Laser hair removal is a popular method of removing unwanted hair. If you’re considering getting it done, here’s what you need to know. It’s worth noting that laser hair removal isn’t right for everyone. In fact, some people can’t have it done at all—like those with darker skin tones, or those who suffer from diabetes or epilepsy. If you have any of these conditions, it’s best to talk to your doctor before making any decisions about whether or not laser hair removal is right for you.
If you do qualify for the procedure, however, there are several things to keep in mind before making a decision about which clinic to visit: Find out how many sessions are needed before deciding if it’s worth the cost. The number of sessions needed depends on how thick and dark your hair is as well as how fast it grows back in between treatments. This means that some people may need more sessions than others will—and hence pay more money overall—so make sure that whoever does your consultation has a good idea of how long this process will take!
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Is home laser hair removal worth it
We’ve got all the facts and figures.
It’s about this exact point every year that we all start considering laser hair removal. Summer is just getting started, and the amount of hair maintenance required is already ticking you off. After manic Googling sessions of other hair removal options, we’re right back to where we were: lasers. That said, we understand why you might be hesitant. Setting pain factors aside for a moment, waxing and shaving offer immediate results, while laser hair removal, whether at-home or at a derm’s office, is an investment requiring multiple sessions and, typically, a high price tag. It all raises the question: What’s most worth your money? We’ve done the math for you, and here’s what we found.
Price: There’s no getting away from the initial hit ranging from $250-$500, but in the long run it’s much more cost-effective. For example, professional appointments for both legs on average cost $400, and it’s recommended you seek six to eight appointments, so that’s roughly a $2,000 savings in total if you use an at-home device. That’s a lot of money. A good place to start is with the Silk’n Flash&Go Express, as it’s super quick and straightforward to use. Since it can be used on face and body, we love the $549 LumaRx Pro, which has a special Precision Treatment Cap attachment with a smaller window, ideal for facial contours.
Staying Power: For its best results, the LumaRx Pro can give 94 percent removal in as few as three treatments and, on average, participants had 66 percent fewer hairs after three treatments when they were evaluated a year later. The Illuminage Touch Permanent Hair Reduction System costs $445 but says it can reduce hair by up to 94 percent if you use it once a week for seven weeks (the same amount of sessions a professional course averagely recommends). That’s $64 per at-home session—much cheaper than professional visits. It also allows you to do touch-ups when you need to rather than paying a premium by seeking a professional (there is, however, the argument that when you see a derm, you won’t need top-ups, but more on that later).
Accuracy: Just like at-home waxing, where you notice tufts of hair you missed, it’s hard to be as accurate as a professional with at-home laser devices (understandably). So if you are doing large or hard-to-reach areas like legs, back, or bikini line, at-home devices can leave you frustrated and returning back to your razor for the bits you’ve missed.
Time-consuming: It’s not just fiddling about with accuracy that makes at-home devices time-consuming, but, as Dr. Shereene Idriss of Union Square Laser Dermatology also explains, “Don’t underestimate the self-inflicted pain from at-home sessions, which also adds more time to each treatment.” We second that. As opposed to having a professional help you power through it, you may find yourself having to take frequent breaks (we sure did), which means you often lose your placing, miss patches, and add minutes to each session.
Commitment: If you have a graveyard cabinet full of half-used beauty products and discarded tools, then we’d suggest thinking twice before committing to an at-home laser hair removal device. To see results, you must use them at least once a week for seven weeks in a row. Dr. Idriss also tells us that at-home treatments will require many more treatments compared to in-office sessions because the power level is lower on at-home devices, so you need to be prepared to be in it for the long haul. If you tend to have beauty commitment issues, it probably isn’t worth investing.
Skin Safety: “At-home devices aren’t as sophisticated as in-office lasers, so they’re not necessarily safe for darker skin types. The risk of burning is always the number one risk you should always be aware of,” advices Dr Idriss. For example, while more devices are very effective for dark hair on pale skin (the laser can “see” the contrast of color), they don’t always cater for black skin or grey hair.
While at-home devices have been proven effective, they are best for a very narrow window of people and don’t cater for specific skin types and hair colors. Dermatologists, on the other hand, “will have sophisticated enough lasers to target all skin types,” explains Dr. Idriss. That said, if you do have light skin and dark hair, they are a great alternative if you are prepared to commit and put in the hours. As a rule of thumb, we’d say at-home lasers are worth the investment if you want to target small areas (face and armpits), as they’re easy to use accurately and quickly. Particularly true when you consider it can take as little as under 60 seconds for a derm to do your top lip, so not worth the trek down there, or the money. But for larger areas like legs and bikini line, we’d recommend seeking a professional appointment, as it requires a lot of skill to get the results you want.
