Sarcasm aside, I’m sure most women wish they could have a more permanent solution to unwanted hair. Luckily science has granted this wish with laser hair removal.
How does laser hair removal work ?
Laser hair removal is a process that uses pulses of concentrated light directed at the pigment in our hair follicles. This light creates heat that destroys the hair follicle and hair bulb.
Interestingly, treatment for lighter skin and darker skin patients differ slightly. For lighter skin tones, medical grade lasers target the pigment of the hair follicle. However, for darker skin tones, the laser tends to target the blood supply to the hair follicles damaging the hair follicle causing stunted hair growth. Laser treatments work better on light skin tones though. Dark skin tones compete with the hair follicle for the laser’s attention meaning the lasers have a harder time distinguishing the hair from the skin. Although this doesn’t make it impossible to get the treatment, you have to do extra research to ensure the clinic you choose is experienced in treating patients with darker skin tones. Check out clinic reviews online.
What body parts can this treatment be used on?
Laser treatment can be used for hair on your face, legs, arms, underarms, bikini line, and pretty much anywhere on your body. This treatment is inclusive too! Men bothered by excess hair normally get the treatment done on their back, chest and stomach.
How long does a treatment take ?
Each pulse of the laser is swift. Each zap covering roughly 2 to 3 centimetres at a time. Small areas like the upper lip can take a minute, while larger areas can take up to an hour. What takes up time is the need for a number of sessions to start seeing results. This isn’t a quick fix so patience is key.
Does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal my friends, is ‘the answer’. From personal experience, I can tell you it absolutely works. It’s a great hair removal solution for semi-permanent to permanent results. How many sessions it takes to see results varies per patient, but about 90% see permanent hair loss in 3 to 7 sessions. While scientifically it doesn’t get rid of hair forever, it does reduce hair growth significantly enough to be able to skip shaving or waxing completely. Only electrolysis is TGA-approved for permanent hair removal. Electrolysis is what you use for those little random hairs that pop up on small areas of your face or body.
Does laser hair removal hurt?
“*&%$#! Yes” is my personal response to this question. When I had this treatment done I felt like I was being constantly flicked with a large rubber band by a naughty 5 year old with strong thumbs. But others, (more stoic than I), say that it’s simply a quick sharp pain – on a scale somewhere a few notches down from waxing. There is a warm sensation during the process and some machines have cooling functions to relieve any discomfort. I’m here to tell you whether it’s Guantanamo Bay level torture or a slight zip zap, it’s all worth it. The pain reduces each treatment as the hairs are fewer and less coarse. You can also ask for numbing gel which is surprisingly helpful.
Is laser hair removal safe?
When treated by a professional, it is safe however there are small side effects. You can expect redness and tenderness – all completely normal laser hair removal side effects.
Crusting is another side effect. It’s temporary but definitely annoying. Applying moisturiser on the area after treatment can prevent this from happening or prevent it from scarring.
Expect the skin in treated areas to lighten or darken. Lighter skin tones tend to darken of while darker skin tones lighten. Discoloration goes away and your skin will return to normal.
Wearing those daggy sunnies during the treatment is very important and should never be overlooked as you are dealing with lasers. Eye injury is a possible side effect if proper eye protection is not worn, especially while being treated on facial hair. Uncool eyewear is trivial compared to eye damage–so don’t take the risk.
Some rare side effects include infections, blistering, and burns BUT these only happen if the practitioner does not administer the treatment properly. It’s well worth a few minutes of research to get the necessary information and ensure the machines used in their clinics are TGA approved.
Laser Hair removal cost:
Laser hair removal is not cheapest hair removal solution when you are in the moment, but it is a worthy investment when you consider your waxing bill will be non-existent. Costs range depending on each clinic:
Prices start at $10 for smaller areas up to $399 for a full body treatment
Location: Branches can be found throughout Australia (NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, ACT, TAS)
Prices start at $35 for smaller areas up to $700 for full body
Location: Woolhara, NSW and Mosman, NSW
Pros: TGA approved machines, Special care for darker skin
Prices start from $11 up to $179 for packages
Location: 13 locations around Melbourne
Pros: TGA approved machines, Treatments aren’t timed, use of grid system to ensure all hair follicles are targeted,
Considering getting it done? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1) Avoid plucking, waxing or threading 4 weeks before your treatment. Remember the treatment needs the hair follicle to be able to kill it. Shaving only please. This includes the face, (I know).
2) Avoid sun exposure or applying fake tan before your treatment. The paler your legs the better so the machine zeros in on the pigment in your hair not your skin.
3) Avoid exercise, saunas, and hot showers after getting treated, the heat from the lasers remains in your skin for about 24 hours. Creating a warmer environment for bacteria will increase your chances of infection or irritation on your newly zapped follicles.
4) Avoid scrubs, glycolic acids, and retinol creams at least 2 days before and after your treatment as your skin will be more sensitive. The same goes for any type of chemicalpeels.
5) You will have to return for a few sessions to see results. During that period, you cannot pluck or dye or bleach the hair you want removed. Your best option is to shave if needed.
6) If you’re getting your underarms zapped, skip the deodorant. If you’re getting your upper lip treated, avoid applying moisturizers and makeup before your appointment.
What about laser hair removal at home? Are there options for DIY?
Yes, there are at-home options. Home kits have a weaker strength laser so you will see lightening of the hair, but you will not get anywhere close to the results achieved at a medical-grade clinic. The danger with DIY is that people tend to go over an area more times than recommended thinking that it’ll more effective. Tsk - this does more harm than good. Because of this, multiple dermatologists suggest that it is safer to go to a clinic and have a professional do it. We are talking laser beams after all.