Laser hair removal is the best hair removal technique in today’s time
The hair removal craze has grown into a big business. It is set to be valued at $1.35 billion by 2022. The forever expanding market includes everything from electrolysis to razors, epilators, waxing kits, and now the latest fad is laser hair removal. The marketing is the same- to have smooth hairless skin, but the method has drastically changed over the years. People are searching for more time effective and long-lasting results. And this has been guaranteed by the laser hair removal therapy. Even some companies have introduced the best at-home laser hair removal gadgets that have led people to have more convenience. But what exactly is laser hair removal, and how is it better than most of the other hair removal techniques are the question of the hour.
The principle of laser hair removal
Selective Photothermolysis (SPTL) is the primary principle behind the process of laser hair removal. The matching of the pulse duration and the specific wavelength of light to obtain a maximum effect on the targeted tissue is done by having a minimal impact on the surrounding tissue. The laser is doing only localized damage through selective heating of the dark matter of melanin. So the basal stem cells in the follicle are heated up and eventually destroyed, which stops the hair growth of the hair follicle. This process does not heat the rest of the skin. The laser is readily absorbed by the presence of dark matter on the surface with more intensity and speed. So it is more successful on the skin that has melanin or dark adult hair instead of on someone with lighter skin tone and hair. The photons in the laser light get easily absorbed by hair colors such as dirty blonde or reddish-brown hair, brown, and black hair. Strawberry blonde, light blonde, and white hair don't respond well to the hair. The better results are most often seen on people with dark and coarse hair. The ideal combination for the most effective outcome is light skin with dark hair. Lasers such as Nd: YAG laser is being used to target dark hair on dark skin with little 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. Sometimes patients also notice there is complete regrowth of hair on the area treated after years of the treatment had been done. This means even the best at-home laser hair removal gadgets will not result in the permanent removal of hair but drastically reduce the hair growth cycle. This will lead to more extended periods of being hairless and carefree about hair removal. So patients are advised to keep realistic expectations. Laser hair removal has become famous throughout the years because of its efficacy and spends. The efficiency, on the other hand, depends on the experience and skill of the laser operator. The availability and choice of different laser technologies will also affect the effectiveness of the procedure. Some of the larger areas might also need touch-ups after the initial set of treatment.
Comparison with other hair removal techniques
- If traditional methods of hair removal are to be considered, then laser hair removal is undoubtedly superior to most of them in terms of effectiveness. Waxing, threading, and shaving take a lot of time and effort, not to mention needs regular touch-ups that too at short intervals of time. If you consider the time and money spent on such sessions and equipment per year, then it can amount to a lot of money that could have been spending more smartly by investing in some of the best laser hair removal at home devices? Although laser removal is a bit on the pricier side, it’s worth every penny because eventually, on the long term basis, it is beneficial.
- The intense pulsed light (IPL) epilators and both diode lasers and alexandrite are statically less effective than laser hair removal. There is a higher risk of side effects in this procedure than laser hair removal. There is no pint in wanting to have smooth hairless skin and ending up with burnt skin with severe rashes.
- Electrolysis can be used to remove hair of all colors and can be termed as 100% permanent hair removal. But it has to be used with proper technique and adequate power. The treatment is tedious and slow as compared with the advanced laser hair removal procedure. There is also the risk that more hair will grow after the process due to hormone-induced growth. This happens due to the genetic predisposition of someone to develop more hair and individual hormone levels. Many patients have attested that laser hair removal is more effective and safer than electrolysis.
The number of sessions required
There are several phases of hair growth- anagen, telogen, and catagen. The laser can effectively target only the actively growing hair follicles, which are the early anagen stage. Therefore, several sessions are required to damage the hair for all phases of growth. The treatment thus forces it to reduce into a vellus non- colored small hair. Depending on the type of skin color and type of hair, multiple treatments are 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 for three to eight weeks between the sessions. It also depends on the area being treated, the manufacturer of the device, and the clinicians that are involved in the procedure. Other parameters define how much the number of sessions is required. This includes 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 considerably to get the desired results. Typically the shedding takes about two to three weeks for the treated hairs. These hairs are meant to fall out on their own. By no means should they be manipulated by the patient. It can lead to infections if any external force is used to take out the treated hairs. Pulling out the strands after the treatment can counteract the effects of the procedure and be extremely painful.
Side effects of laser hair removal
Some of the typical side effects of the procedure are swelling of the follicles (follicular edema) or swelling around the treatment area, redness, and pink skin, and sometimes itching. These side effects are temporary and last less than two to three days. But some of the most severe and possible side effects are skin discoloration and acne. There can be some level of pain that can be experienced during the procedure. Sometimes at the additional cost, certain numbing creams are given as well. Some 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. To relive the area, sometimes ice is also used. Some of the unwanted side effects can be hyper- or hypopigmentation (white spots). In extreme cases, there can be burning of the skin as well. This can occur when there have to be some adequate adjustments done on the laser selection. Some other side effects are a flare of acne and swelling around the hair follicle, which is considered a normal reaction. Formation of scab, purpura, and infection. Some patients also suffer from allergy due to the numbing cream or hair removal gel used to shave the area during the process. These risks 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 can be between $250 to $300 per session. But the cost varies widely depending on several factors like-
- The size of the area being treated. For apparent reasons, more is the surface area. More will be the price like the legs, hands, and back area. The time required for the treatment also determines the 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 laser hair removal treatment.
- The professional also determines the cost, whether it's a doctor or some other certified personal. Just ensure that if the procedure is being done professionally, they have adequate credentials. The treatment done wrongly by a wrong person will lead to many complicacies later.
- The country where you are having the procedure also determines the cost. As there are different regulations for different countries, and the cist will vary as well. 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 need more precautionary measures than others, and off course, some clients might have some demands that can be fulfilled with extra cost.
Laser hair removal technology has advanced so much that it has become one of the most trusted hairs removal procedures now. Even if you are opting for devices to try the process at home, they can be useful and safe as well, although they won’t be as powerful as the professional clinics use. Still, regular use can show effective results. So to find the best at-home laser hair removal devices always go for a trusted brand.