Electrolysis vs laser hair removal pcos
Women with PCOS have to deal with a range of distressing symptoms including excessive facial and body hair (hirsutism) throughout their lives. Hirsutism is usually treated with anti-androgen medications and oral contraceptives. Long-lasting hair removal methods, such as electrolysis and laser therapy, have shown promising results when combined with hormonal treatments. But, do they work for everyone?
Permanent Hair Removal for Hirsutism
Hirsutism is a common clinical condition affecting women of all ages.1 It is characterized by excessive hair growth appearing in a male-type pattern.2 Affected women, especially young women, may experience a large psychological burden and an impact on their social life.3 Most women seek treatment mainly for cosmetic reasons, because excess facial hair outside of cultural norms can be very embarrassing.
Why does PCOS cause Hirsutism?
Hirsutism is not a disorder, but a symptom of an underlying medical condition. The majority of women with hirsutism may have PCOS.4 If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, your ovaries are producing excessive amounts of androgens, such as testosterone (which is also called hyperandrogenism). However, testosterone per se is not directly responsible for the formation of unwanted hair growth but rather its more powerful byproduct called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).5
Can Hirsutism Be Cured Permanently?
Hirsutism can be treated by addressing the root cause of the condition. However, not all causes of hirsutism are reversible. Some women with unwanted facial or body hair have no identifiable cause (idiopathic): their androgen levels are normal; their menstrual cycles are normal; their ovaries appear normal on ultrasound.6 Fortunately, most women with unexplained hirsutism have mild symptoms, which can be treated with a variety of hair removal techniques.
With regards to PCOS, one type of treatment may not be enough. Medications, on their own, may not make the hair go away completely, but will stop it from getting worse. Mechanical hair removal methods like waxing, laser epilation, and electrolysis will further enhance the effects of hormone therapy.
How does Electrolysis work?
Electrolysis is a common hair removal technique that uses electrical pulses to target the root of the hair in order to permanently destroy each hair follicle and prevent regrowth. This method works best when treating small areas, although larger areas such as the legs or back may be treated with multiple sessions over time.7
There are two types of electrolysis based on the electrical current used: high-frequency (thermolysis), direct (galvanic), or a combination of the two (blend). Galvanic is the oldest and most widely used method of the two because of its high success rate and safety profile.
Electrolysis is the only permanent hair removal method approved by the FDA8, but its success depends on the skill of the operator. Regulation of the process varies from state to state.9 In contrast with laser techniques, electrolysis is expensive and more time consuming because it treats each individual hair.
Electrolysis can be performed in all types of hair, but studies show that it is most effective on hair in the active or growing phase (anagen)10,11, as this stage is where the newly formed hair starts to grow. Hairs treated in the resting phase (telogen) tend to regrow. You may be advised to shave 1-3 days prior to treatment.
Post-treatment side effects, which include redness around the treated area, pain, and swelling, are generally temporary. Scarring, depigmentation of skin, burns, and keloid formation in susceptible patients are possible. Make sure to check in with a healthcare professional about side effects you’re concerned about.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser-assisted hair removal is a generally safe and effective technique for women who desire a long-term reduction of hair growth. It works by focusing a beam of light to induce selective damage to hair follicles. This technique produces a gradual but permanent reduction of hair regrowth and can be used in larger areas of the body.
It works best on light skin and black coarse hair.12 This is because light hair with very little to no dark pigments do not absorb sufficient light photons emitted by the laser, so it’s impossible to completely destroy them.
While electrolysis has been approved as a “permanent hair removal” method, laser epilation is classified as a “permanent hair reduction” technique. Providers should inform their patients that it will require 8-12 sessions plus maintenance treatment every 6-12 months to provide satisfactory hair removal.
With laser treatment, finer and lighter hair often remain after treatment. In many patients, the treatment may be ongoing. Still, laser treatment has surpassed electrolysis because it’s effective, fast, and relatively less painful.
