The best way to get rid of facial hair is with a laser treatment. The FDA has approved lasers for permanent hair removal, and it’s been proven to be the most effective method for reducing or eliminating unwanted hair. But what does it mean when someone says that they have a “laser for facial hair?” Is there actually more than one type of laser? And which one is best for you?
In this guide, we’ll go over what lasers are and how they work, as well as discuss the different kinds of lasers that are used for removing facial hair.
Read on to learn more about Laser For Facial Hair Reviews, Laser Treatment For Active Acne and Why Should You Opt For Scar Removal Treatment?
Laser For Facial Hair Reviews
If you’re considering zapping off your body hair, you’re probably wondering about laser hair removal pros and cons. Actually, let’s back up first—if bod-hair removal is your thing (it’s totally okay to grow it out, by the way), there are plenty of temporary options at your disposal. You’ve got the classic, quick (and short-lived) shave, depilatory creams (that typically smell like wet dog mixed with gasoline, if we’re being honest), and slightly more long-term hair removal methods like waxing (no pain-free picnic) and its less ouch-inducing sister sugaring, both of which leave you with smooth skin for a number of weeks.
On the flip side, there’s electrolysis, which produces even longer-lasting results than laser treatments. Electrolysis uses a super-fine needle to kill each individual hair follicle via an electric current. If you’re thinking that sounds painful and time-consuming, you’d be right.
And that brings us to laser hair removal, a popular semi-permanent option that damages hair follicles to minimize hair growth. While its zaps (often described as feeling similar to a rubber band snapping against your skin) aren’t exactly comfortable, the treatment is effective for many people. Here’s how it works: The laser focuses on the melanin (pigment) in hair follicles, burning the hair all the way down to the root, causing damage that discourages future hair growth. Keep in mind that because laser hair removal targets melanin, certain types of lasers may not be compatible with certain skin tones and hair colors (more on that soon).
Not sure if the procedure is right for you? We’re here to answer all of your, um, burning questions about laser hair removal pros and cons—from concerns about your skin tone or the safety of bikini laser hair removal, to how to use at-home laser hair removal devices (which are definitely having a moment right now). Before you sign up for your first session (which will be one of many) or add a DIY device to your cart, let’s break down the pros and cons of laser hair removal treatment.
First of all, is laser hair removal safe for all skin tones?
It can be, but no matter your skin tone, it’s crucial to vet your laser hair removal provider (see some specifics on which boxes to tick below) to avoid unwanted side effects, Geeta Yadav, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Toronto, Canada, tells SELF. If you have melanin-rich skin, you’ll have to ask more questions about the type of laser that’s being used during the treatment. (Laser hair removal typically caters to people with dark hair and fair skin, as the stark contrast between the skin pigment and hair is what the laser can more easily recognize and target.) “For example, some providers use IPL (intense pulsed light) technology for hair removal, which targets melanin to destroy the hair follicle after repeated treatments; these devices can cause hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation in deep skin tones,” Dr. Yadav explains. (Hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation are darker spots and lighter spots on the skin, respectively.)
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If you have a darker complexion and want to ensure your treatment will be safe and effective, Dr. Yadav recommends asking your dermatologist about the possibility of using diode, alexandrite, or Nd:YAG lasers (a 2011 study on 150 people published in the journal Lasers in Medical Science found that 86% of participants—whose skin color ranged from light brown to deep brown—had no complications as a result of treatment with Nd:YAG lasers, and the small percentage of people who did have complications mostly experienced some hyperpigmentation that eventually went away).1 Alexandrite lasers might be best for someone with olive-toned skin and dark hair, Rachel Maiman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical in New York City, tells SELF. “That laser still relies on the presence of melanin pigment to destroy the hair follicle, which can result in pigmentary irregularities in patients of darker skin tones,” Dr. Maiman says. The diode and Nd:YAG lasers, however, have longer wavelengths and generally bypass pigment in the skin. For the darkest skin tones, Nd:YAG is considered the best option because it doesn’t target melanin in the skin at all, Dr. Maiman explains.
When it comes to laser-induced skin discoloration, there are risk factors beyond having a naturally deep skin tone. Having sun-kissed skin from a recent vacation or summer of poolside lounging can create a higher risk of skin discoloration since there’s a temporary increase of melanin, Dr. Maiman says. “For lasers that rely on melanin as a recognized target, there’s an increased risk that the laser will detect that pigment, resulting in heat energy delivered to skin instead of the hair,” she explains. In other words, it might be best to schedule your laser treatment before your big trip, and stay out of the direct sun (and wear sunscreen outdoors—but that’s an always rule) as much as possible right before your appointment. If you happen to get a tan, let it completely fade before any laser hair removal, Dr. Maiman advises.
