upper lips, the procedure and pain will only last a few minutes. However, for larger areas like legs laser hair removal can take several hours.
Several & Ongoing Treatments
Laser treatment for hair removal is not a one-shot procedure. It requires multiple treatment sessions to achieve optimal results. As hair begins to re-grow over a period of time, you will need additional touch up procedures. Initially, you’ll need between 4 to 6 treatments, spaced 4 – 8 weeks apart. It takes about 2 or 3 weeks after treatment for hair to start falling out; it’s not immediate.
Be Selective with Where You Go
Similar to any other cosmetic procedure, before you sign yourself up to undergo treatment, first make sure the procedure is being performed by a qualified esthetician supervised by a physician. Remember, laser treatment does have side effects. Hence, make sure that you’re under the care of a trusted physician, in case a problem arises.
The Side Effects
As with any other dermatologic procedure, laser hair removal involves some side effects. Most commonly, patients experience discomfort, swelling, itching, and slight redness in the treated area for a couple days following the procedure. You might even experience acne and skin discoloration, particularly if you have tanned or dark skin. In severe cases, patients might experience blistering or bacterial infections.
Laser hair removal cost varies depending upon the size and number of areas being treated. Smaller areas like the bikini area, above the lips and underarms hair removal are less expensive than larger areas like the legs. Laser hair removal cost generally ranges from $200 – $400 per treatment for smaller areas, and up to $500 – $1000 for large areas.