Laser Hair Removal: Just The Facts, Ma'am
There are so many hair removal methods today you may find yourself scratching your head, wondering which method is right for you. When faced with a tough decision, it's always good to review the pros and cons. Once you're armed with facts, it's easy to draw a conclusion. Here are some of the important facts you need to know about laser hair removal.
Laser hair removal is believed to bring about permanent hair reduction 70-80% of the time, but there are no hard facts to go on. No one really knows how long hair reduction lasts, how much hair reduction is to be expected, or how often there is permanent hair reduction.
Laser hair removal involves delivering light at a specific wavelength from a handheld wand into the skin. The light targets dark material such as the pigment found in dark hair. The light causes thermal or mechanical damage to the hair follicle but leaves the surrounding tissue untouched.
*Many consumers experience a long term or permanent hair reduction
*When performed under optimal conditions, the procedure is safe
* Works well for large areas, for instance legs or the back
*Any regrowth will be lighter in color and have a finer texture
*Ideal for a brunette consumer with fair skin
*No long term data is available on safety and effectiveness
*No statistics have been compiled on response or regrowth rates and many variables can affect the outcome
*Not as effective for red, blonde, or gray hair
*Can cause a discoloration of the skin for those with darker, tanned, or ethnic skin tones
*Improper administration can result in burns, lesions, or skin discoloration which may last months
*Recent studies suggest that there may be an incidental effect on other skin structures during laser irradiation and the long term effects of this are unknown
*Eyes require protection during the procedure
*Laser hair removal is expensive and can cost anywhere from $200-$2000 a session, without tax and tip.
*Some find the procedure painful
*Regulations varies from state to state and that makes them more difficult to enforce
*Sometimes a consumer won't respond to treatment and there doesn't seem to be a logical reason for this lack of response
Some practitioners will make wild, unethical claims about laser hair removal. For instance, some clinics will claim the procedure is "virtually painless." Laser treatment isn't pain free, but most find the experience tolerable. The sensation of pulsed light is likened to that of a rubber band being snapped against your skin. Taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen an hour before a session is advisable. There are 4% lidocaine sprays and creams that can be purchased over the counter and can be applied 20 minutes before a laser hair removal session.
Some clinics will promise "100% permanent hair removal," or "guaranteed 0% hair regrowth," and these, too, are wild claims which cast suspicion on a clinic's ethics and standards. Another dubious marketing term is "laser electrolysis," or "lasertrolysis." The two procedures, laser hair removal, and electrolysis, are two very different procedures and this blurring of the distinctions between the two is meant to confuse rather than to inform consumers. If a clinic claims that laser hair removal is a more advanced technology or a better procedure than electrolysis, this too, is a shady marketing ploy. Again, the procedures are very different and you may be a better candidate for one than the other.