What are the pros of laser hair removal?
- While laser treatment doesn’t get rid of hair forever (only electrolysis is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permanent hair removal), it does drastically reduce hair growth—to the point that many patients won’t see any for months or even years, and the hairs that do crop up are often thinner and lighter in color.
- You can get it done anywhere on your body and the machine can cover large areas fast. Legs, back, underarms, bikini line, stomach, face…there’s virtually no limit to the places you can get laser hair removal (if the laser you’re using is safe and effective for your skin tone and hair color, that is). And no, there isn’t a higher risk of side effects with laser hair removal in the bikini area compared to other areas, Dr. Maiman says.
- Depending on your hair type and the service area, it may actually not hurt too much. When it comes to pain level, for a lot of people laser hair removal falls somewhere between shaving (painless) and waxing (holy hell that hurts). Technicians typically use a numbing gel to help desensitize the area before and after the laser treatment to minimize discomfort. You might find that bikini and underarm laser hair removal is more painful because those are sensitive areas, Dr. Maiman adds. But in general, the treatment gets progressively less painful with each session, as the hair becomes finer, Dr. Charles says.
What about the cons?
- It’s a long process. A session of laser hair removal on a small area like the underarms typically takes five minutes or less. However, it takes multiple sessions to see real results (typically between four and six, depending on the size of the area), and you generally have to wait six weeks between treatments.
- It’s expensive. If you add up how much you spend on razors or bikini wax sessions in your lifetime, though, it might be worth the laser hair removal cost of about $300-$400 per session, per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (not covered by insurance, unfortunately).
- Since the contrast between the color of the skin and the pigment in the hair follicle is what allows the laser to easily know what to target, laser hair removal works best on fair skin with dark hair, and is not as ideal for darker skin, as discussed above, or lighter hair, regardless of skin tone, Dr. Maiman says. If you have light blonde or white hair, the laser might not be as effective at targeting those hairs, studies show—you might see a reduction in hair growth, but not to the extent that’s typically seen in folks with more contrast between their skin and hair color. Certain lasers, like the Nd:YAG, are better at distinguishing between hair and skin on all skin types, including light hair and dark skin.2
- Laser hair removal probably isn’t a good idea if you’re pregnant. “Although lasers have been safely used to treat medical conditions like kidney stones and genital warts in pregnant people, there’s no safety data presently available to support using lasers for cosmetic procedures like hair removal,” Dr. Maiman explains. Many doctors advise against undergoing cosmetic laser treatments while pregnant, in case of fetal risks, she adds. So if you’re pregnant, or possibly going to be in the next couple of months, you may want to postpone your laser hair removal appointment until a later date.
- If done by an untrained technician, laser hair removal could leave burns or scars on the skin. Unfortunately, licensing procedures vary from state to state, and sometimes there are no requirements at all. Beware of “laser centers,” since some states don’t have licensing requirements for laser hair removal providers. If you’re set on going to a spa, make sure it’s a medical spa or laser hair removal center run by a doctor who’s board-certified in an aesthetic specialty such as dermatology or plastic surgery, and has specific laser certification (even board-certified doctors who want to provide laser hair removal treatments need further training), Dr. Maiman advises.
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You should also do your research on what laser might work best with your skin tone, and call the office to make sure the device they’re using is FDA-approved for laser hair removal (look it up on the 510(k) database on the FDA’s website to be certain, she adds).
Can you do laser hair removal at home?
The short answer is yes, it’s possible (though people with darker skin and lighter hair should be cautious—more on that below). “At-home devices work similarly to professional treatments, but are smaller and use lower energy levels,” Dr. Maiman says. (The light energy is much less strong than what’s used for in-office procedures, which also makes at-home devices safer to use without much risk of error.) “Because it’s hard to cover a lot of surface area, they’re more time-consuming, but they can help reduce hair growth and can be a great option to maintain improvements between professional treatment,” she says. And since they’re less powerful than the pro devices, they’re also likely to cause you less pain, so that’s a bonus.
