Many are worrying about hair growth and stopping hair loss.
But there are numerous others who want the unwanted hairs to be removed. Thankfully modern science has invented required technologies and medicines to take care of all basic needs of human beings.
Laser hair removal system is one such invention for beauty care, and it is being used for more than two decades. Currently, it is very popularly used for hair removal, and you might have already seen that a number of hair-care clinics in your locality already have hair removal with a laser on offer.
In this article, we are going to discuss in detail all the pros and cons of using laser technology for getting rid of the unwanted hairs. Its benefits, cost, side effects and the viability of using it at home will also be discussed in this post.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
If you really hate tweezing or waxing to remove the unwanted hair, then the ideal option for you could be laser hair removal method.
In fact, currently one of the most popular hair removal methods followed by Americans, in general, is the laser treatment for hair.
It is about 20 years since this method was made available to the public after many trials and tests by the inventors.
This system of hair removal uses pulses of laser light that destroy the hair follicle. The selective photothermolysis (SPTL) at a specific wavelength of light and pulse duration burns off the targeted hair follicle tissues without affecting other skin tissues surrounding it. The laser light emitting machine specifically targets the melanin (hair growth substance) in the follicles and destroys them by heating.[1,2]
This light will be absorbed by only the dark objects (chromophore), and they get burned off in the heat of the light. The dark matter in the skin follicles is the melanin (chromophore) that causes hair growth.
Some of the machines come with vacuum space that pulls and stretches the skin closer to the energy source. The epidermal layer of the skin absorbs the energy, and maximum photons are made to reach the melanin in hair follicles. The heat that is specifically absorbed by the melanin destroys the follicles.
The below-given video shows how to do an ordinary laser hair removal machine work.
Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
There are two types of melanin; the pheomelanin which produces the blonde of red color and the eumelanin that produces the black or brown hair.[4,5]
Since this laser light can only be absorbed by the dark matters, only the black or brown hairs can be removed with it.
It works best for removing the coarse dark hair. The best results of hair removal with laser are noticed in people with light skin complexion and dark hair.
Some of the highly advanced laser machines have good capability to remove the dark hairs of the dark-skinned people with above 90% accuracy. But the advanced machines are expensive, and all the hair-care clinics may not have it.
The efficacy of hair removal laser is well received by the community of dermatologist world over. In fact, any good hair-care clinic is sure to have this device installed with a trained professional to manage it.
Many laser hair removal reviews I have come across in the dermatology literature are highly appreciative of the safety and efficacy of laser method for permanent hair removal.
Laser usage for getting rid of the unwanted hair is more advantageous than using a shaving razor or waxing.
- It is convenient to use on any parts of the body parts like the leg, face, arm, bikini line, etc.
- It has great precision in removing only the hair without damaging the surrounding skin tissues.
- This does the work at a high speed and within fractions of seconds, a great many hairs are removed.
- It gives long-lasting results after a few session of light laser solution for hair removal.[6,7]
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
Laser hair removal is designed for permanent hair removal.
In 1997, FDA had approved hair removal lasers as “permanent hair reduction” solution.
According to FDA ‘permanent hair reduction” means a long-term stable reduction in hair re-growth after the laser treatment sessions.
However, what you can expect most from laser solution is the result that will last for many years. As the body cells are in constant regeneration, some of the destroyed hair follicles will be replaced by the new ones in few years period.
The permanency of this solution also depends on the quality of the laser machine and the experience and skill of the laser operator. Advanced quality laser technology machines will certainly produce long-lasting results.
As we have said earlier, the effectiveness of the treatment also depends on the skin complexion and the hair colors of the person. For a dark skinned person, this treatment may not give the best result as in the case of a light skinned person.
Rough skin with hidden pores may also reduce the effectiveness of this hair removal technique. Some people will have to undergo 7 to 10 sessions to get maximum results.
There are also cases in which some people are “non-responders” as the device parameters are too low, or the skin texture of the person does not suite this hair removal method.
