Laser Hair Removal – We Answer All Your Questions

Laser Hair Removal – We Answer All Your Questions

Charmaine Kon by Charmaine Kon on Aug 3, 2016
Why you should care

“What’s all the hype”, “is it any good”, “does it hurt?” – we answer these questions and more.

You’ve probably heard of laser hair removal and its magical abilities to poof away hairs permanently. Got burning questions? We have answers.

What it involves, the science behind it, side effects, and safety concerns – let’s get to it!

1 What’s laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal treatments employ monochromatic red light to (safely) cause damage to the stem cells that produce hair in follicles. This causes them to stop producing hair.

Laser hair removal treatments specifically target hair pigments, making it a more effective hair removal alternative compared to Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatments.

Contrary to popular belief, IPL treatments are not laser treatments.

laser hair removal chart2 What’s the difference between laser hair removal and IPL treatments?

IPL treatments employ a highly concentrated beam of incoherent light that doesn’t just focus on hair, but also on surrounding tissue. This lack of focus makes it less effective in targeting hair and more likely to burn the skin around the hairs.

Its lack of focus also means that it’s a poorer differentiator between hair and skin, making the treatment a poor option for those with darker skin tones.

As laser hair treatments are more precise, they are also more efficient, requiring approximately 8 initial treatments compared to IPL’s 10 – 12 initial treatments for significant hair reduction.

3 What’s all the hype about laser hair removal – is it any good?

Laser hair removal removes hair permanently from the root. This means that you won’t have to repeatedly shave, wax, or epilate, which will reduce hair removal costs in the long term.

Not needing to shave, wax, or epilate also means that you won’t have to deal with in-grown hair, stubble, skin irritation, and bikini bottom creepy crawlies.

hair waxing burn4 Is laser hair removal suitable for me?

If you want a permanent* hair removal alternative for virtually any part of your body, then yes. However, you’ll need to consult with your doctor or therapist on whether your hair type is suitable for laser treatment.

Lasers detect hairs with enough pigment, so they cannot detect very fine hairs. Your consultant should be able to give you advise on the suitability of this procedure.

Laser hair removal is also for those who want to reduce the density of hair growth as opposed to stripping the area completely. For example, those who don’t want overly hairy chests or backs will find this treatment useful.

If you don’t like the idea or laser hair removal, we discuss other hair removal methods here.

5 Will the hairlessness be *permanent?

If used correctly, laser hair removal is as close to permanent as you’ll get. Besides laser calibration and type, the efficacy of laser hair removal also means targeting hairs when they are at a certain stage of growth. The initial 8 treatments are meant to target as many hairs as possible at that stage of growth, as individual hairs grow at different paces.

After the initial treatments, your doctor or therapist will tell you to revisit every 6 months to a year, to target new hair growth which can be produced as a result of age, diet, or hormonal factors.

As for hairlessness, laser treatments cannot detect very fine hairs, so you will be mostly hairless, save for the very fine hairs, which won’t be very visible anyway.hairless dog6 Does the treatment hurt?

The sensation of the laser is akin to that of a snapping rubber band, so there is a low level of pain. Most people experience less pain after the first or first few sessions.

7 Is it safe; are there side effects?

To ensure safety, do a research on the clinic or centre you’re visiting. Find out the doctor’s/therapist’s experience and credentials. Ensure that he/she is transparent and informative during the consultation. Opt for a reputable centre instead of a lesser known, price competitive one.

Ask for a patch test which is when the technician can select the laser and calibrate it to best suit your hair and skin type.

With successful sessions, the side effects are minor – redness, itching, or tingling around the area for 24 hours. Hair removals around the mouth tend to cost some swelling.

On the other hand, unsuccessful treatments can cause scabbing, bruising, purple discolouration, and hyper- or hypo-pigmentation which are darkened or loss of skin colour respectively.

8 What is the treatment like?

First, the hair is trimmed to a few millimetres above the skin surface. Then the therapist will aim a handheld laser at one small area of your skin at a time.

armpit laser hair removal

To prepare for the session, you are required to abstain from tweezing, waxing, or epilating 6 weeks prior.

Why you should care

“What’s all the hype”, “is it any good”, “does it hurt?” – we answer these questions and more.

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