Thursday, July 29, 2010
An Aesthetician's Waitng Room
Laser hair removal treatments are an FDA approved method for permanent hair reduction, but not permanent hair removal. It requires multiple treatments to have the best results.
How Does it Work?
A hand-held laser device sends out pulsed light on the skin to seek out the dark pigment (color) of hair, and impairs the hair follicle. Hair will begin to fall out within the next 10 - 14 days after treatment.
Hair grows in different stages: growing, resting and shedding. Because all of the hair isn't on the same stage at any given time, multiple treatments are needed to get the hair in the growth phase, for the laser to be most effective.
1. Hair reduction can make a world of difference. While you might not get totally smooth and silky forever, hair should be less noticeable and require less shaving or waxing. According to The Mayo Clinic, lasers can reduce hair counts 40% to 80%.
2. Little to no hair growth is needed for treatments. Depending on the type of laser, hair can either be continually shaved, including the day of treatment, or only require a few days worth of growth.
3. Laser hair removal treatments aren't extremely time consuming. Large areas can be treated all at once, as opposed to electrolysis which requires each follicle individually treated. A laser treatment done on the back takes about an hour.
1. Scarring, blisters and burns can occur. Although it's not very common, these are still possible side effects- especially from someone inexperienced.
2. It's not cheap. The average rates are below under The Costs.
3. Multiple treatments are needed. It's not a one hit wonder. Usually 4- 6 treatments are needed, spaced out about a month apart to achieve the best hair reduction results.
4. Not everybody is a candidate. Because laser targets darkness, people with dark hair and light skin are better suited for laser treatments. Some lasers are available to give results to those with light skin/light hair and dark skin/dark hair, but advancement is still being made.
The discomfort level varies on the type of laser used, person's hair type, body area getting treated, and one's personal threshold. Getting a laser hair removal treatment is likened to a rubber band snapping against the skin. The first session generally hurts the most, and then subsides with further visits. People with very thick, dark hair often feel a bit more pain than those with thin hair, because darker hair absorbs more of the laser light.
Laser Hair Removal Costs
Laser hair removal costs are going to depend on where the place is located, and the type of facility. Each visit averages $200 - $900, based on the size of the area being treated.
Laser Hair Removal
Lasers work best on dark hair, light skin because the laser targets melanin which is found in dark hair. There are some lasers that now successfully remove blonde hairs, but from what I've read, they've not yet perfected them. If you have dark skin, beware also, because the laser will target the melanin in your skin as well, which can cause pigmentation problems.
The pain factor I've found lasers aren't as painful as waxing, but are more painful than depilatory creams or tweezing. I am going through laser hair removal on my legs right now (read all about it here) and it's working great. A pulsed light from the laser can feel like a rubber band snapping your skin. I recommend taking a couple Advil an hour before.
How much time, how much money? The good news is a laser session on the upper lip and chin is fast compared to the legs and bikini. Each session will take about 10 minutes. You'll need 5-6 treatments spaced four weeks apart. The bad news is laser hair removal is not affordable for everyone. Depending on where you live, each session can cost $150-$200.
To shave or not to shave? As for your concern about shaving, you may have to shave the area for a particular machine to work. But the good news is that all the hair falls out within 10-14 days. I have fast-growing leg hair, so when I get laser hair removal the hair grows in immediately per its usual tricks, but then it magically falls out (with a bit of exfoliating help on my part) within that magical 14-day period. Depending on how fast your hair grows, you might have a bit of coarseness for a few days, but it should all fall out.
And just so you know, shaving never makes hair grow back thicker. Virgin, never shaved hairs have fine, soft ends. Shaved ends are coarser. This is why the hair that grows back after you shave seems to be thicker.
Are results guaranteed? Results, unfortunately, are never guaranteed with laser hair removal. You can expect an 80% reduction in hair growth, but some people see more, some less. I have had great success with lasers, while a friend of mine turned to electrolysis because all her/his back hair grew back after her/his laser treatments.
Find a reputable aesthetician Beware the cheap places that offer discounts. You want to make sure you are going to a credible, licensed aesthetician who is most likely using the best, most up-to-date machines available. City Search has a salon section where users rate salons in cities.
Electrolysis is a more guaranteed form of hair removal and works on dark AND light hair.
How it works The licensed electrologist (make sure yours is licensed) inserts a sterile needle into every hair follicle. A low-level electrical current kills the follicle. Because electrolysis focuses on one hair at a time, it can be a tedious process, which makes it ideal for small areas like the brows, upper lip and chin.
The pain factor The pain from electrolysis is greater than laser and it may feel like 20 pricks to your one for laser hair removal. Cost is about $60 for a typical 30-minute session, but the con is you need about 15-30 visits to see the best results (ouch!)
Are results guaranteed? Yes. Unlike laser and pulsed lights, electrolysis kills every follicle the electrologist treats.