The main thing to remember is that these types of at-home laser hair removal devices are, again, engineered for people with a fair to medium complexion and brown or black hair, Dr. Yadav points out. “Like many professional devices, at-home lasers often aren’t ideal for those with deep complexions. That’s also true for people with red, white, grey, or blonde hair–even with in-office treatments, laser hair removal in that setting can be challenging or ineffective,” Dr. Yadav adds. If you fall into those categories, it’s best to schedule a consultation with a dermatologist to determine the right device—whether at-home or in-office—that’s going to be safest for your skin tone and hair color.
With that said, if you think you’re a good candidate for DIY treatment and decide to experiment with at-home laser hair removal, you’ll likely be using an IPL device, which uses “a broad-spectrum light-based technology that targets melanin to destroy the hair follicle after repeated treatments,” according to Dr. Maiman, so it’s not technically a laser. Research published in 2019 in the journal Lasers In Surgery and Medicine found that IPL devices are safe and effective at reducing hair growth over time and between laser hair removal sessions for people with more contrast between their skin and hair color.3 (They’re also a decent investment if you want to save the money you’d be spending on professional laser treatment—at-home devices generally range from $100-$500.) And another 2021 study in the Archives of Dermatological Research found that at-home devices using IPL had a greater effect on hair removal and, more importantly, were less painful than hot waxing.4
If you’re in the market for an at-home device, Dr. Maiman recommends Silk’n Infinity, which allows you to customize your hair removal with five different energy levels, and is safe to use all over your body (it’s a small device, though, so it may be easier to use on small areas like your face or upper lip). Have a slightly bigger budget? Consider the Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser, Dr. Yadav suggests. It’s dermatologist-recommended because it’s pretty darn close to the technology a derm would use for in-office laser hair removal, but still safe enough for a non-professional user. Some other general safety reminders for aspiring at-home laserers: “I advise not using at-home devices near the eyes, over tattoos or pigmented areas, including moles, or in the genital area, though the bikini line can be targeted safely,” Dr. Maiman says.
A final word of caution: Less pain doesn’t mean no pain (and anyone who’s ever waxed their own upper lip knows that inflicting pain on yourself can be a special kind of hell), so if your tolerance is low, you might want to stick with gentler at-home beauty treatments, like DIY hair masks.
Laser Treatment For Active Acne
For chronic breakouts that can’t be resolved with over-the-counter salicylic acid or a faithful Proactiv protocol, light therapy is often the dermatologist’s go-to solution. But before you commit to expensive rounds of infrared energy or intense pulsed beams, consider this: A recent review in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology casts some doubt on the effectiveness of such treatments—citing a lack of consistent data on the topic. Although light therapy, especially in the form of multi-colored LED sessions, is exploding in popularity in doctor’s offices and via at-home devices, the research hasn’t caught up with the demand. In fact, “There’s much we still don’t know about the optimal types of light, energy, and frequency,” says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D.
Taking aim at breakouts can be particularly tricky. “Treating acne in the office with light therapy and at-home devices is an art form that challenges even the most experienced board certified dermatologist,” says Ellen Marmur, M.D. The difficulty, she adds, is that “acne is a manifestation of a very complex inflammatory response to a patient’s environment, habits, diet, sleep patterns, and other variables.” In other words, there’s no magic bullet—or flash of light—that will clear everyone’s complexion in the same way.
So what treatments still reign supreme and are worth investing in? Most experts agree that a multi-pronged approach—that tackles acne from many different angles—delivers long-term results. Think of it as cross-training for your skin; in other words, the answer is built on a thoughtful combination of three major principles, overseen by a skilled dermatologist.
1. Commit to a pore-clearing range of pro treatments.
Depending on the type and severity of breakouts, dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., often recommends a course of Adapalene, a resurfacing retinoid cream, along with monthly exfoliating chemical peels (20 to 35 percent trichloroacetic acid) and Isolaz sessions (which utilize red and blue light to kill bacteria and calm inflammation). Marmur, meanwhile, might pair Clear + Brilliant laser treatments (“which pierce tiny holes” in the skin to release trapped debris in pores) with purifying HydraFacials that gently slough dead skin and deliver brightening agents and collagen-building peptides for an “amazing radiance.”