The particular hair follicles that are totally removed will not have the capacity to grow the hairs again. But it is not necessary that at a particular area of the skin treated with laser lights can fully destroy all the hair follicles present there.
In healthy skin and hair conditions, what you can expect from laser hair removal treatment is 70% of hairs entirely removed. The rest 30% of the hair will be reduced to miniature form with lighter color.
However, few repeated sessions of this laser technology for getting rid of the hair will ensure all the hairs are permanently removed with lasting results. Generally at least 6 to 7 sessions of laser treatment need to be done for the best results.
Does Hair Removal With Laser Hurt?
Most of us hate the irritation and pain we experienced when any hair strand from the legs and arms pulled out forcefully.
Laser hair removal does NOT hurt. At the most some might experience like a rubber-band snap against the skin.
The skins are much tender and sensitive at bikini lines, genital areas, upper lips and underarms where the use of laser rays could slightly painful for some. The laser operator could use a cold compressor or anesthetic cream on sensitive areas to numb the feeling of pain.
In any case, it is not going to hurt anyone so unbearable. After all, there is No Gain Without Pain.
There are few side effects of laser hair removal solutions. After the treatment session, some people might experience itching, redness or swelling over the treated areas of the skin. The skin is reacting to the damage caused to the hair follicles.
It is good to apply an ice pack over the area to reduce the swelling of the skin.
Wrong adjustments on the laser setting can also over burn the follicles and cause unwanted irritation on the skin. It may lead to the occurrence of skin issues like discoloration of the skin, the flare of acne, scab formation, and other infections.
Avoid shaving the treated areas of the skin before the burns on the skin follicles are healed.
Some of the hair removal gels used along with laser treatment can also cause allergy in some people.
Only an experienced laser technician can better judge the right laser settings according to the skin and hair type.
Laser Hair Removal At Home Could Be Avoided
I have come across several people making queries in the health discussion forums on the possibility of laser hair removal at home.
You will also see in stores and online shopping websites displaying conveniently smaller laser machines specifically designed and low-priced for individual uses at home.
I am really not sure of the quality and efficacy those machines.
The use of a laser of hair removal machine is NOT an ordinary solution for getting rid of the hair. This can be safely operated by people with sufficient training and skill.
It is possible to do the laser hair removal at home if you have the skill and experience in rightly operating the machine.
High-intensity laser light is harmful to the eyes. It must be used with necessary precaution to make sure that the laser rays do not hurt the eyes. Both the operator and subject need to wear eyes protection glasses.
The wrong usage of hair laser machine can damage your skin tissues. It is also important to use an anesthetic cream while the hairs on sensitive areas of the skin are removed.
After the treatment for a week, it is important to avoid direct exposure of skin to the sunlight as laser treated skin area is prone to sunburns.
If you are unaware of the laser setting required for your skin, it is important to do testing on a small area of the skin and wait for an hour to see if any side effects do occur on the skin. If no side effects occur, the laser setting could be right for the skin. Whenever you need to increase the pulse rate of the laser, repeat the testing to ensure it is safe for the skin.
It is also good to use anti-inflammatory lotions and ice packs over the treated area of the skin to prevent side effects.
Avoid the use of laser hair removal at home especially if you do not have sufficient training and experience in using a laser.
Laser Hair Removal Cost
The cost of laser hair removal varies according to the area of the skin to be treated. The cost will be higher if larger areas of the skin to be treated…like entire back of the body or full legs and arms and so on.
Other things that affect the price of laser hair removal are the total number of session required, professional fees charged by the laser expert (a doctor will charge much more than a trained assistant), local service taxes, consultation fees, reputation of the clinic, etc.
As per The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost for laser hair removal is $235 per session.
The Bottom Line
The best permanent hair removal option is the laser treatment as it has several advantages over other methods.
The results are long lasting with NO damage to the skin. It also has better precision and control in getting rid of the hair.
Of course, laser hair removal is more expensive than other methods. This is most effective when used by persons who have light skin complexion and dark hair.