Laser Hair Removal: What To Expect

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While hair removal for our mother's generation was rather simple (the only real option was a good old fashioned razor), today, there are a seemingly limitless ways to de-fuzz our bodies and face. We can slather on depilatory cream, wax, thread, tweeze and laser our hair off, and really, each option is unique—meaning, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting rid of hair. It's a personal choice and some women might prefer one option to the other.

It is important to know, however, despite the fact that there are many hair removal options for the weekend, there is only one way to get your body hair free for life, and that way is with hair-removal lasers at your dermatologist's office.

Even though laser hair removal has been around for a while now (it got really popular in the early 2000s), many women are wary of it. So, to take away any of the guesswork, here is what you can expect if you are interested in this treatment:

- First, you should know, not all lasers suit all skin and hair types. The truth is that no one laser can successfully remove all hair from every woman, but, if you find an expert, they’re probably going to have a few different laser options that will work for you.

- It takes about 6-8 treatments to remove hair completely, depending on the amount of hair and how coarse it is, says Smithtown, NY, dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD.

- You have to space appointment times apart by about a month, depending on your situation, so it could take a while to see full results of laser hair removal.

- It does in fact hurt. Many women compare it to having a rubber band snapped across your skin. But hey, no pain, no gain. Right?

- It does in fact smell. Lasering your hair means heating up your skin and hair until it has no chance of reproducing. This means it smells basically like burnt hair. However, if smooth skin is what you're after, a little time smelling burnt hair shouldn’t be too much of a sacrifice.

- The price varies. Laser hair removal is expensive if you are comparing it to other hair removal options, but remember, it is a more permanent option.

- There is no downtime. You might have a little bid of redness or bumps after treatment session, but this will go away shortly.

- It works. After the first few treatments there should be a 50 to 70 percent reduction in hair, says Washington, DC, dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD. Some women need to do yearly touch-ups to stay free of unwanted hair, but any hair that does grow back will be much finer and thinner.

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5 Comments
  • cassandra berholtz
    Posted on

    Thank you for being up front about the facts. I would love to do this, cause I shave my legs in the morning and by night, I could shave again. Now my underarms is another story. I have one side that gets gray hair and the other is dark. It is strange and I would love to not have to worry about this. It does sound like it would be worth the investment.

  • Albertsmith
    Posted on

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  • Albertsmith
    Posted on

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  • Valerie S.
    Posted on

    I am a laser technician and have to disagree with the article slightly. It takes more than 6-8 treatments to get rid of hair in certain areas. I wish that information would not be given as fact of the matter. I have clients coming in and insisting that it will only take 6 treatments - and when we hit that 6th treatment - they are still no completely hair free. I am VERY thorough in my treatments; actually known for this by my clients, but in most larger areas of the body such as brazilian, legs back - 6-8 is never adequate even with proper spacing and ultra thoroughness using a very good laser (not IPL). All that said - laser does work, but not for everyone,esp lighter haired people.

  • Medical Esthetician
    Posted on

    Patients need to wait six to eight weeks between treatments on body and one month between treatments for face. Also there is no laser that works on blonde or light brown hair. Other things to consider are no one can guarentee permanent hair removal just a reduction and the finer, thinner hairs may never go away. Changes in hormones can bring back any hairs that you once thought were gone forever. Laser hair removal works best on dark course hair and lighter skin tones.

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