The most common side effects of laser epilation are swelling and redness, which typically resolve within 24 hours. The procedure itself can be slightly painful but an anesthetic cream can be applied in advance. Hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation may also occur depending on your skin color. If you’re concerned about any side effects of the laser treatment, make sure to check in with a healthcare professional.
Specialized hair removal techniques have high success rates but they must be combined with treatment of excess androgens. Both electrolysis and laser hair removal work for women with PCOS, but it’s important to manage your expectations. While some patients reported a growth delay of 2-6 months after just one treatment, most will need multiple sessions to achieve permanent hair reduction.
Note that hair can still grow even when many old hair follicles have been destroyed. Because hair grows in three different stages and your hair is not all in the same stage at the same time, destroying all follicles in a few sessions is unlikely. But when used in combination with other treatment options and tailored to the person, many will achieve satisfactory results.
Electrolysis hair removal
Electrolysis is a method of removing individual hairs from the face or body. Today’s medical electrolysis devices destroy the growth center of the hair with chemical or heat energy. After a very fine probe is inserted into the hair follicle, the hair is removed with tweezers.
Most areas of the body can be treated with electrolysis, including the eyebrows, face, abdomen, thighs, breasts, and legs. There are generally no permanent side effects, but sometimes a temporary, slight reddening of the skin may occur.
What Causes Unwanted Hair Growth?
Hair growth is the result of heredity and hormone levels. Also, some drugs, temporary methods of hair removal, and illnesses can stimulate hair growth. Electrolysis may be an option when hair growth is in an area of the body where it may not be desired such as on a woman’s upper lip, chin, or bikini line.
How Many Electrolysis Treatments Will I Need?
Many factors influence hair growth, so you will need to return for several electrolysis visits. The total number of sessions needed to remove hair permanently from a particular area will vary from person to person. Most clients return once a week or every other week as needed. But the unwanted hair will be gone forever once the series of treatments is complete. Each treatment lasts between 15 minutes and one hour.
Myths About Electrolysis
Myth: Electrolysis is very painful. For most people, today’s methods don’t cause a lot of pain, but it can hurt. If you find it too uncomfortable, your doctor may be able to give you an anesthetic cream.
Myth: The electric tweezer method is permanent. The FDA and the American Medical Association recognize only electrolysis as a permanent method of removing hair. Some states prohibit those using or selling the electric tweezer from claiming it provides permanent hair removal.
Myth: Temporary methods of hair removal can be better. Chemical depilatories (liquids or creams) are often used to remove body hair. These products contain irritating chemicals and can be time-consuming and messy. Likewise, bleaches contain harsh chemicals and do little to disguise dark hair. They may also discolor skin. Waxing is another temporary method of hair removal and is usually done in salons. A hot wax is applied to the skin and removed once it has dried over the hair. The hair is stripped off when the wax is removed. Waxing can be painful and costly. Home waxing kits are available, but they can be messy and difficult to use. There are electrolysis devices available for home use, but they are often unsafe for use by anyone who is not trained in electrolysis.
How Do I Choose an Electrologist?
Electrologists are people who have special training to perform electrolysis. If you are considering electrolysis, it is important that you do your research before committing to sessions. The wrong decision can mean extra sessions and cost along with unnecessary discomfort and scarring.
- Know the professional’s qualifications. Many states require electrologists to be licensed or certified within the state to practice. If you live in one of those states, be sure the practitioner’s certificate is current and on display. For states that do not regulate electrolysis, look for electrologists who have certification from an accredited electrology school.
- Ask around. One of the best ways to find good services is to ask friends and family as well as your doctor for recommendations. If you know anybody who has undergone electrolysis, ask for their input.
- Get a consultation. Many places will give you a free consultation. During the consultation, be sure all of your questions are answered. Some things you may want to ask about include: how the procedure will feel; how many visits you will likely need; how much each visit costs; how long each session lasts; how long the practitioner has been in business; and the number of clients they have treated.
- Make sure the electrologist uses the right technique. The practitioner should use needle electrolysis, which is the only permanent form of hair removal. Some places may advertise electrolysis but use electronic tweezers or photoepilators instead. These are not permanent hair removal procedures.
- Use common sense. When you go to your consultation, look around. Does the place look clean? Do the workers look clean? Do they use disposable gloves or needles? Ask to meet the person who will be performing the electrolysis. Do they strike you as professional? If you are not comfortable with somebody, look for someone else to do the procedure. Personal comfort is essential to knowing you have made the right choice.