Whether you spend TV nights battling with at-home wax strips or have to remember to shave every day in the shower, the ritual of hair removal typically brings on feelings of dread in the female population. Even if you’re not particularly hairy, opting for the long-lasting results of laser hair removal”which can be done almost anywhere on your body”can save you time and stress.
What it is
Instead of fumbling with a dull razor or being slathered in hot wax, laser hair removal involves a machine that uses gentle heat to cause localized damaged to follicles. This helps slow down re-growth and, with multiple sessions, eventually stops hair growth altogether. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) lasers rapidly detect and differentiate between the darker hair pigment and the surrounding skin.
What it involves
Laser hair removal can be very effective, but it’s not a one-time procedure. Depending on your skin colour and hair colour, type and growth rate, you might need to book six to 10 appointments spaced four to six weeks apart to achieve your desired results. Hair will continue to sprout, albeit more and more slowly, until it eventually stops. Most estheticians will perform the procedure almost anywhere body hair grows, except for the eyebrows (they’re too close to the eyes).
What to expect
Hair removal is synonymous with pain (even razors cause nicks!) and lasering it away is no exception. You’ll feel a slight pinch with every zap. Newer machines tend to work faster, so at least the duration of pain can be lessened. Once you start laser hair removal, you’ll be told to avoid prolonged sun exposure, as it increases skin sensitivity. And in between appointments you’ve got to put up with stubbly legs or bushy underarms”no hair removal is allowed, except by laser, as it interferes with the process.
Who benefits most?
A good esthetician will be up front in saying that laser hair removal is not necessarily 100 per cent permanent”some people have hair that is more resilient and resistant. The best candidates are light-skinned with dark hair”laser hair removal is not ideal for those with dark skin or blonde hair. This is because the laser has trouble differentiating between the pigment of the skin and the hair follicle. New-generation lasers exist that will treat both light- and dark-skinned patients, but check with your esthetician. Asking the right questions can help avoid serious skin damage.
Laser hair removal obviously isn’t as cheap as paying for a wax or buying disposable razors, but consider it a long-term investment. Depending on the number of sessions you require, the quality of the machine and the operating costs, laser hair removal can run between $600 and $3,000.