Thinking about getting laser hair removal but unsure of the procedure? Click here to learn all about how laser hair removal works, so you know exactly what to expect before, during, and after your treatment.
Keyword(s): how laser hair removal works
Did you know that you have about 5 million hair follicles? Or that only 100,000 of these you'll find in your head?
That means you have 4.9 million follicles throughout the rest of your body! What's more, many of the strands they grow, you rather not keep or show off.
Indeed, most, if not all of us want to keep our crowns lush with thick, healthy hair. But many (including you) don't want the same for, say the armpits, arms, and legs.
All these have gotten you interested in knowing how laser hair removal works. How it fares against the more traditional shaving and waxing.
Don't worry. We'll address all these questions and more in this post. So, keep reading to learn about this revolutionary method of getting rid of unwanted hair!
A 50-Word Laser Hair Removal Explanation
Laser hair removal is a form of medical procedure. It involves the use of a laser device, which emits a concentrated beam of the powerful light.
The keyword here is "medical." As such, you want to entrust your hair removal only to a licensed and certified practitioner.
Getting to the Bottom of How Laser Hair Removal Works
You may have seen it from the Kardashians, who made it apparent on TV they don't like hair apart from those on their pretty heads.
Laser hair removal isn't only for the rich and famous though. The fact that experts estimate the hair removal sector to reach a global value of $1.35 billion proves it's accessible and popular.
The question now is, what does this hair removal method entail?
First off, the use of a machine that emits laser on a targeted area. The hair's pigment (that's what gives hair its color) then absorbs this light. The light energy undergoes conversion into heat, damaging the hair-producing follicles.
These damages are enough to hinder the follicles from growing back hair right away.
Determining Whether You Are a Good Candidate
The best hair removal lasers have adjustable beams to suit the particular skin color and hair thickness of patients. This also allows practitioners to adjust the energy based on the location of the treatment area.
Your practitioner will first direct a test on the area you want to eliminate hair from. Then, your practitioner will observe the test area to ensure that there are no adverse reactions and that the light settings are adequate.
Also, prior to your scheduled procedure, your hair removal expert will ask you questions about your medical history. These include inquiries about past and current use of medication and if you have a skin disorder history or scars. You should also tell the practitioner about previous hair removal you've undergone.
Preparing for Your First Laser Hair Removal Session
Does laser hair removal work? It does! But there are things that you can and should do to make your first (and following) experience as smooth as possible.
For starters, keep away from direct sunlight. Avoid going to the beach or any other place that'll expose you to the sun weeks from your scheduled hair removal session. Also, in case you can't avoid the sun, make sure you use broad-spectrum sunscreen protection.
Avoid plucking and waxing for at least a month before your scheduled treatment. Doing so can interfere with your hair follicles. Note though that your practitioner will recommend trimming or shaving the treatment area at least a day before the procedure.
It may also help to stay away from blood-thinning medications prior to your laser hair removal session. These include anti-inflammatory (pain relievers/killers) drugs.
If you use body scrubs every day, keep away from it at least seven days before your hair removal session. Scrubs are great for cleaning and exfoliating, but they can also make your skin more sensitive.
How the Process Goes
During the day itself of your laser hair removal treatment, the practitioner will ask you to lie down to stay comfortable. Protective eye shield will then go over your eyes to protect them from the powerful laser.
The practitioner then applies the laser hand piece onto the skin surface of the target area. The use of additional cooling device or gel also helps boost skin protection. This also enhances treatment results since cooling helps the laser penetrate the skin better.
Once activated, the light enters the skin through your hair follicles. The laser's intense heat affects the hair follicles in a way that it stunts hair growth.
Depending on your pain tolerance, you may only feel slight discomfort, such as a needle prick. In less tolerant people, the sensation is more like a rubber band snapping against their skin.
As for the treatment length, it also depends on the area. For instance, removing hair from the upper lip often takes only a few minutes. For larger areas, like the legs, the treatment may take up to an hour.
If you feel any discomfort right after the session, you may need to put an ice pack or splash cold water on the treated areas. Your practitioner may also give you some anti-inflammatory cream.
Keep in mind that while laser hair removal isn't without its risks, it's rare for side effects to develop. You should also stay away from the sun for at least a week after the treatment.
Don't use any other skin or hair removal treatments for two weeks. You can exfoliate, but be careful and gentle! Avoid using hot water when showering too.
Maximizing Its Effects
How effective is laser hair removal? How long does laser hair removal last?
Of all your options in eliminating unwanted hair (more on this below), the laser procedure offers the most long-term effects.
Researchers have found that its effectiveness can last up to six months. Some even enjoy a hair-free life for more than half a year!
But to get the most results out of this procedure, you need to go in for several sessions. How many depends on how much hair follicles you have, the size of the treatment area, and the thickness as well as the color of your hair.
Is Laser Same as Intense Pulsed Light Hair Removal?
Intense pulsed light (IPL) hair removal is different, although both aim to reduce unwanted hair growth in the long-term. Both are safe and effective, and offer longer periods of being hair-free.
So what's the difference then? How does IPL work?
Like laser, IPL delays the regrowth of hairs, but it does so using a broad spectrum light. This light has such high intensity that it can treat larger areas of hair.
However, IPL is better suited for people who have dark hair. Dark and thick hair absorbs this type of light better, so the results are more apparent.
Note though that since it doesn't have the same light concentration as laser, hair removal through IPL may warrant more sessions.
All The Reasons to Make the Switch to Laser
Take the time to look back at all those times you've run a razor to get rid of armpit or leg hair. You may be cringing right now because memories of nicking your skin came flooding back.
How about those hour-or-more-long sessions of having your unwanted hair waxed off? Indeed, it worked much better than using a razor, but it had an even greater ouch factor. You may even have clenched your fists or restricted yourself from shouting in pain as you felt all those strands pulled out.
Although laser hair removal may involve some discomfort, it's far less risky than your other traditional hair removal options. It's also much faster than tweezing those hair strands one by one.
There's also the regrowth time to think of. Shaving means cutting off only the part of the hair outside of the skin. Since this doesn't address the part responsible for hair growth, then you can expect your smooth skin to last only for a day or two.
Waxing has longer-lasting effects than shaving, but it may also increase your risk for skin irritation and ingrown hairs.
Don't Let Unwanted Hair Inconvenience You Any Further
Shaving every day, plucking several times a week, or waxing every month can be quite time-consuming and inconvenient. So why not consider a longer-lasting solution to all your unwanted hair?
We hope that this in-depth guide on how laser hair removal works has shed light on all your hair removal questions. That it'll help you make a more informed decision.