Everything You Should Know About Laser Hair Removal
Want to know what all the fuss is about? Well, read on!
The thoughts of never having to pick up a razor again, never having to bend it like Beckham in the shower to reach every nook and cranny, and most importantly, not having to deal with *that* post-shave stubbly leg rash is without a doubt the selling point to laser hair removal.
Yes, it’s most definitely seen as the expensive route to go down with full laser treatments varying from €300 to upwards of €1,000 depending on how many areas you want to cover and how many sessions you need, but when you think about how much you’ll save on waxing appointments, razors and shaving products over the course of your lifetime, the price seems more justifiable.
Firstly, to understand how it all works, laser hair removal works by using a combination of heat and light to target and penetrate hair follicles. With pale skin tones, the laser energy is attracted to the dark pigment (melanin) in the each hair follicle. Those with dark skin tones receive a different wavelength of laser that’s attracted to the blood supply of each hair follicle underneath the skin. Both laser wavelengths effectively work at targeting and disabling the hair.
And besides laser working wonders for those who couldn’t be arsed with shaving in the shower (everyone raise your hand), laser is also fantastic for those who suffer from ingrown hairs. Laser is clinically proven to reduce ingrown hairs over a period of sessions, as well as changing the hair density from course to thin, with no more irritation and bumps.
In terms of how many sessions it takes to see results, well, embarking on a course of laser is definitely a commitment, but the dramatic decrease in hair growth starts to become obvious even after one session. After two to three sessions, the need to shave daily and weekly becomes a thing of the past and after the initial course of treatments (usually between 6 to 10), hair growth is down 80 – 85% on average. Following your initial course, top up appointments are only needed about twice a year, with everything from your tan gliding on better to your skin looking clearer after laser.
Now, the catch with laser, as I’m sure anyone who has ever gone for a consultation will know, is that laser unfortunately doesn’t work on all those willing to take part. Will this be something that science will soon improve? Here’s hoping and recent advancements suggest that we could see progression in the near future. But for the moment, not all hair types are suitable for laser. Hair must contain brown or black pigment for laser to work. Hairs that are blonde, grey, white or red do not respond to laser hair treatment because the laser looks for dark pigment (melanin) in the hair to transfer heat to. If dark pigment isn’t present, heat will not be effectively transferred to the hair and the lighter hairs will continue to grow. Not ideal, we know.
But aside from colour, density is also a factor with laser hair removal, the thicker and coarser the hair is, the more effective the hair removal will be. Although fine hairs can still be treated, it tends to prove to be a little bit more difficult. So, to sum it up, people with dark, course hairs are the dream candidates for laser hair removal.
But (and there’s always a but) when you book in your first consultation with your chosen clinic (these are nearly always free of charge), the clinic will asses your skin, your hair and give you a more comprehensive report on whether or not you’re a suitable candidate. During your consultation, this is also a great time to ask any questions – from how many sessions you might need and a quote for your specific course, to queries about pain and how long the sessions are.
One of the most commonly asked questions is if laser is painful. Although, it really does depend on your own pain threshold, laser should never feel too uncomfortable and the experts on hand will ensure that everything is done at a pace that suits you, with techniques to make things as pain free as possible. Most people describe laser like a tingling sensation or a rubber band snapping against the skin, with some areas being a little bit more sensitive than others. Overtime, treatment in all these areas will start to become more tolerable and sessions will feel less daunting and breeze by.
The most important take home note is that if you’re interested in laser hair removal, do your research when finding a good clinic that suits you in your area. Ask you friends who’ve had laser for their advice, check out the websites of some clinics offering laser, compare prices, online testimonials and make sure that the place you’re going to comes recommended by others. Then, book in for your free consultation and away you go. Laser is one of the things in life you won’t live to regret, trust me, I’m four sessions in!
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