2. Invest in an at-home device—and be consistent.
The price for pro-level treatments can add up—hence the popularity of at-home light therapy devices. Nazarian, for her part, does see noticeable results from skin-clearing gadgets such as Tria Beauty’s Positively Clear Acne Clearing Blue Light or Neutrogena’s Light Therapy Acne Mask, both of which rely on blue light to eliminate P. acnes bacteria and get to the root cause of breakouts. (And if your tool also emits red light, Nazarian finds it can “improve residual marks left on skin even after pimples have gone away.”) With any at-home device, though, consistency is key. “Daily use is important because the light treatments are not as strong as in-office versions,” says Nazarian.
3. Practice daily maintenance—but recalibrate when necessary.
To maintain results, Marmur says having a flexible routine that can shift with the seasons and “life fluctuations, like hormones” is critical. So is sticking to good skin-care habits, including washing with cosmeceutical-grade cleansers and barrier-strengthening moisturizers (she’s loyal to SkinMedica Purifying Foaming Wash and SkinBetter Interfuse Treatment Cream, respectively). Lastly, track any changes in your complexion with your dermatologist so you can make adjustments and recalibrate your routine over time. As Marmur says, “There is definitely not a one-size-fits-all acne treatment.”
Acne laser treatment price
Do you know there are many treatment options for reducing acne scars, burn marks, accidental scars and pigmented scars available in various skin clinics? Read this article to know more about the different scar removal treatments available in India and their respective cost per session. In addition to this, learn why laser scar removal treatment is a better bet compared to all other procedures.
Why Should You Opt For Scar Removal Treatment?
You may be looking for scar removal treatments if you have the following types of scars.
- Acne Scars– You may be having acne scars if you had regular breakouts as a teenager or young adult. Scars due to acne can vary in appearance from deep pits and deep V-shaped scars to those having irregular edges and undulating surfaces. Acne scars can be a significant aesthetic concern as they adversely affect the texture of your skin and therefore, treatments to correct it are in huge demand.
- Other Scars – Apart from acne, other causes like injury, burns, cuts, scratches, chickenpox, surgical procedures (e.g., C-section) and sutures can leave a visible mark or scar on your skin.
Must Read: Effective Treatment For Acne Scars And Pimple Marks
How Can A Scar Revision Treatment Help?
With the advancement of dermatology, several treatment options are available to correct scarred tissue. Broadly, any scar correction procedure falls under non-surgical and surgical solutions, each involving different costs and benefits. The question arises why laser scar removal treatment always stands out. Let’s understand the laser procedure for scar removal and its benefits in detail.
How Does Laser Scar Removal Work?
Laser treatment uses high-intensity focused light energy in a controlled manner to treat the scarred tissue. The deeper skin layers absorb the heat generated to heal the damaged tissue. It stimulates the fibroblast cells to produce collagen and result in the complete remodelling of the scar tissue. This reduces the appearance of scars and offers a visible improvement in your skin texture.
Laser scar removal primarily helps treat all types of post-acne scars, including atrophic and hypertrophic scars. It also helps diminish chickenpox scars. Doctors may recommend laser procedure as a standalone or combination treatment based on the type of scar you have.
Cost Of Laser Treatment For Acne Scars
The packages for laser acne scar removal available in India vary between Rs 7,000 and Rs 20,000 per session, depending on the size of the area treated. However, it may differ for one person to another based on the type and severity of the scar, the treatment option selected and the number of sessions recommended.
Laser treatment for other scars/marks
- The packages for laser treatment of chickenpox scars cost between Rs 6,000 and Rs 20,000.
- The packages for laser treatment of burn marks cost from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000.
- The packages for laser removal of accident/injury scars have a price range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000.
Please note that the above prices are indicative only. It may vary from clinic to clinic due to its location and reputation, the experience of the dermatologist performing the procedure and the laser technology used. It is advisable to visit a reputed skin clinic to know the exact cost of laser scar removal treatment.
Here is a price comparison of laser scar removal treatment available across some major cities in India:
Here is a price comparison across some major cities in India:
|Laser Treatment for Acne Scars (Cost/Session)|
|Bangalore||Rs 7,000||Rs 20,000|
|Chennai||Rs 7,000||Rs 20,000|
|Hyderabad||Rs 7,000||Rs 20,000|
|Kochi||Rs 5,000||Rs 18,000|
|Mumbai||Rs 8,000||Rs 22,000|
|NCR (Delhi)||Rs 8,000||Rs 22,000|
|Pune||Rs 6,000||Rs 18,000|
|Visakhapatnam||Rs 5,000||Rs 17,000|
|Kolkata||Rs 7,000||Rs 20,000|
|Vijayawada||Rs 5,000||Rs 15,000|
Why Does Price Of Laser Treatment For Scar Removal Vary?
