Laser Hair Removal is the Best Modern Hair Removal Technique

Hair removal has grown into a huge industry, on track to be valued at $1.35 billion by 2022. The endlessly expanding market includes everything from electrolysis to razors, epilators to waxing kits, and now the latest growing trend is laser hair removal. The goal is the same -- to have smooth hairless skin -- but the method has drastically changed over the years. People are constantly searching for more time-efficient, longer-lasting results, and currently, the top solution is laser hair removal. Some modern companies have engineered the best at-home laser hair removal gadgets, offering even more convenience. But what exactly is laser hair removal, and why is it so much better than other hair removal methods?

The Principles of Laser Hair Removal

Selective Photothermolysis (SPTL) is the primary principle guiding laser hair removal. The pulse duration and wavelength of light are precisely matched to maximize the effect on the targeted tissue without affecting the other surrounding tissue. The laser causes only controlled, localized damage, through selective heating of the dark melanin. This eventually destroys the basal stem cells in the follicle, which stops its hair growth, without heating the rest of the skin. The laser is readily absorbed by the dark melanin, so laser treatment is most effective on the skin that has melanin or dark hair, rather than light skin with fair hair. The laser easily treats dirty blonde, reddish-brown, brown, and black hair, while strawberry blonde, light blonde, and white hair don't respond as well to the treatment. The most noticeable results are typically seen on people with dark, coarse hair, and the complexion that sees the very best results is light skin with dark hair. Lasers such as Nd: YAG laser are being used to target dark hair on dark skin with some success.


Is laser hair removal a permanent procedure?

Laser hair removal is not a permanent hair removal procedure. According to the FDA, laser hair removal gives a semi-permanent result because hair reduction is stable, long term, and there is a significant reduction in the number of hair regrowing after the treatment session. Some people eventually experience complete regrowth, years after the procedure has been done. This means that even the best at-home laser hair removal gadgets will not result in the permanent removal of hair, but they will drastically reduce the hair growth cycle, giving you more extended periods of time during which you don't have to worry about hair removal.  Patients are advised to keep realistic expectations. Laser hair removal has become famous because of its efficacy and speed. However, the efficiency does depend somewhat on the experience and qualifications of the technician. The availability of different laser technologies also has an effect on the efficiency of the treatment. Some larger areas of the body might need touch-ups after the initial set of treatments. 

Comparison with Other Hair Removal Techniques

  • Laser hair removal is undoubtedly superior to most other methods in terms of effectiveness. Waxing, threading, and shaving take a lot of time and effort, and they still require regular touch-ups at frequent intervals. If you consider the time and money spent each year on sessions and equipment for these methods, you'll realize that you could actually save by investing in some of best laser hair removal at home devices. Although laser removal is a bit on the pricier side when you get started, it's worth every penny in the long run.
  • The intense pulsed light (IPL) epilators, as well as both diode lasers and alexandrite, are statically less effective than laser hair removal, and they have a higher incidence of side effects. It's not worth having smooth hairless skin if you also have burns and severe rashes.
  • Electrolysis can be used to remove hair of all colors and achieve 100% permanent hair removal, but it has to be used with proper technique and adequate power. The treatment is tedious and slow compared to the advanced laser hair removal procedure. There is also the risk of hormone-induced hair growth after the procedure, which can happen due to individual hormone levels as well as a genetic predisposition towards excessive hair growth. Many patients have attested that laser hair removal is more effective and safer than electrolysis.

Number of Required Sessions

There are multiple phases of hair growth: anagen, telogen, and catagen. The laser can effectively target only the actively growing hair follicles in the early anagen stage. Since the hairs will not all be in this stage at the same time, several sessions are required to damage all of the hair follicles. The treatment then reduces the normal hair into a vellus non-colored small hair. Depending on the skin color and type of hair, multiple treatments may be required to provide long-term reduction of hair growth. The minimum number of treatments for most patients is eight. Even with the top laser hair removal devices, it is generally recommended to wait three to eight weeks between the sessions. The treatment schedule also depends on the area being treated, the manufacturer of the device, and the clinicians involved in the procedure. Other factors include the sex of the patient, the reason for hirsutism, and of course, the coarseness of hair, skin color, and the area of the body being treated.

The easiest to manage, as mentioned earlier, is coarse dark hair on light skin. Certain areas, like men's facial hair, will require several treatments to get the desired results. Typically it takes two to three weeks for the treated hairs to shed. These hairs are meant to fall out on their own and should not be manipulated by the patient. Using external force to take out the treated hairs can lead to infection. Pulling out the strands after the treatment can also counteract the effects of the procedure and be extremely painful.


Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal

Some of the most common side effects of the procedure are swelling of the follicles (follicular edema) or swelling around the treatment area, red or pink skin, and sometimes itching. These side effects are temporary and last less than three days. Some of the most severe possible side effects are skin discoloration and acne. There can be some level of pain experienced during the procedure. Sometimes, for an additional charge, certain numbing creams are supplied by the technician. Numbing creams can also be purchased over the counter. Usage of strong numbing creams over a large area of skin should be avoided, as it can cause serious harmful side effects and even be life-threatening. Typically the cream is applied half an hour before the treatment. Ice may also be used to numb the area. Some of the unwanted side effects can be hyper- or hypopigmentation (white spots). In extreme cases, there can be burning of the skin. This can occur when the laser was not properly selected. Some other side effects are acne flare-ups and swelling around the hair follicle, which is considered normal. Formation of scab, purpura, and infection could occur. Some patients also may be allergic to the numbing cream or hair removal gel used to shave the area during the process. The risk of these side effects can be reduced if the treatment is done under the supervision of a professional with appropriate settings for the individual’s treatment area and skin type.

Cost of Laser Hair Removal

The average price of laser hair removal is between $250 to $300 per session, but the cost varies widely depending on several factors, including:

  • The size of the area being treated. For obvious reasons, it will cost more to treat a larger area. It may be most expensive to treat the legs or the back. The amount of time required for a session also affects cost. Some patients might need more time than others.
  • The number of treatments required varies from person to person. This also determines the average cost of full laser hair removal treatment.
  • The professional also determines the cost, whether it be a doctor or some other certified personal. Always ensure that the procedure is done by a professional with appropriate credentials, as an improper treatment performed by an unqualified person can have severe unintended effects.
  • The country where the procedure is performed also determines the cost. There are different regulations for different countries, which can affect the procedure's cost. Always ask for a consultation, which is generally free, to determine whether the cost is worth the experience or not.
  • The health of the patient has to be taken into account as well. Some patients might require more precautionary measures than others, and off course, some clients might have extra demands that can be fulfilled for an additional cost.

Laser hair removal technology has advanced so much that it has become one of the most trusted hair removal procedures. Even home devices can be useful and safe, although they won’t be as powerful as the equipment used by professional clinics. Still, regular use can show effective results, so to find the best at-home laser hair removal devices, always buy from a trusted brand.