The following factors influence the price of laser scar removal in India-
- Size Of The Scar – The size of the scar plays a vital role in analysing the modality of treatment and the number of sessions required. Both these factors may up the price of treatment.
- Depth Of The Scar – Scars that penetrate the deeper layers of skin, will need more sessions of laser treatment and involve a higher cost of treatment.
- Type Of Scar – Different types of scars require a combination treatment which may increase the expense involved.
- Experienced Practitioner – A trained doctor with more experience in using specialised techniques may command a higher fee for the procedure.
- Clinic Location – Clinics located in major cities and at posh localities may charge a premium for offering advanced aesthetic treatments.
Other Scar Revision Treatments And Cost
Here are some of the other dermatologist-recommended treatments for scar removal and their cost details.
- Chemical Peels: Dermatologists use plant-based extracts to exfoliate the upper layers of dead skin. The treatment helps fade pigmented scars to a large extent. The price of chemical peeling treatment for scars ranges from Rs 3,000 to Rs 7,000 per session.Micro-needling Radiofrequency (MNRF): Radiofrequency currents help to create thermal zones in the dermis and reduce scars. The heat generated stimulates new collagen production and improves the appearance of the skin. The average cost of MNRF treatment for scar is between Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,000 per session.
- Microdermabrasion: It is a mildly abrasive treatment that helps remove the dead cells from the surface layer to reveal undamaged and firmer skin. The average cost of microdermabrasion treatment for scars is between Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000 per session.
- Dermal Fillers: Doctors administer fillers containing hyaluronic acid at the site of the depressed scar to fill it for a few months or up to a year. Over time, the enzymes in the body digest the hyaluronic acid. This modality of treatment does not offer long-lasting results. Price of scar treatment using dermal fillers ranges from Rs 20,000 to Rs 1, 00,000 per session (based on the brand).
- Skin Grafting: This is a complicated surgical procedure that involves using a graft from body areas with higher fat content, such as the thighs and transplanting it in the target area. Doctors use this modality for treating burn marks or post-traumatic scars. Surgical options tend to be invasive, expensive, and involve significant downtime. The price range for skin grafting treatment starts from Rs 50,000 and goes up to Rs 1,00,000.
- Excision: This procedure reduces the appearance of the scar by cutting the damaged tissue out and fusing the skin with multiple layers of appropriate sutures. The cost of the treatment starts from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 per session.
- Topical Applications: Silicon-based scar removal creams may be available OTC, but it is advisable to ask a doctor before using them. Topical creams have a limited effect in comparison to laser scar removal treatment as they cannot penetrate the deeper layers of skin. Price for topical applications ranges from Rs 900 to Rs 7,000 based on the brand and composition.
A doctor decides the modality of treatment based on the type and the severity of the scar. Laser treatments are one of the most effective procedures for scar removal due to their precision and efficacy. However, your dermatologist may advise it in combination with MNRF and chemical peels procedure to achieve the best results.
Lasers Vs Other Scar Removal Treatments
Laser treatment is one of the most effective procedures for scar removal due to its precision and efficacy. However, your dermatologist may advise it in combination with MNRF and chemical peels procedure to achieve the best results.
Here are some of the top benefits that laser scar removal treatment offers:
- Quick Procedure – The average session may last up to 2 hours which includes the preparation time for the laser therapy that involves the application of numbing cream.
- Minimal Downtime – There may be marginal and manageable downtime. Adequate post-care support can minimise your recovery time.
- Effective Results – You can see a noticeable reduction in the appearance of your scars after undergoing 6-8 sessions. However, your doctor will recommend the exact number of sessions you need based on the type and the severity of your scars.
- Non-Surgical Procedure – The procedure is non-invasive and involves minimal discomfort. It causes no cuts or blood loss.
- No Side Effects – The use of the latest USFDA approved laser technology ensures it is a safe procedure and does not involve any risk of infection or burns.
- Convenient – It is the best option compared to other scar removal methods as it is super convenient.
- Precise – Experienced dermatologists customise the parameters of the laser treatment to treat your scars with precision without causing damage to the surrounding tissue.
- Versatile – It is a suitable procedure for all Indian skin types.
Now you know all about the procedure, benefits and cost of laser scar removal treatment. If you are looking for advanced aesthetic solutions to get rid of your scars, book an appointment at Oliva Skin & Hair Clinic today!